Talking with Skwigly in 2004, Dennis explained his motivation for leaving Disney after twenty years and why he went overseas:
After 20 years with the identical studio, it was time to strive one thing new. I needed to seek out extra thrilling and difficult alternatives. And what may very well be extra fascinating than serving to to advertise animation in growing nations?
Following his work at Disney, Dennis grew to become basic supervisor of Hanna Barbera’s 600-person-plus abroad studio Fil-Cartoons in Manila, Philippines. Whereas in cost, the studio labored on the What a Cartoon! sequence, which hosted the earliest episodes of Cartoon Community classics Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Ladies, Johnny Bravo, and Cow and Hen.
Dennis applied quite a few adjustments to the studio to enhance working situations and enhance the morale of the employees, as he defined to Skiwgly:
A number of artists really lived on the studio, sleeping of their cubicle areas and going house to their households within the provinces on weekends. This needed to change instantly, so we constructed a small 60-bed dormitory, charging the artists a nominal price to cowl prices. We additionally held household days, in order that artists’ spouses and kids may get a tour of the studio and be taught extra about what we have been doing.
Dennis inspired the crew to develop their very own concepts along with doing service work, which resulted in tasks just like the What a Cartoon! quick Swamp and Tad and the UNICEF PSA about youngsters’s rights, Youngster Troopers.
A tour of the Manila studio, offered by Dennis, might be seen beneath:
In 1999, Dennis co-founded Toonz Animation Studio in Trivandrum, Kerala, India, and served as CEO of the fledgling firm. The corporate at the moment employs over 3,000 folks.
At Toonz, Dennis produced The Adventures of Tenali Raman, which was the primary Indian 2nd animation sequence, and he arrange the corporate’s cg division, which might co-produce its first sequence, Finley the Fireplace Engine, in 2007. Dennis focused his efforts towards growing the infrastructure and expertise for the Indian animation business, and was concerned in quite a few actions past the studio, together with launching the Week with the Masters Animation Competition in Kerala and the Toonz Webel Animation Academy in Kolkata.
Now a well-regarded hub of animation exercise, Kerala’s business owes drastically to the groundwork that Dennis and his workforce laid down at Toonz. In 2000, the Indian authorities awarded Dennis with the Rashtriya Rattan Award for excellent particular person achievement and distinguished service to the nation.
“[H]is imaginative and prescient and keenness has given identification to Trivandrum as one of many vital animation facilities in India,” mentioned present Toonz Media Group CEO P. Jayakumar in an announcement on Dennis’s passing. “The seeds sown by him have sprouted and grown into a worldwide youngsters and leisure main.”
Whereas at Toonz, Dennis based the ASIFA India chapter and continued to function emeritus president after his retirement. He was additionally the chief director of ASIFA Worldwide for a time period.
Later in his profession, Dennis was a founding companion of Zanymation Associates, a boutique studio with places of work within the U.S. and Germany. Earlier than retiring, he was additionally a founding companion of L.A.’s Worldwide Animation Consulting Group.
Dennis is survived by his spouse of 58 years, Rhonda Dennis; his three youngsters Tiersa (Perry Vayo) Dennis, William (Paul) (Amy Carney) Dennis Jr., and Mireille Dennis Evans; and three grandchildren; Noah Dennis, Alex Evans, and Grayce Dennis. He’s additionally survived by his sister Jackie Hetler and lots of beloved nieces and nephews.