Darla Anderson was born and raised in Glendale, CA. She studied environmental design at San Diego State University. Her career began at a San Diego based film and television productions firm. After that, Anderson became the executive producer for the Angel Studios’ commercial division in Carlsbad, CA. Anderson’s interest in CG animation started in the 1980’s while working at Angel Studios.
In the early 1990’s, she was the “only girl” at Siggraph, the then-small computer animation festival, where she first saw some of the short-form work (commercials and shorts) of John Lasseter. After hearing Lasseter talk and noticing how passionate he was about animation, Anderson knew she just had to work at Pixar. Anderson moved to Emeryville soon afterwards. After a year and a half of knocking on Pixar’s door and making phone calls, she joined Pixar in 1993. Before working on feature films, she was the executive producer of Pixar Animation Studios’ commercial group.
While working on commercial spots for Listerine and Coca-Cola, Anderson and her staff got involved with Toy Story. Anderson is listed as a “digital angel” in the end credits of the film. By running the commercial division, she had established herself as someone who could develop and lead a team, so when a producer was needed on A Bug’s Life, she stepped up.
During production of A Bug’s Life, a series of practical jokes transpired between the two producers (Anderson and Kevin Reher) and the two directors (John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton). A few of the jokes Anderson played on Stanton resulted in Stanton getting payback by creating the character of Darla, the fish killer, in Finding Nemo.
Anderson went one to win a Golden Satellite Award for A Bug’s Life as well as a BAFTA award for Monsters, Inc. She was also awarded Producer of the Year in Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures from the Producers Guild of America for Cars. In 2008, Anderson was elected to the Producers Council Board of the Producers Guild of America. She is the first animation producer to be elected.
Anderson produced the massive box office hit and critically acclaimed Toy Story 3. She is currently producing Lee Unkrich’s next film, the untitled Dia de los Muertos project.
- Toy Story (1995) (digital angel)
- A Bug’s Life (1998) (producer)
- It’s Tough to be a Bug! (1998) (executive producer)
- Monsters, Inc. (2001) (producer)
- Cars (2006) (producer)
- Mater and the Ghostlight (2006) (executive producer)
- Toy Story 3 (2010) (producer)
- Untitled Lee Unkrich film (producer)
- Anderson is part of Pixar’s “brain trust”, a small group that provides guidance and feedback on every film in development at the studio.
- A Day in the Life (Video Feature)
- Case Study: Darla K. Anderson
- Den of Geek – July, 2010
- DVD Max – June, 2010
- Future Movies – July, 2006
- Hill Girlz – June, 2006
- Indie London – June, 2006
- Little White Lies – July, 2010
- Making Of – June, 2010