Disney animator Louaye Moulayess was born in a village called Elissar in Lebanon. Watching Disney movies with his siblings, he loved how the films would illustrate a powerful message. This made him want to purse a career in animation from a very young age.
“I felt something good. I’m like, ‘I want to be part of this.’ That was the first step. The problem was, I didn’t see anybody do art (among) my family and friends. So I started doing computer science. And since there was starting to be computer animation, I said, ‘Maybe I can do something with the computer.’ I did computer science for a year. Didn’t work. I didn’t like it. It wasn’t for me, basically,” Louaye said to Arab News.
After researching routes that would enable him to reach his goals of working at Disney or Pixar, Louaye came across the profile of an animator at Pixar in San Francisco. Taking initiative, he sent the animator a message.
“I was around 16 or 17. I emailed him and said, ‘Listen, I’m from Lebanon, this is the situation: I want to do animation. Can you help me?’ He was very kind, he replied right away. He told me, ‘Since you don’t have a portfolio, try to go to this animation school in San Francisco. It’s expensive, so you’re going to have to have a job on the side.’ He just gave me a lot of good advice. And it’s because of him that I made the decision to go to that school specifically.” Louaye explained.
After he finished his studies at the school in San Francisco, Louaye was able to secure an internship at Pixar where the animator worked.
He said, “And guess who my mentor was? It was that animator. I said, ‘Hey, I want to show you something.’ I showed him the email I sent him when I was 16. I looked him in the eye and said, ‘I’m here because of you.’ And it was honestly a great moment. It was like everything had aligned to have him as my mentor.”
From working on Cars 2 at Pixar to working on the Ice Age films, The Peanuts Movie and Ferdinand films at Blue Sky Studios, Louaye then started working at Disney. He first worked on Frozen 2 before taking on Raya and the Last Dragon.
A story that showcases the beauty of big dreams, determination and representation, Louaye Moulayess is paving the way for many.