Variety Salutes 2022’s 10 Animators to Watch

Variety will salute its 10 Animators to Watch at a cocktail reception on Thursday.

4. Juston Gordon-Montgomery

“Invincible Fight Girl”

Prior to creating the upcoming Cartoon Network/HBO Max series “Invincible Fight Girl,” Gordon-Montgomery accomplished much as an animator in a short amount of time, transitioning from storyboard artist on projects including “Smurfs: The Lost Village” and “Smallfoot” to writer and director on “DC Super Hero Girls.” “My experience working in all facets of animation has allowed me to have a nuanced understanding of the hard work that goes into every stage of a production,” Gordon-Montgomery says. “Having that understanding is key when working with a team and helping to facilitate the best work.”

Perhaps it’s Gordon-Montgomery’s professional ascent that makes the premise of “Invincible Fight Girl,” about a young girl who aspires to become a pro wrestler, sound so familiar, and personal. “I wanted to tell a story about a kid’s journey,” he says. “Growing from an inexperienced but enthusiastic beginner in a challenging world, into someone who finds growth through testing herself, embracing struggle, and the support of friends and rivals — the same story for everyone who aspires to do something at a high-level experiences.”

Enamored by the versatility and fluidity of the medium, Gordon-Montgomery thrills at the chance to tell a variety of stories, with a variety of sensibilities. “The possibilities of what you can do with it are truly endless,” he says. “I think the most important thing we can do is tell stories that are engaging and interesting. If we succeed in that, in time, the context will come when the audience revisits the work at different points in their lives.” — Todd Gilchrist