Saschka Unseld, who conceived and directed Pixar’s short film The Blue Umbrella, has moved to the East Coast to become the creative director of Passion New York, the growing American arm of celebrated London and Paris commercial producer Passion Pictures. In addition to his management role, he will direct projects at Passion.

“I was drawn to Passion not just because they tell great stories, but because they’re dedicated to pushing boundaries both creatively and technically,” Unseld said in a press release. “The creative director role at Passion New York combines the three things I have the most experience in: building a studio, developing young directors, and of course directing my own films.”

Besides directing at Pixar, Unseld worked in the layout department of projects like Toy Story 3, Toy Story of Terror, Brave, and Cars 2. Prior to joining Pixar, Unseld had been one of the founders of the German firm Studio Soi where he co-directed the concept pitch for The Gruffalo, that was later nominated for both an Oscar and BAFTA.

Unseld will work with technologies like virtual reality at Passion, where is currently directing “several films for some of the industry’s VR pioneers.” He will also collaborate with Passion’s technology team to create campaigns for immersive and reactive content platforms. “Saschka’s technology bent is a huge advantage for Passion as we grow in the gaming market and in real-time content production,” said Passion NY exec producer Belinda Blacklock.

“I’ve done a bit of a reverse-commute here,” said Unseld. “I think I’m the first to go from directing at Pixar to directing in commercials and that’s because there are very few companies that work the way Passion works. It’s a rare chance to be part of a company that floods every project with creativity and innovation.”

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