Check out: Bobby Pontillas, the Filipino Animator nominated for an Oscar

The course of adulthood never runs smooth. In many cases, one must give up something in exchange of something beneficial for the others or for the so-called “future” – including one’s dreams. But there are those who pursue these dreams and are duly supported by people; just like the Filipino animator who was recently nominated for this year’s Academy Awards – Bobby Pontillas.


  1. Who is Bobby Pontillas?

Bobby Pontillas is a Filipino animator who was born in the Philippines on November 17, 1980. He was the only son to a single mother who joined the US Navy and worked hard to make sure he’ll have a good life.


  1. How did he discover his love for animation?

Like many teenagers, he attended school without knowing what exactly how he would pursue his passion for arts. He was at Art Institute of Seattle when he saw “Tarzan” and realized how interested he was with making his drawings come to life. He later found himself enrolling into Animation Art and Design Program.


  1. How did he start earning with animation?

He started working on PC Children’s Game Company doing 2D animation when he realized the need to learn 3D animation in order to survive in the industry as it was becoming the trend. He then started navigating through 3D animation and eventually became the 3D animator of Arena Networking on the Guild Wars franchise. Later on, he moved to Gas Powered Games (now Wargaming Seattle) where he became a fulltime animator and character designer.


  1. What happened to him after?

His passion and skills for arts brought him to Walt Disney Animation. He began working as character designer and animator for Wreck-it Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, and the animated series of Tangled.


  1. What’s his greatest achievement as of the moment?

Just February this year, his short animated film, “One Small Step”, was nominated for Best Animated Short Film. It previously won the Audience Award during the Hamptons International Film Festival in 2018, Grand Jury Prize Winner for Red Rock Film Festival and nominee for Best International Short Film during the Fantasia Film Festival.


  1. What is the story behind the animated film “One Small Step”?

Though Bobby had been in the animation industry for quite some time, One Small Step is his debut film as a writer and director. It is a story about Luna who chased her dreams of becoming an astronaut. This pursuance was highly ignited by the supported given by her father – a Chinese immigrant.

one small step

Bobby Pontillas’ short film nominated for an Oscar.

  1. From whom was the animated film inspired of?

The story of One Small Steps took inspiration from the back stories of Bobby Pontillas and, the CEO of Taiko Studios, Shaofu Zhang. Both were children of immigrants and reared by a single parent. He dedicated it to his mother in Camarines Sur who supported his dream and was always been there for him through his journey.


  1. Who inspired him with the creation of his characters?

Many have noticed Bobby’s sharp visual style upon creation of his characters. He shared that he took inspiration from the great artists and those who mentored him in the animation industry like Edward Pun, Daniel Dociu, Kekai Kotaki, Augie Pagan, and many other artists who help young artists grow into their field. From time to time, he goes over art blogs like Fubiz and Artchive.


  1. What does he want to produce in the future?

As someone who comes from Asia, he envisions to culminate the experience he had with the wealth of both the eastern and western culture to come up with something that would be understood universally by all citizens of the world. He wanted to continue expanding his horizons by learning more each day, from the experts and the beginners.


  1. What can he advise to young and inspiring artist?

“Master first the simple mechanic. Begin with what you like; then master the techniques. Later on, start challenging yourself by making more complex things. Never get tired of learning and improving yourself.”

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