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At the age of 13, Kirkland began making super 8 films and working for his father, noted photographer and filmmaker Douglas Kirkland, creating “making of” films for major production companies. This exposure to Hollywood sparked Kirkland’s desire to seek a career in the entertainment industry. Kirkland developed an interest in drawing at an early age. At the age of 17, he began studying in the Experimental Animation Program at the California Institute of the Arts for four years, earning a BFA degree. There, he was mentored by people such as Jules Engel (serving as his teaching assistant), A. Kendall O'Connor, Ollie Johnston and Moe Gollub. In 1976, he won the Student Academy Award for animation along with fellow student, Richard Jefferies, for their graphically animated film made to the song "Fame" by David Bowie. After finishing up his degree, he applied to Disney, but he was not accepted and instead began working for Hanna-Barbera. He began working on The Simpsons from season two onwards and has directed 78 episodes, more than any other director. In season 18, he became the show's supervising director.
As an independent filmmaker, Kirkland has written, directed and produced award-winning short films which have been shown at film festivals around the world and screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Kirkland is an accomplished still photographer whose images have been published in US and People magazines. He created photo essays on the behind-the-scenes making of The Simpsons, and A Visit with Ollie about legendary Disney animator Ollie Johnston.
The Simpsons episodes
- Season 2
- Season 3
- Season 4
- Season 5
- Season 6
- "Lisa's Rival"
- "Sideshow Bob Roberts"
- "Fear of Flying"
- "Homer vs. Patty and Selma"
- "The Springfield Connection"
- Season 7
- Season 8
- Season 9
- "Treehouse of Horror VIII" (as "Mad Dog Kirkland")
- "All Singing, All Dancing"
- "Bart Carny"
- "Girly Edition"
- Season 10
- "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace"
- "D'oh-in in the Wind" (with Matthew Nastuk)
- "Marge Simpson in: "Screaming Yellow Honkers""
- "The Old Man and the "C" Student"
- Season 11
- Season 12
- Season 13
- Season 14
- Season 15
- Season 16
- Season 17
- Season 18
- Season 19
- Season 20
- Season 21
- Season 22
- Season 23
- Season 24
- Season 25
- Season 26
- Season 27
|Man vs. Art ManVsArt.com||Episode #54: Interview with 3 Time Emmy Award Winning Director of The Simpsons Mark Kirkland||2011-07-19|
|Actors Reporter (wiki) ActorsReporter.com||Exclusive Interview at home with Mark Kirkland, a director of The Simpsons||2011-07-07|
|Toon In! ToonInAnimation.net||Show #25: Mark Kirkland||2008-05-26|
- "Show #25: Mark Kirkland". ToonAnimation.net. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
- Nott, Robert (2003-09-26). "A Glimpse Of 'The Simpsons'". Santa Fe New Mexican. p. P-44.
- Microsoft Word - winners-by_year.doc
- Gill, Harbant (2006-08-30). "Mmm, art show". Herald Sun. p. 075.
- Strachan, Alex (2011-07-27). "Behind-the-scenes: The Simpsons". National Post. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
- The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror" Scary Names Collection
- According to the Season 10 DVD commentary, Kirkland was going through a divorce and hired Nastuk to direct most of the episode.