LOOK: Animator of “Dory” is a Filipina UST graduate

    MANILA, Philippines- Does Virginia “Gini” Cruz Santos’ name ring a bell?

    Virginia “Gini” Cruz Santos’

    Most of us are not familiar with Gini, but her animation works including Woody and Jesse the Cowgirl in Toy Story 2, Mike and Sulley in Monsters Inc., and Dory in Finding Nemo are popular among kids of all ages. She’s also the animator behind several characters in other animated films like A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille, Wall-E , Lifted, Brave and Up.

    Gini was born and raised in Pasig City until her family immigrated to Guam when she was three. After receiving her elementary education abroad, Gini returned to the Philippines to earn her high school degree at St. Scholastica’s College and Fine Arts degree major in Advertising Arts at the University of Santo Tomas.

    After graduation, Gini moved back to Guam to work as an art director at an advertising agency. She eventually received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Computer Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York.

    “Just for the fun of it,” Gini sent a sample reel of her work The Eclipse to acclaimed animation studio Pixar. Although she failed to enclose a cover letter and resume in her application, Gini received an invitation for an interview.

    In 1996, Gini started working for Pixar and worked on Toy Story 2 for her first project.

    Gini’s animation of Dory, the forgetful tang fish voiced by American TV host Ellen de Generes, was well-received by the audience. The Pinay animator was commended for her detailed life-like animation and incorporating “fish movement, human movement, and facial expressions to make them look and feel like real characters.”

    In her interview with Inquirer in 2010, Gini revealed that Dory, now the star in the upcoming Pixar film Finding Dory, is one of her all-time favorite Pixar characters. If most of us Filipinos can relate with Dory, that’s probably because Gini injected Pinoy sense of humor as well as facial expression in Dory.

    “I can relate to Dory’s forgetfulness,” she said.

    Watch the trailer of Finding Dory.

    --Mini, The Summit Express
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