Mark Dindal

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Mark Dindal
Born Mark L. Dindal
1960 (age 56–57)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.[1]
Residence United States
Alma mater CalArts
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, voice actor, effects animator, character designer
Years active 1980–present
Notable work

Mark L. Dindal (born 1960)[1] is an American effects animator, film director, and screenwriter who directed Cats Don't Dance (1997), The Emperor's New Groove (2000) and Chicken Little (2005).[2] He worked in many Disney projects as an effects animator, and also led the special effects for several classic films, such as The Little Mermaid (1989) and The Rescuers Down Under (1990).


Early Years/Effects Animator at Disney[edit]

Dindal was born in Columbus, Ohio.[3] Growing up, Dindal was influenced by Disney films and Warner Bros. Saturday cartoons.[4] One of his earliest influence was Disney's The Sword in the Stone, which he saw with his grandmother at the age of three.[4] It also help him to go to a career in animation with help from his dad who took art as a hobby and taught Dindal to draw while growing up in Syracuse, New York.[5] As a high schooler, Dindal went to Jamesville-DeWitt High School, in which he attended most of the art classes that the school had offer. Dindal learned animation at CalArts.[3] He began working at Disney in 1980.[3] His work included The Fox & the Hound (1981), The Black Cauldron (1985), Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), and The Great Mouse Detective (1986),[3] each following a very similar animation style in all movies. This style consisted of similar backgrounds with delicated animation and complex character effects, and was well received.

Leaving and Returning to Disney[edit]

After these projects, Dindal left Disney around 1986 to briefly work on outside projects with Filmation, and worked on projects like BraveStarr and The Brave Little Toaster. He returned to the studio in 1987 and got his first head role as a visual effects supervisor for The Little Mermaid (1989).[3] He later worked as head animator for the movie The Rescuers Down Under (1990).[3] He directed the animated segment for the live-action film The Rocketeer (1991), and worked as an effects animator on the animated film Aladdin (1992).[3]

Dindal as the Director[edit]

Dindal's directorial debut was Cats Don't Dance, which was released in 1997, three years before The Emperor's New Groove was released in 2000.[3] In Cats Don't Dance Dindal voiced Max. The film won the Annie Award for Best Animated Film and Dindal was nominated for directing. The Emperor's New Groove was initially expected to be a classic Disney musical feature called Kingdom of the Sun. However, the idea didn't work out, and Dindal, along with Chris Williams and David Reynolds, changed the script to a comedy. During the six-year production, he started to work on Cats Don't Dance, a Turner Broadcasting (since merged into Warner Bros.) animated musical production.

Chicken Little[edit]

Dindal worked on Chicken Little (2005), another Disney production, which needed a large animation team. Dindal voiced Morkubine Porcupine and Coach in the film. The movie was nominated to several Annies, although Dindal was not nominated as a director. During the movie's production, DisneyToon Studios produced Kronk's New Groove as a direct-to-video feature. As Dindal was working on Chicken Little at the time, he did not have a position on the staff. Later, Dindal created the TV series The Emperor's New School (2006-2008).

Post-Disney time[edit]

In March 2006, a day after the DVD release of Chicken Little, Dindal and producer Randy Fullmer left the company because they were reportedly tired of dealing with then-WDFA head, David Stainton.[6] In the next few years, Dindal was attached as a director to several live-action films, including Sherlock's Secretary,[7] Kringle,[8] and Housebroken.[9] By December 2010, DIndal was directing at DreamWorks Animation an animated feature film, titled Me and My Shadow, which would combine both computer and traditional animation.[10] By January 2012, he was no longer directing the film,[11] which went in 2013 back into development.[12] In July 2014, he was credited as the illustrator for a documentary called Restrung, which is focused on Fullmer, a collaborator that worked with him at Disney and Filmation, with his career at Wyn Guitars from 2006.


Year Title Director Writer Animator Note
1981 The Fox and the Hound No No Yes Effects animator (uncredited)
1982 Fun with Mr. Future No No Yes
1983 Mickey's Christmas Carol No No Yes Effects animator
1985 The Black Cauldron No No Yes
1986 The Great Mouse Detective No No Yes
1987 Sport Goofy in Soccermania No No Yes
The Brave Little Toaster No No Yes Effects animation consultant
Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night No No Yes Special effects animator
1988 BraveStarr No No Yes (1 episode)
BraveStarr: The Legend No No Yes Effects animator
Oliver & Company No No Yes
1989 The Little Mermaid No No Yes Visual effects supervisor
1990 The Prince and the Pauper No No Yes Storyboard artist
The Rescuers Down Under No No Yes Head effects animator
1991 The Rocketeer Yes No Yes Director: Nazi Invasion segment
1992 Frozen Assets No No Yes Animation sequence producer
Tom and Jerry: The Movie No No Yes Effects animator
Aladdin No No Yes
The Little Mermaid No No Yes Effects consultant (1 episode), effects animator (2 episodes), story board artist (1 episode)
1993 Happily Ever After No No Yes Special effects animator
1997 Cats Don't Dance Yes Yes Yes Story, character designer, storyboard artist, storyboard supervisor, voice of Max
2000 The Emperor's New Groove Yes Yes No Story, voice of Kitty Yzma (uncredited)
2005 Chicken Little Yes Yes Yes Story, character designer, voice of Morkubine Porcupine & Coach
Kronk's New Groove No Yes No Based on characters (uncredited)
2006-08 The Emperor's New School No Yes No Creator, writer
2014 Restrung No No Yes Illustrator

Awards and nominations[edit]


  • Best Individual Achievement: Directing in a Feature Production for Cats Don't Dance (Annie) (1997)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production for The Emperor's New Groove (Annie) (2001)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production for The Emperor's New Groove (Annie) (2001)
  • Best Animated Feature for The Emperor's New Groove (Annie) (2001)
  • Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature for The Emperor's New Groove & Chicken Little (Satellite Award) (2000; 2005)
  • Best Animated Feature for Chicken Little (Critics' Choice Movie Awards) (2005)


  • Best Animated Feature for Cats Don't Dance (Annie) (1997)


Cats Don't Dance The Emperor's New Groove Chicken Little The Emperor's New School Restrung
Don Knotts
Patrick Warburton
John Goodman
Eartha Kitt
Wendie Malick
Frank Welker
Randy Fullmer
David Reynolds (screenwriter)
Don Hall
John Debney
The Walt Disney Company


  1. ^ a b Hulett, Steve (June 13, 2011). "The Mark Dindal Interview -- Part I". TAG Blog. Retrieved November 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ Lanpher, Dorse A. (2010-10-19). Flyin' Chunks and Other Things to Duck: Memoirs of a Life Spent Doodling for Dollars. iUniverse. pp. 176–. ISBN 978-1-4502-6099-2. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Chicken Little - Production Information". The Walt Disney Company Nordic. Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved December 26, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Strike, Joe (November 1, 2000). "Mark Dindal's Place in the Sun". Animation World Network. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Mark Dindal biography". Retrieved July 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ Hill, Jim (October 5, 2006). "A special "No nudes is good news" edition of Why For". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Mark Dindal to Direct 'Sherlock's Secretary'". MovieWeb. August 11, 2006. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  8. ^ LaPorte, Nicole (February 27, 2007). "Paramount gets tough with Santa myth". Variety. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  9. ^ McNary, Dave (October 12, 2009). "Dindal draws ‘Housebroken’". Variety. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  10. ^ DreamWorks Animation (December 10, 2010). "DreamWorks Animation Pioneers Groundbreaking Combination of CG and Hand-Drawn Animation Techniques in Me and My Shadow for March 2013" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  11. ^ Kit, Borys (January 31, 2012). "DreamWorks Animation Sets Voice Cast for 'Me & My Shadow' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 1, 2012. 
  12. ^ "DreamWorks Animation Pushes Back Release for 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman'". The Hollywood Reporter. February 5, 2013. Retrieved December 26, 2016. 

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