Birthdate: March 9, 1971
Birthplace: Tucson, AZ
Kyle Balda (birthname: Kyle J. Balda) is a leading feature animation director, serving as co-director of most of the major films from Illumination Entertainment, including The Lorax (2012), with the voices of Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, and Taylor Swift; Minions (2015), with the voices of Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, and Steve Coogan; Despicable Me (2017), with the voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, and Coogan; and the Minions sequel, Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022), with the voices of Carell, Pierre Coffin, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, Danny Trejo, and Julie Andrews.
After joining Industrial Light & Magic in 1993, Kyle Balda rose through the animation ranks, as graphics animator on The Mask (1994), animation supervisor on Jumanji (1995), and character animator on Tim Burton’s mixed media science fiction comedy, Mars Attacks! (1996). Balda was hired by Pixar, continuing a track record of working on such box office hits as A Bug’s Life (1998) as an animator, Toy Story 2 (1999) as directing animator, and Monsters, Inc. (2001) as lead animator.
Balda left Hollywood after 2001, lectured at several schools of animation (including Paris-based Les Gobelins, Denmark’s The Animation Workshop, and Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg), and was then hired by Paris-based Illumination Entertainment in 2010. It was that he began his remarkable run as a key player in production, serving first as layout supervisor on the megahit Despicable Me (2010), which earned a worldwide gross of $543 million, the first entry in the highest-grossing animated movie series ever made which has grossed over $3.5 billion to date. Balda was elevated to director status on The Lorax in 2012.
Tucson-born Kyle Balda was raised by his mother, who was born in Malta. Balda studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts until he was hired by Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic in 1993, after working at Lucas Arts and Pacific Data Images as an intern. He lives in Paris.
Major Influences: Kyle Balda has noted that his major film influences are Charlie Chaplin and comic actor Peter Sellars.