We are pleased to announce that 2019 Academy Award-winner Phil Lord will serve as the mentor for the winner of ‘Best Director!’

Phil Lord and creative partner Chris Miller are the prolific multi-hyphenate duo behind some of today’s most successful films and television shows, including the Academy Award-winning best animated feature, Spider-man: Into The Spider-verse, The Lego Movie, The LEGO Batman Movie, 21 & 22 Jump StreetCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Last Man on Earth and the upcoming film Artemis.

Known for their unique sensibilities and maverick mindset as writer-producer-directors, Lord and Miller have spent their careers pushing the boundaries of creativity to deliver a fresh, unexpected perspective with each of their projects. Immensely talented and endlessly innovative, the pair’s projects have successfully drawn in audiences of all demographics time and time again, collectively earning over $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office.

On the features side, Lord and Miller just released the Oscars & Golden Globe-winning animated feature Spider-man: Into The Spider-verse. The film, which Lord co-wrote and both produced, offers a fresh take on the Spider-Man Universe by shifting the focus of the story to the lesser-known man behind the mask, Miles Morales. It opened to an unheard-of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and has been praised by critics for its groundbreaking visuals that bring comic book illustrations to life for the big-screen in an unprecedented way. Becoming a major player in this year’s awards circuit, the film has also been nominated for a BAFTA Award, seven Annie Awards and has won 20+ Best Animated Feature awards by various critics’ groups including the coveted Broadcast Film Critics Association, as well as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

The pair is also in production on the sequel to their massively successful film The Lego Movie, which is currently slated for a February 8, 2019 release with Lord and Miller both writing and producing. Additionally, Lord and Miller are developing a feature adaptation of the highly buzzed about novel Artemis from The Martian author Andy Weir. Described as an adrenaline-charged crime caper featuring smart, detailed world-building based on real science, the duo will direct the project from a script by Geneva Robertson-Dworet.

Most recently, their Lego spin-off The Lego Ninjago Movie was released on September 22, 2017 to great box office and critic success. The duo also produced the film Brigsby Bear, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Coming off of the film’s raved festival reviews, Sony Pictures acquired the rights for distribution and released the film on July 27, 2017. The pair is also a part of the Warner Bros. Animation Group (WAG), a select group of writers and directors that the studio has brought together to form an animation think-tank with the goal of creating high-end animated movies. As part of WAG, the pair served as executive producers on the 2016 animated feature “Storks.”

Over their career, Lord and Miller have seen incredible success at the box office. In 2014, they were the only writers/directors with two films ranked among the top 15 highest-grossing features of the year. One of their most recent productions, The Lego Batman Movie, which released on February 10, 2017 to raved reviews, reached over $300 million in the worldwide box office. The Lego Movie, which the pair wrote and directed, debuted at #1 and remained on top of the box office for four straight weeks. The hugely successful film has earned over $469 million worldwide and was the 5th highest-grossing domestic feature of 2014. It also earned Lord and Miller rave reviews for their imaginative and unique sensibilities, as well as the BAFTA, PGA, and BFCA Critics Choice Awards for “Best Animated Feature,” the National Board of Review Award for “Best Original Screenplay,” and The Annie Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Writing for an Animated Feature.” The Lego Movie was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for “Best Animated Film” and was named one of the top ten films of 2014 on over 75 critics’ lists. That same year, Lord and Miller directed 22 Jump Street. The film debuted at #1 and has garnered over $331 million worldwide, earning Lord and Miller praise for their innate ability to transform unlikely material into cinematic brilliance. Lord and Miller had previously directed the hit action-comedy 21 Jump Street, which took in over $200 million worldwide in 2012 and earned a Critics Choice Award nomination for “Best Comedy.”

Lord and Miller’s first feature was 2009’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which the duo wrote and directed. The film was loosely based on the beloved children’s book of the same name and earned Lord and Miller a Golden Globe and Critics Choice nomination for “Best Animated Feature” along with four Annie Award nominations for excellence in animation, including “Best Direction” and “Best Screenplay.”

On the television side, Lord and Miller are in development on multiple projects under their overall deal with Twentieth Century Fox via their Lord Miller Productions banner. Most recently, Netflix ordered 10 episodes of their adult animated comedy “Hoops,” which Lord and Miller will executive produce, with Jake Johnson attached to star. The series centers around a hot-headed, foul-mouthed high school basketball coach who thinks turning around his God-awful team will take him to the “big leagues.” Additionally, Fox made its first straight-to-series pickup in a few years with Lord and Miller’s 13-episode, half-hour animated comedy series “Bless the Harts,” which they will executive produce. The show, which has an all-star voice cast led by Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Jillian Bell and Ike Barniholtz, follows a group of Southerners who are always broke as a joke and struggling for the American dream of status and wealth. What they don’t realize is that they’re already rich — in friends, family and laughter. The pair are in simultaneously in development on “Business as Usual,” a single-camera comedy pilot set at NBC that revolves around everyday employees at a company in crisis, trying to keep their jobs and maintain their relationships as their workplace goes insane.

Lord and Miller made the return to their television roots in 2015 as executive producers on the Fox comedy series “The Last Man on Earth,” which aired its fourth and final season earlier this year. The duo also directed the first two episodes of the series, for which they received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for “Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.” The show is written by and stars Will Forte as the sole male survivor working to ensure the survival of the human race at the end of the world. The series premiered to rave reviews and was the highest-rated broadcast series of the night with 5.7 million viewers during its debut airing. The pair also directed the pilot episode of the breakout hit “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which was one of most anticipated television series of the 2013 Fall Season. Also among their prior television writing credits, the duo served as co-executive producers on the successful CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.”

Lord and Miller’s collaboration began when the pair met as students at Dartmouth College. The two contend it was a mistake that landed them a job developing Saturday morning cartoons for the Walt Disney Company, which led to their stint developing primetime animated shows for Touchstone Television. In 2002, they executive produced, wrote, and directed the short-lived but highly buzzed about animated series “Clone High” on MTV. The series was critically acclaimed for its well-developed and unique personalities as well as for its witty, fast-paced dialogue, but is probably best known for causing a hunger strike in India and being quickly cancelled. Miller voiced the characters of John F. Kennedy and Mr. Butlertron, and Lord voiced the characters of Principal Scudworth, Genghis Khan, and Geldhemoor, the Humkeycorn.

Lord graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College with a degree in Art History. His college animated short Man Bites Breakfast won “Best Animation” at the 1998 New England Film and Video Festival and was also included in several other festivals, including ASIFA East and ASIFA San Francisco. He is a native of Coconut Grove, Florida, and likes bikes.

Miller is a native of Lake Stevens, Washington. He left there to attend Dartmouth College, where he found a lifelong friend in Phil Lord while obtaining a degree in government and studio art: three achievements, two of which are useful to his career.

Thank you Phil, for changing the way the world defines and views disability!