Born and raised in Castro Valley, CA, Jonas Rivera grew up on Star Wars and Disney animation. Reoccurring trips to Disneyland and watching the old Disney classics on home video fueled his desire to become an animator. Though he felt he lacked the artistic ability to do so, it was his passion for animation that led him to Pixar.
Jonas saw Luxo Jr. in class while studying film production at San Francisco State University. He was so impressed with what he had seen that he ‘cold called’ Pixar and asked about getting a job. It was apparent there was a need for help, as he was asked, “Can you come down tomorrow?” Since that call Jonas has worked on almost every Pixar film to date.
He was hired on as the first production intern on Toy Story, and described his job as ‘sweeping floors and getting lunches for the crew.’ He recalls seeing a shot of the army men sequence while working as a PA on the film and being completely blown away, ‘like seeing Star Wars for the first time.’ After Toy Story he worked as an art department coordinator on A Bug’s Life, a creative resources coordinator for Toy Story 2, an art department manager on Monsters Inc., and worked his way up to production manager on Cars.
In 2009, Jonas won a Producer’s Guild of America award for his work on Pete Docter and Bob Petersen’s film Up. The film received rave critical reviews and audiences fell in the love with the film’s main characters, Carl and Russel. Up made a total of $731 million worldwide, and went on to win Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Score at the 2010 Academy Awards. It was also nominated for Best Screenplay, and became the first computer animated film ever to receive a Best Picture nomination.
Jonas is currently producing Pete Docter’s new film Inside Out, set for release in 2015. The film’s official press release states, “From director Peter Docter and producer Jonas Rivera the inventive new film will take you to a place that everyone knows, but no one has ever seen: the world inside the human mind.”
- Toy Story (production office assistant)
- A Bug’s Life (art department coordinator)
- Toy Story 2 (creative resources, marketing)
- Monsters, Inc. (art department manager)
- Cars (production manager, voices)
- Up (producer)
- George and A.J. (executive producer)
- Inside Out (producer)
- Jonas lives in Oakland with his wife and two daughters.
- Hired within a week of fellow Pixarian and Brave producer Katherine Sarafian in 1994.
- About.com – June, 2008
- Diva Review – February, 2009
- San Francisco Chronicle – March, 2009
- San Francisco Chronicle – March, 2010