“Newsmaker: Drawing on Eternal Principles,” Ensign, Jan. 1996, 68
“When we set out to do an animated feature film,” says director-producer Richard Rich, “our story themes often develop around gospel principles.”
As head of Rich Animation Studios in Burbank, California, Brother Rich has the opportunity to help funnel talent and resources into family-oriented films such as The Swan Princess, the successful animated film based on the German fairy tale that also inspired the classic ballet Swan Lake. “We wanted to make a film that parents would feel very comfortable in bringing their entire family to,” says Brother Rich. “I wanted to make a film, too, in which there was nothing that would offend the Spirit.”
A former animator and director of animated films at Disney Studios, where his credits included The Fox and the Hound, Brother Rich observes that “a lot of good people have the same desires for wholesome family entertainment as Church members do.” Church members who worked side by side with Brother Rich on The Swan Princess include scriptwriter and screenwriter Brian Nissen of the Newhall Second Ward, Valencia California Stake; executive producer Seldon O. Young of the Farmington Twentieth Ward, Farmington Utah North Stake; producer-executive producer Jared F. Brown of the Oak Forest First Ward, Layton Utah North Stake; musical director Lex de Azevedo of the Little Cottonwood Ward, Sandy Utah Granite View Stake; and voice-actor James Arrington of the Sunset Heights Fifth Ward, Orem Utah Sunset Heights Stake.
A former bishop, Brother Rich says that he directs his animation company using many of the principles and techniques he has learned in his Church callings. He and his wife, Connie, are the parents of six children, and Brother Rich presently serves as a counselor in the Valencia California Stake presidency.