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Alumni & FriendsA smiling Gloria Borders stands beside a framed movie poster of Shrek at the Dreamworks studio.

 

Leading a Dream Team

Academy Award®-winner Gloria Borders (B.A., '78) has worked on films with lots of Hollywood A-listers. But her latest career move has her keeping company with less-glamorous stars: a fat ogre, sewer rats and a raccoon.

Borders, however, is thrilled to be working with the lovable Shrek and other computer-generated creatures in her new role with PDI/DreamWorks Animation SKG in Redwood City.

"This is really an amazing place. In many ways, they invented computer-generated animation," she says of PDI/DreamWorks, which pioneered computer animation with the 1998 hit "Antz."

PDI/DreamWorks is the Northern California campus of DreamWorks Animation, which is based in Glendale. Borders joined in January as head of the studio following a five-year stint in charge of postproduction at Revolution Studios in Los Angeles. Just a few weeks into her new job, Borders was already juggling several features, among them "Over the Hedge," about a con-artist raccoon, and "Flushed Away," set in the anthropomorphized world of sewer rats. Out next year will be "Shrek 3" and "Bee Movie," starring Jerry Seinfeld.

Borders made a name for herself at George Lucas' Skywalker Sound in Marin County. As a supervising sound editor and later general manager, she worked on some of the biggest films of the '90s, including "Titanic" and "Terminator 2," for which she won an Academy Award for sound effects editing. She later picked up an Oscar® nomination for "Forest Gump."

A New Jersey native, Borders came to the SFSU Cinema Department as a transfer student from University of San Francisco. "The core program was fantastic. I was in a group of 20 students, and we took every class together so it was like living together," she recalls.
While many of her classmates dreamed of careers in front of or behind the camera, Borders early on discovered a love for post-production, the editing that follows shooting. The faculty included Robert J. Lewis, now an emeritus, Mollie Gregory, a screenwriter and producer, and David and Karen Crommie, a husband-and-wife team of documentary filmmakers who would give Borders her first break. "I got to sync dailies and be in the cutting room with them, and we really hit it off," Borders recalls. "When I graduated from State, I started working for them as an assistant editor and script supervisor. We got to fly around the country making documentaries. It was an amazing job."

At PDI/DreamWorks, Borders leads a staff of about 300, among them at least one SFSU grad. As a senior animator, David Spivack (B.A.,'93) had a hand in the success of "Antz" and "Shrek 2," the third-highest grossing film of all time. Spivack is working on "Shrek 3."

-- Anne Burke

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