Animation director Kris Wimberly and his Los Angeles-based Studio Smokescreen have teamed up with non-profit CalHOPE Schools to create a series of animated shorts promoting mental health and wellness for students.

Geared towards middle school-aged kids and their families, the shorts tackle subjects including managing stress, anxiety and normalizing the importance of asking for help and support.

While serving as head of creative at Studio Smokescreen, Wimberly continues to work on animation projects in various roles. Currently, he serves as episodic director of Disney Junior’s Firebuds and is developing an as-yet-untitled original show about a time-traveling treasure hunter.

In this video interview, Wimberly speaks to TV Kids Weekly about how Studio Smokescreen is championing diversity and inclusion and how he aims to foster authenticity and connection within every show he works on.

Independent filmmaker Heather Parra (The Uprising, Hard 8, Cyborg X) is venturing into animation, releasing a trailer for the family fantasy adventure Talon. The 2D-animated glimpse into a magic-infused prehistoric world, produced by Kris Wimberly’s Los Angeles-based Studio Smokescreen (Tent Sale), has totted up hundreds of thousands of views since debuting to a largely positive response.

Kris Wimberly, director of Disney’s “Firebuds”, chats with our managing editor Justin D. Jenkins about the upcoming animation series, representation in animation and starting off as a custodian at Disney.

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‘Tent Sale’ is the debut short film from Studio Smokescreen, which aims to provide great animated content and new opportunities for underrepresented talent.

Wimberly started out mopping the floors of the same Disney studio where he is now an animation movie director, artist and storyteller. He and his brother have also founded Studio Smokescreen to create more diversity in animation.

Brothers Kris and Chase Wimberly have opened shop at Studio Smokescreen, a relatively rare example of an L.A.-based Black-owned animation studio. To mark the occasion, the studio has produced a calling card short titled Tent Sale, which you can see below.

Cal State Fullerton’s Pencil Mileage Club gave students the chance to hear from a professional storyboarder and CSUF alumni, Kris Wimberly, about his work and experience.