House of Cool is an animation leader specializing in pre-production for series and film. Founded in 2004 by childhood friends – animation veteran Ricardo Curtis and finance expert Wes Lui – House of Cool has gone from a small group of artists to a studio that is producing and partnering with the biggest entertainment companies.
House of Cool is called home to the coolest, most talented designers, story artists, editors and producers in the business. Over 19 years, our artist-centric and family driven approach with leadership provided by Curtis and Lui – both creative and business wise – have helped us grow to become a premiere studio operating in the world today.
Ricardo Curtis is one of the animation industry’s most successful professionals, and has played a pivotal role in the production of over 20 successful feature films.
Jamaican born and Toronto native, Curtis relocated to Los Angeles after graduating from Sheridan College’s Classical Animation Program. Working with Pixar, DreamWorks Animation Studios, Fox, Miramax and Warner Bros, he contributed to a number of projects as a story artist (The Incredibles, Monsters Inc.), Head of Story (Book of Life, Horton Hears A Who), Supervising Animator (Osmosis Jones) and was an animator and designer on The Iron Giant.
Curtis returned to Canada in 2004 to launch House of Cool with Wesley Lui. As Co-Founder and Creative Director, his keen eye for talent and artistry have cultivated long-term relationships with Dreamworks, Netflix, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Universal and Apple.
Curtis has developed and sold properties to Disney, Bravo!, DHX and Teletoon, earning accolades at MIPCOM for his work. He has produced, written and directed short films, pilots, television series, specials, a novel and commercials. Curtis is a member of Sheridan College’s board that sets the educational curriculum, as well as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Most recently Ricardo directed Ice Age: The Great Eggscapade for Fox/Blue Sky Studios. Curtis has written and is slated to direct an original House of Cool property currently titled Amoeba and the upcoming Clive Barker film, Night of the Zoombies.
As CEO, Wes Lui spearheads House of Cool’s innovative entertainment strategies, creative partnerships and financial investing. He oversees all service productions including: Maya and the Threes (Netflix), Next Gen (Netflix), the award-winning Guillermo del Toro series, Trollhunters (DreamWorks / Netflix), and The Book of Life (20th Century Fox).
Prior to co-founding House of Cool, Lui held investment positions in the top financial institutions in Canada (TD Canada Trust, Bank of Montreal and CIBC Wood Gundy) and finance position at VFC Inc. helping the company go public on the Toronto Stock Exchange
Wes is a strong advocate for Canadian high-end animated features and series production and development. He is on the Board of Directors for the Computer Animation Studios of Ontario (CASO), which is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit industry association committed to the growth and international competitiveness in Ontario’s animation and VFX industry.
Wes is honoured to also have been past President and Co-Chair of CASO. Most Recently in 2020, Wes was nominated and honoured to sit on the Board of Directors of FilmOntario, an industry consortium representing over 35,000 individuals working in the screen-based industry in Ontario.
Wes graduated from Wilfred Laurier University, where he received a BA in Economics.
As VP of Production, Series, Rebecca Swift leads all series-related production work from initial budgeting to final delivery. Since joining House of Cool in 2016 she has produced and supervised both feature and series productions from development through pre-production and final delivery. Rebecca oversees the operations of the studio, working with and managing an exceptional team of artists and production staff, and is instrumental in strategic planning for House of Cool.
Prior to joining House of Cool, Swift held producing roles at 9 Story Media Group and Arc Productions where she managed the Emmy Award® winning Amazon series, Lost in Oz and the Bluesky Studios/20th Century Fox special, Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapde. Rebecca has also produced independent live-action feature films including: Almost Adults and Nobody Famous, both festival darlings, which sold to Netflix and Amazon Prime respectfully and are now available on a variety of streaming platforms.
Swift graduated from Humber College, where she received a diploma in Film and Television Production. Rebecca’s passion for education continued with the WIFT-T’s Corus Media Management Accelerator program and the CFC Comedy Exchange Program.
Rodrigo Perez-Castro is an Annie Award-nominated animation filmmaker with decades of experience in the industry.
Rodrigo was born and raised in Mexico City. His passion for storytelling brought him to Canada to study at the renowned animation school, Sheridan College. In the years that followed, Rodrigo worked as a Story Artist, in both Canada and the U.S., on numerous film projects for studios like, Disney, Blue Sky Studios, Fox Animation, Paramount Animation, and Dreamworks TV.
Rodrigo’s most recent credits as a story artist include- The Book of Life, Ice Age: Collision Course, Ferdinand, and Rio 2. For his work on Rio 2 he was nominated for an Annie Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Film”.
He has also served as the Head of Story for Ice Age: The Great Eggscapade and the How to Train your Dragon TV series, as well as a story consultant for the original Angry Birds film.
For over 5 years, Rodrigo served as the head of the story department at House of Cool Inc. In this role, he supervised and trained new artists, a personally gratifying experience as he helped mold some of the industry’s most influential new talent.
Rodrigo then went on to direct Koati, an independent, hand-drawn animated film. This passion project brought him closer to his roots and gave him the chance to immortalize the colourful world of Latin America on film. Koati stars Sofia Vergara and features original music by Grammy Award-winner Marc Anthony.
Recently, Rodrigo has returned to his animation family at House of Cool as the VP of Creative, where he currently provides creative leadership for HOC client services and develops his own original properties with a unique, personal storytelling touch. Next up, Rodrigo is slated to co-direct an original, yet-to-be announced animated film for House of Cool.
As VP of Production, Feature Film, Patrick Worlock oversees all feature-related service work at House of Cool, from initial budgeting through final delivery. As part of the leadership team, Worlock plays a vital role in the strategic planning and the day to day running of the studio.
An American producer and production executive, Worlock is a 20-year veteran of the industry, who earned his stripes at MTV Animation, working on Beavis & Butt-head, Daria, The Head and Celebrity Deathmatch. At Blue Sky Studios / 20thCentury Fox, he supervised multiple departments and played critical roles on many seminal films including the Ice Age series, Robots, Rio, Horton Hears a Who and Peanuts. As Head of Production at 3QU Media, he produced four independent animated films for Netflix. A veteran of 16 animated features and 8 animated series, Worlock brings to bear a comprehensive knowledge of budgeting, management, pipelines and efficient workflows.
Patrick Worlock holds memberships in ASIFA-East, ASIFA-Hollywood and in the Producer’s Guild of America. Worlock joined House of Cool in 2021.
Drew Ng studied at the internationally acclaimed Sheridan College in the early 1990’s and is a 20+ year veteran as a Storyboard Artist and Supervisor on dozens of projects. Some of the productions he was involved with include Cube Zero, Jonah Hex and Dragons – Race to the Edge.
After many years on the front lines, Ng is now using his story experience to institute the Education, Recruitment and Training department to support the many productions at House of Cool.
Drew was integral to the development and execution of House of Cool’s first 6-week Storyboard Workshop classes, along with the creation of a full time Storyboard Program at Ecole Cartoucherie Animation Solidaire (ECAS), located in Bourg-Les-Valence, France, in partnership with TeamTO and the French government. Through these inaugural education programs, and in addition to House of Cool’s own internal training for new hires, Ng is able to leverage the studios expertise in pre-production to educate and upskill the next generation of storytellers.
Drew also brings a unique insight to the recruitment department with his decades of experience and finely trained artist eye. He encourages creativity and strong technical skills among House of Cool artists and employs the philosophy that if you provide artists with the tools they need, they will succeed beyond expectation.
A giant kid pretending to be a grown-ass man.
With 30 years of experience in the animation industry, Joe Giampapa is currently the Studio Head of Story at House of Cool Inc. in Toronto, Canada.
He has worked as a Story Artist on projects such as The Book of Life, Ferdinand, Angry Birds 1 & 2, The Peanuts Movie, Next Gen, Rumble, and most recently as Head of Story on Paw Patrol the Movie.
Before becoming a Story Artist, Joe started his journey as a paper flipping, classical animator working in Television, Commercials and on 2D Features. A lot of trees were sacrificed while Joe worked on films such as Beauty and the Beast 2, Once Upon a Christmas, Peter Pan 2, Osmosis Jones,The Three Kings, Eight Crazy Nights, and many more.
But that’s not all folks! Scattered throughout his career, Joe has also done voice work, written for television, worked on character concept designs for Television and Features, and worked in Story Development.
Joe’s secret to a long and happy career is “if it feels like work, you’re doing it wrong”, but also “don’t stick your finger in a live electrical outlet”. Either way, with those life mottos, you will be around for a long time.
Warren Leonhardt is a story artist with two decades of experience in the industry, geaduating from Sheridan College’s Classical Animation program and has since worked both as a Story Artist and Head of Story in Canada, the U.S., and Europe on numerous projects – premium series, animated features, live action features and AAA games – developing content with clients such as Disney, Lucasfilm, DreamWorks, Netflix, Sony Pictures Animation, and Blue Sky Studios.
Warren’s most recent credits as a story artist include – Mufasa: The Lion King (Disney), Nimona (Netflix), Puss In Boots: The Last Wish (DreamWorks), Solo: A Star Wars Story (Lucasfilm), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Sony), Spies In Disguise (Blue Sky), and has acted as Head of Story on Ferdinand at Blue Sky Studios, which was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar.
For two years, Warren served as an associate professor at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. In this role and as a mentor at Blue Sky Studios, he has helped influence some of the brightest talents currently rising in the industry.
Warren has returned to his home country of Canada to join House of Cool as the VP of Creative Client Services, where he provides creative leadership for HOC’s various client services.
Katie Hasleham first joined the team at House of Cool in 2007, moving up the ranks within the production team while working on feature films, commercials and television series. She oversaw all of House of Cool’s pre-production from 2012-2016 including feature films The Book of Life, Ferdinand, The Peanuts Movie and the Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia trilogy.
Katie’s firm footing within this early, pre-production stage became a natural stepping stone to move onto the House of Cool development team, working with our development braintrust to carry through the creative vision from conception to pitch package, and striving to push the boundaries of visual development and storytelling.
As Head of Sales and Partnerships, Michael Hegarty plays a key role in the steady growth of the studio year over year. He strategically helps align clients, studios, creators, directors and their projects with House of Cool’s world renowned services.
As a long time sales executive stretching over 15 years, Hegarty’s primary objectives are always growth and relationships. Hegarty has consistently hit sales targets for each organization he’s worked under and represented the Presidents Club many times.
Michael is a graduate of Conestoga College under the Business Administration and Management program.
Nivaa graduated in HR Management at Durham College, combined with Event Planning Management from George Brown College. Racking up nearly 12 years of admin experience and 5 years of experience in HR, Nivaa made her start at House of Cool as the studio administrator and built her skills and experience to now juggle both the responsibilities of the HR and Studio Manager.
In her 5 years at House of Cool, Nivaa has exceptionally handled all logistics, location moves, renovations, and events at the studio. She is one of the main pillars of support for all current and new employees at House of Cool. As a minority growing up in Canada, Nivaa did not believe it would be possible to successfully enter the entertainment industry, and yet through her hard work and dedication ended up at House of Cool, allowing her childhood dreams to come true. This Nivaa strongly believes in the utmost importance of traditions and culture within a workplace environment.
Nivaa is almost everyone’s go to, with her having exceeded her jobs requirements in troubleshooting and bringing structure and order to the studio. Nivaa’s progressive thinking and innovative mindset drove her to implement a human resources information system for the company allowing for consistent organisation and overall growth.
Chris Scully has been working in the IT field for over 20 years, with the majority of his experience being in the fields of animation and live-action entertainment productions, including several years in and around the stereoscopic production industry. Starting out as an independent freelance contractor, Chris has worked steadily to build experience in a wide variety of technical and production related fields – culminating in a holistic and well-rounded expertise for all things tech.
His production credits span from editorial in documentary projects like a music video for Evergreen Brickworks “Emerge”, Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) “I Will Never Be Homeless”, various studio demo reels, or stereoscopic compositing for House of Cool’s “Ollie the Otter”. Beyond that, he has spearheaded a stereoscopic workshop for Umbrella Kreativ in Budapest, assisted R&D for Prasad Corp (EFX), India, and the first ever live Stereo3D broadcast of Carnivale in Brazil for Datacast, – Chris has worked tirelessly to expand his knowledge of both the production process and the requisite technologies that support them.
As IT Manager at House of Cool – Chris brings his variety of experience to the table to help support and predict studio needs before or when they arise, and more recently has managed a tightly-knit IT support team throughout the pandemic to facilitate artists and administrative staff alike through the hybrid work model – while keeping a keen eye on the security and compliance needs of our clients.