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JOE JOHNSTON (Director / Executive Producer) was born in Austin, Texas. Relocating to California, he attended Cal State University Long Beach, majoring in illustration, graphic and industrial design. After seeing Jaws in 1975, Johnston's career path turned toward film. He began his career working for George Lucas as a designer and visual effects art director on Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Some of his most notable designs include Yoda, the Ewoks, Boba Fett, The Millennium Falcon, The X- and Y-Wing Fighters, The Imperial Snow Walkers and The Imperial Star Destroyer among many others.

In 1981, Johnston won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for his work on Raiders of the Lost Ark, focusing on the climactic opening of the ark sequence. Following that film's sequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Lucas suggested Johnston attend the USC School of Cinema, offering to pay his tuition and keep him on half salary. Johnston left USC a year later with a nine minute black and white film that landed him his directorial debut with Disney's Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, marking the first time a debut director surpassed the $100 million mark in box office revenue. Johnston's next film The Rocketeer, has amassed a cult following since its release. He's gone on to direct "Jumanji," "October Sky, Jurassic Park III, Hidalgo and The Wolfman.

Following his involvement with the Jurassic Park franchise, Johnston has spent nine summers at various sites in the Hell Creek formation in Montana, working with paleontologist Jack Horner, prospecting and collecting material from the late Cretaceous period, including several pieces now housed in the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.


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