Pinay Pixar artist comes home to celebrate release of 'Coco'

Filipino animator Gini Santos visited her home country on Nov. 6-7 to celebrate the upcoming release of Disney•Pixar’s Coco, for which Santos served as supervising animator – the first ever woman in Pixar’s history to hold the position. 

Born in Pasay City in the Philippines, Santos moved to Guam with her family when she was 3 years old. She then returned to her home country years later to study at St. Scholastica’s College (high school) and University of Santo Tomas (UST), where she graduated with a degree in Fine Arts with a major in Advertising. 

Hired by Pixar Animation Studios in 1996, Santos worked on many critically praised Pixar films, including the Academy Award-winning Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up

“The welcome’s been amazing. After all the hard work we’ve done for Coco, to be recognized as a Filipino who worked on the film, which has gotten great response, has been amazing,” said Santos, who was back home to meet the local media. 

At the special advanced screening for Coco on Nov. 6 at Newport Cinemas in Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila, Santos was presented with a plaque of appreciation by the city of Pasay “for being an exemplary citizen of Pasay City,” where she and her family lived before moving to Guam. The award was presented to her by City Administrator Atty. Dennis Acorda, representing Mayor Antonio Calixto.  

Pasay City Administrator Atty. Dennis Acorda with Gini Santos
At the same event, Santos was also awarded by the Original Pilipino Performing Arts (OPPA) Foundation with a plaque of recognition by OPPA President Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo. OPPA is a foundation that aims to support aspiring Filipino artists by providing them with opportunities that will improve their knowledge and craft. 

OPPA President Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo with Gini Santos
“In our unwavering commitment to champion Filipino talent, the Original Pilipino Performing Arts would like to present this plaque of recognition to Ms. Gini Santos for her invaluable contribution to showcasing the creativity of the Filipino to a global audience,” said Lauchengco-Yulo. “We are proud that she shares the foundation’s vision to support, nurture, and elevate the Filipino talent. Thank you for being an inspiration.” 

Santos also conducted an animation workshop on Nov. 7, which was attended by more than 250 students. “There’s a vast amount of information on the internet about animation. Look out there and learn,” advises Santos. “Keep pursuing and trying things.” 

Gini Santos shares her expertise with the student attendees of her animation workshop.
Disney•Pixar’s Coco opens in Philippine cinemas on Nov. 22, alongside Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 21-minute featurette Olaf’s Frozen Adventure