José (1961) was born in Mexico City.
He received his bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and Philosophy from the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA), in 1984.
He has been recognized as one of the most innovative producers of radio broadcasting in the 80’s, starting, designing, and programming three of the most successful radio stations in Mexico City: Rock 101, Radio Mexiquense, and Opus 94. At 21 years of age, he was selected as member of a year-long first international leadership training program, the World Showcase Fellowship Program (WSFP), hosted, sponsored and designed by the Walt Disney Company.
He later studied at the renowned film school in Prague, FAMU (Filmová a Televizní Fakulta Akademie Múzickych Umení v Praze) and worked as an apprentice at the prestigious Animation Studios, Bratri V Triku, where he directed his first professional film, Open on Sundays (1989), under the historical Czech brand Brothers in Trick, founded by Jiri Trnka – father of European Animation. He continued his education with a Fulbright Scholarship in the Animation Workshop, School of Film and TV, at the University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA.
His work has been exhibited and awarded in film festivals around the world: Annecy, Anima Mundi, Sao Paulo, Clairmont-Ferrand, Guadalajara, among others. He has received prizes at Havana, Toronto, San Francisco, Mexico, Montreal, Japan, and others. José has received twice the best Short Film Script Award of the Mexican National Film Institute (IMCINE); he has been nominated to the Ariel by the Mexican Film Academy (1990), and received the prestigious award of the Catherine T and John D MacArthur Foundation / Conaculta (2000) with which he produced Catrina, Posada, and the Big Stone (2001).
His animated work is part of the collections of the Colombian National Library, Luis Arango, and of the Federal German Film Catalogue (Katalog Der Filmsammlung). His body of work has an entry in the influential book “Animation, A World History” by the Italian historian, Giannalberto Bendazzi. In 2013, the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM) published Animando al Dibujo, his observations on narrative techniques and visual storytelling.
His works of experimental animation have been showcased in museums and art galleries around the world, such as the KHM Academy of Media Arts (Cologne, Germany), Museo
Dolores Olmedo (Mexico City), Museo de Arte Latinoamericano (Buenos Aires, Argentina), the National Observatory Ixtli (Mexico City), and the Laband Gallery (Los Angeles).
Just before joining academia in the United States and his tenure at Loyola Marymount University, José was Director of Broadcasting Channels and Chief Producer at PCTV (Productora y Comercializadora de Televisión) which is the largest distribution and production company of cable television in Mexico, which included then more than 600 cable systems. José oversaw PCTV proprietary channels, including a news network, live broadcasting, programming, marketing and broadcast design, plus acquisitions, and distribution.
He moved to Los Angeles in 2003 to join academia with the intention to take steps to contribute toward the greater good. At Loyola Marymount University (LMU), José has served as chair of the Animation Department in the School of Film and Television. Under his leadership, the LMU Animation Department moved to a newly remodeled third floor which propelled an expansion the program, laid the ground for future fundraising, and fanned interest in the United States, which ultimately lifted the program into the top ranks. In 2010, he was named as one of the “Academic Leaders of the World” by the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores, Monterrey (ITESM) where he coproduced four short films on the theme of slavery and human trafficking, with the support of CAST (Coalition for the Abolition of Slavery and Human Trafficking) based in the United States. The ITESM is ranked as a top 2 university in Mexico. Moreover, both the ITESM and the also prestigious UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) have employed him as consultant to develop their Animation and Film programs.
In 2012, he was appointed by then new President of Loyola Marymount University, David Burcham, as part of his Strategic Planning Committee and also served as chair of the Strategic Committee for Internationalization. In 2021, he was appointed again as member of the Steering Strategic Planning Committee by the upcoming new president, Timothy Snyder, and also served in it as leader for the Campus Team on Innovative and Inclusive Pedagogy and Curriculum.
In 2018, he collaborated in animating for the Emmy-award winning series of children’s books, Story Online, for SAG-AFTRA Foundation (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website, Storyline Online, streams imaginatively produced videos featuring celebrated actors.
In collaboration with David Garden, José received a Meritorious Animation Award for a Theater Play (2018) from the Kennedy Center Theater Festival for the project “Emperor of the Moon,” a stop-motion animation using laser-cut miniature sets.
In 2019, José was appointed as Director of ACTI, the Academy of Thought and Imagination, at LMU, reporting directly to the Vice-President of Mission and Ministry. At the Academy, José has promoted interdisciplinarity, interreligious dialogue, and innovative academic research through funded fellowships. In 2021, he received the Collegium Visionary Award, an association of 64 universities and colleges in the United States, for his leadership at ACTI, “his embrace of sacramental imagination, his attentiveness and ability to draw connections…and his desire to foster conversations that link spirituality, science, and the arts.”
He is co-founder of the award-winning animation studio Brinca, Taller de Animación, which is currently in production of an animated feature documentary film, Home is Somewhere Else, based on Mexican migration to the United States, coproduced by the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund of the IDA (International Documentary Association) and the New York Community Fund.
In 2021, José was instrumental in obtaining from the late, renown figurative artist, John August Swanson, the rights to the art of his estate for exclusive use in a series of animated documentaries, which are to be co-produced by the Academy of Thought and Imagination (ACTI) and Loyola Marymount University.
He lives with his wife Martina and his daughter Karolina in Los Angeles, California.