Pixar's 'Up' production designer a Filipino

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 02 2009 01:33 PM | Updated as of Jul 03 2009 10:43 PM

A Filipino was one of the people who made Pixar’s latest movie "Up" a blockbuster hit.

Ricky Nierva was placed in charge of the movie’s entire visual look. "Up" is a box office hit already earning $250 million in the US. "Up" builds on Pixar's reputation for making the world's best animated features.

Nierva said Pixar stays on top because the company stresses the importance of ideas.

"They create an environment here that everybody can pitch their ideas…whether he be somebody that’s not even from the art department that has an idea. Staying open, staying positive, that's the culture," said Nierva.

Nierva is a native of San Diego. A young animator who, in 1997, was invited to join Pixar and his first work was for "Monster's Inc."

"Back then it was a lot easier to get in. I honestly don’t think I would be able to get in to Pixar right now if I try," he said.

"Up" is Nierva's first movie as production designer. The movie introduces Pixar's first major Asian-American character: Russell, the wilderness explorer.

Nierva said it was important to him as a Filipino to represent Russel in a positive way. Pixar even cast an Asian kid to give Russell his voice.

Pixar is a dream job for Nierva and he's also happy that he's not the only Filipino in the company.

With "Up" now in the can, Nierva is working on Pixar's next, top secret project. However, he does not want to sit in the director's chair just yet.

"It depends if I have a really good story I want to tell," he said.

It may still be up in the clouds, but Nierva could one day be Pixar's first Filipino director. Reports from Jericho Saria ABS-CBN North America News Bureau correspondent, California and ANC's Dateline Philippines