Animation house Studio Smokescreen recently launched its first animated short film, “Tent Sale” and the black-owned business has big plans for the industry.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Headline updated 7/15 to clarify that Kris Wimberly is a former Disney Parks Cast Member but still a current Disney Animator.

Founded by Disney animator and storyboard artist, Kris Wimberly and his brother Chase Wimberly (who leads the business side of the studio), Studio Smokescreen aims to establish a trusted “bridge studio.” The ambitious goal is to recruit, foster, and train black, LGBTQ+ and other minority animators and artists to develop talent with hands-on experience that can be used to transition to other studios and help boost diversity in the field.

Kris has a great history with Disney; from humble beginnings with Disney California Adventure custodial services to more recent work with Walt Disney Television Animation’s upcoming “Firebuds” (premiering in Fall 2022 on Disney+) and Disney’s “Elena of Avalor.” Co-owner Chase has held various roles for digital media companies backed by top-tier equity firms, including Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Corporate Development.

It’s easy for fans of the Mouse to draw similar comparisons to another brother duo founding an animation sudio with a dream. We’re excited to see and hear more about the achievements of the studio in the years to come. They are currently in development on multiple projects

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