March 9, 1971
Tucson, Arizona, United States
Animator and animation director Kyle Balda served in a variety of capacities on some of the biggest box office hits of the late 20th and early 21st century, including "Monsters, Inc." (2001), "Despicable Me" (2010) and "Minions" (2015). Balda studied traditional animation at the California Institute of the Arts while also gaining practical knowledge of the business through summer internships at Lucas Arts and Pacific Data Images. In 1993, he joined Industrial Light & Magic, where he worked his way up from graphics animator on "The Mask" (1994) to animation supervisor on "Jumanji" (1995) and character animator for "Mars Attacks!" (1996). After a brief stint with Peter Jackson's Weta Digital for "The Frighteners" (1996), Balda signed with Pixar, where he served as directing animator for "Toy Story 2" (1999) and as animator on "Monsters, Inc." A decade later, Balda moved to Paris to work with Illumination Entertainment, for which he served as head of layout on "Despicable Me." He would go on to direct several short films featuring the "Despicable Me" franchise's most popular characters, the Minions, including 2010's "Orientation Day," before returning to the director's chair for "The Lorax" (2012), which he co-helmed with "Despicable Me" co-director Chris Renaud. After directing a trio of "Lorax"-related shorts that same year, Balda returned to the "Despicable" universe for "Minions" (2015), the solo showcase for the series' tiny, yellow workers. A massive hit, "Minions" assured the continuation of the franchise by earning more than $600 million in worldwide box office grosses in less than a single month. This was followed by a return to the series main storyline in "Despicable Me 3" (2017).