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Shane Acker

Shane Acker

The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Filmmaker
Countries United States of America
Occupations Screenwriter Film director Film producer Animator
Gender male
Birth Wheaton
Education University of California, Los Angeles
The details

Shane Richard Acker (born 1971 in Wheaton, Illinois) is an American filmmaker known for directing 9, which is based on his 2005 Academy Award-nominated short film, of the same title. He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Early life

As a child Acker was hyperactive, so his parents encouraged him to draw. Acker originally set a goal of becoming an architect; he earned a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Florida in 1994 as well as a master's degree from the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture.


Upon graduating in 1999, he decided to become a film-maker and went to study at UCLA's Animation Workshop. There he created The Hangnail, The Astounding Talent of Mr. Grenade, and 9, and earned in 2004 a master's degree in animation. His original short titled 9 took him four and a half years to complete and was released in 2005.

Acker wrote, directed, and co-animated the award-winning animated short film 9, which won a student award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and was shown at SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater. Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Batman and The Nightmare Before Christmas) saw Acker's short film and, with the help of Timur Bekmambetov (director of Wanted) from Focus Features, made the feature film with Attitude Studios in Luxembourg and Starz Animation in Toronto.

He is also a visiting professor at Loyola Marymount University.

Acker is currently "Artist in Residence" at Gnomon School of Visual Effects, a provider of online tutorials for visual effects artists. He has been working at Gnomon on a short film Plus Minus, co-directed by Aristomenis Tsirbas and due for release in late 2011.

In June 2011, Acker was chosen to direct a new live-action adaptation of the children's book and TV series, Thomas & Friends. He will be working from a script by Chris Viscardi, Will McRobb and Josh Klausner. Weta Digital will create the film's visual effects, with design by Weta Workshop Design Dept.

As of 2011, Acker formed Benthos Studio, an animation production company with partners Greg Little, Jack Mitchell and Brown Bag Films.

In 2012, Shane Acker confirmed that he planned to work with Valve to create his next animated feature film, Deep. Like 9, the film will be in a post-apocalyptic world, although it has no relation to 9 and is set in a different universe, where World War III has forced humans underground. Deep will be another darker animated film, as Shane Acker has expressed his interest in creating more PG-13 animated films.


Shane Acker has cited The Brothers Quay, Don Hertzfeldt, Jan Švankmajer, and brothers Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein as inspirations.



Year Title Director Writer Animator Visual Effects Note
2000 The Hangnail Yes Yes Yes Short film
2003 The Astounding Talent of Mr. Grenade Yes Yes Yes Short film
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Yes Animator
2005 9 Yes Yes Yes Short film
2009 9 Yes Yes Directorial debut
Wrote story
2010 A Jake and a Tom Yes Short film
2012 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Yes Previsualization Artist
Total Recall Yes Previsualization Artist
2013 Oz the Great and Powerful Yes Previsualization Artist
47 Ronin Yes Previsualization Supervisor
TBA Beasts of Burden Yes
Deep Yes Yes Wrote story
Plus Minus Yes Short film

Video games

Year Title Animator Notes
2005 Guild Wars Yes Cutscene animator

Critical reception

Film Rotten Tomatoes IMDb
9 56% 7.1/10

Awards and Nominations

Year Award Category Title Result
1999 MicroCineFest Audience Choice Award Best Short The Hangnail Won
2005 Annecy International Animated Film Festival Graduation Films (Junior Jury Award) 9 Won
Graduation Films (Special Distinction) Won
BendFilm Festival Jury Prize Best Animated Short Won
Student Academy Award Animation Won
2006 Academy Award Best Animated Short Film Nominated

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Early life Career Influences Filmography Critical reception Awards and Nominations
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