Sandro Cleuzo was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Drawing was always his favorite past time activity when he was growing up and he would spent hours in front of the TV watching cartoons and trying to draw the characters. He was always a big fan of the Disney animated films and shorts and even as a kid, he could tell that they had a high quality level, different than the other cartoons on TV and started to think that animation like that is what he wanted to do. At 14 he acquired the famous Preston Blair book and started to learn how to animate following the samples in the book.
At age 15 he got an internship at one of the most important animation studios in Sao Paulo called Briquet Films. On the very first day he was given production work to try to help the artists finish a commercial job and succeeded in doing the in-between drawings so well that they ended up using for the final project.
He spent 4 years there working on many commercials as an assistant and later as an animator. As he never went to school for drawing or animation, the studio became his school for there is where he learned all of the animation process. After all those years in commercials he realized that he was now ready for the next step, which was to work on major films where he could learn how to make a character act and portray emotions.
He was a big fan of the work of Don Bluth, specially “The Secret of Nimh” and wanted to work with him. He learned that they were located in Dublin, Ireland and in 1990, after saving enough money for a year, he flew there and applied for a job. Don saw his portfolio and hired him on the spot as an animator, a dream come true.
He spent 4 years with Bluth in Ireland working on films like “Thumbelina, A Troll in Central Park and The Pebble and the Penguin” and 2 more years when they moved to Arizona when they setup the Fox Animation Studios and made “Anastasia”.
In 1997 he started to work for Disney Animation Studios. His first project was as an animator on “Fantasia 2000” on the “Firebird” segment. After that he animated on Tarzan and became a Lead Animator on “The Emperorʼs New Groove”, animating the Theme Song Guy, the Old Man, the Waitress and the Official and a Supervising Animator of the Sheriff and Jeb, the goat on “Home on the Range”. For the last two films he also did character designs and model sheets for the other animators.
Went back to Brazil to work as freelancer and animated on many projects including Disneyʼs “Enchanted” for James Baxter Animation, “Axterix and the Vikings”, “Curious George” and many others. Also did design work and storyboards for several other projects. In 2008 he worked on Dreamworks 2D short ʻThe Secret of the Furious Five” which he was nominated for an Annie Award for best animation. That same year he was invited back to Disney to work on “The Princess and the Frog” where he was a lead animator on the “Fenner Brothers” and also animated the human Prince Levine and the butler transformed into the prince.
After that he worked at Duncan Studio as a Supervising Animator on two Dreamworks 2D projects, “The Legend of the BoneKnapper and Secrets of the Masters. Back in Brazil, he opened a studio and produced the animation and Cleanup art for the Oscar nominated Spanish animated film “Chico and Rita”. Sandro is currently working
at Dreamworks Studios in Los Angeles animating on the 2D/CG film “Me and my Shadow”.