Press release

Dundee graduate makes Disney movie magic

Published on 23 May 2019

A University of Dundee graduate hopes to leave moviegoers spellbound this week, as his own magical touch transports them to the fantasy world of Aladdin.

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Jonathan Macintosh, a Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design graduate and a Lead Animator for Disney’s latest live-action film Aladdin, says he can’t help but feel like a kid again when a movie he works on hits the big screen.

“Our work can take several months or even years to get right but you still get those butterflies in your stomach when the opening sequence begins,” said Jonathan.

“I love the challenge of taking an inanimate object inside a computer and trying to make it a believable, living, breathing character. It all pays off when that character is walking and talking or in some cases flipping and flying on screen.”

The 39-year-old Dundonian, who has worked on titles such as Stars Wars: The Last Jedi, DeadpoolBeauty and the Beast, and the Simon Pegg comedy Paul, says animating big titles can be tough but rewarding.

He said, “Films like Aladdin can be a double-edged sword for animators. It's great to be a part of something that so many people know and love, but, especially in today's world you have no real control over how people will react so it's up to you to just get stuck in and do the best job you can in order to help create something that millions of people will hopefully enjoy for years to come.”

Jonathan, who graduated with a BDes in Animation and Electronic Media in 2001, says it was thanks to Dundee that he has been able to do his dream job for a living and even has hopes to create a VFX company in his hometown.

He said, “Back in the late 90's there weren't many places in the UK where you could study animation. The fact that Duncan of Jordanstone has such a great reputation, and had a great animation course, and was right on my doorstep, made it a no brainer.

“Jurassic Park was the big moment where I thought, if I want to do this I need to learn about computer animation. So since I was 12 years old I knew I wanted to make monsters and the skills I developed at DJCAD has allowed me to animate aliens, superheroes, stormtroopers and even a Deadpool.”

Jonathan now lives and works in Vancouver, Canada, with his wife and son. Disney’s 2019 remake of Aladdin hits UK cinemas on Friday 24 May.

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design was ranked top in Scotland for Art and Design according to the Complete University Guide 2019 and currently offers an undergraduate degree in Animation and masters degree in Animation & VFX for those who are passionate about becoming professional animators.

Animation graduates from Dundee have been employed all over the world and have worked on videogames, films and animated TV titles such as The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars: Rogue One, Grand Theft Auto, The Last of Us and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.


Press Office, University of Dundee