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
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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