DAVY LIU—FROM THE LION KING TO THE KING OF KINGS
You may not immediately recognize his name, but if you or your children have admired Disney’s animated films including The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Mulan, Davy Liu’s talent has already elevated your kids’ imaginations, influenced their thinking and impacted their values.
More than a mere artist, Davy’s life story is truly a story worth telling.
Born and raised in Taiwan, Davy’s family immigrated to the US when he was thirteen. Speaking no English, Davy undertook the undeniably immense task of assimilating into the American way of life.
School was a challenge. Davy floundered and was often criticized by his straight-A siblings for his poor academic performance.
As it turned out though, Davy—while not a stellar student in the traditional sense—was a gifted artist and illustrator. Davy often points out that, during his youth, his real strengths were never well measured against the scale of academia’s straight-A’s, but rather as an imaginative story teller with the whimsical ability illustrate the fantastic.
One of Davy’s teachers recognized his giftedness. She encouraged him. She mentored him. And finally, she entered Davy’s work in a local art contest.
His teacher’s encouragement was like a matchstick to tinder. By 1990, Davy had mastered his artistic stride and Disney was calling. Not long thereafter, Warner Brothers and George Lucas did the same.
By the time Davy hit his 30th birthday, his work had appeared in Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and US News, not to mention on the big screen with slate of blockbuster films and credits to his name.
As an ILM and Disney animator, Davy’s contributions to some of the biggest grossing, chart busting films opened his eyes to see the culture-wide impact of animated storytelling. More than mere entertainment, animated films are capable of instilling a wide range of values in the impressionable hearts of children everywhere: Some good, and sadly, some not so good.
Yet while Davy relishing the fruits of his giftedness—his wealth and fame—an ever-growing awareness of how thoroughly consuming his success had become troubled him. Animated storytelling had a darker side. Davy struggled to find the purpose of life beyond his career. He feared he was nothing outside of Hollywood.
Inspired by scripture (Philippians 4:13), "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," Davy signed off from Hollywood for the last time and set out to tell HIS stories with animated films that inspired Godly values through their viewership.
Davy’s vision was nothing less than a departure from building the Magic Kingdom to a fresh recognition that the God of the Bible is the only true Force that matters.
Davy’s new course was decisive. He could no longer perform on behalf of the Lion King, but would instead worship and serve only at the feet of the King of Kings.
These are the underpinning values of KENDU, an animated film studio dedicated to Godly excellence in storytelling, animated content and production quality. These ideals form the overarching impetus behind KENDU's book series The Invisible Tails. And from The Invisible Tails KENDU’s first feature length animated film, The Giant Leaf will follow.
You might like to know that as a motivational speaker with a deep love for God, Davy has spoken at more than 1,500 church services, conferences and corporate events including TEDx, EO, Deutsch Bank Singapore, Amway, P&G and Prudential Life.
Davy and his wife, Joan, reside in southern California.
From The Lion King to the King of kings or Give God Your Best Years
Theme: The kingdom value of success
Appropriate arena: Sunday services, conferences, retreats, and missions
Time duration: 30-60 minutes
As an animator for more than 25 years with Disney, Lucas Films, Warner Brothers, and other major Hollywood studios, Davy's definition of success was winning an Oscar for Christ. While famed for his work in The Lion King, he realized the importance of using his talent for the King of kings. He came to understand: success in winning one soul has everlasting value in heaven worth more than a million Oscars on Earth.
A Marbled Past with a Diamond Destiny
Theme: Self-esteem and child development
Audience: Christians, the general public, mothers, young adults, teachers, and employees
Appropriate arena: gospel outreaches, conferences, retreats, schools, and corporates
Time duration: 30-60 minutes
Growing up, Davy struggled with his academic studies in Taiwan. Surrounded by the idea that "you are nobody unless you become like the perfect kid next door," he was consumed by the darkness of a low self-esteem. Davy's only comfort was a blank piece of paper given by his art teacher during his first year in the U.S. After winning many art competitions, he found his life calling: not in making straight A's but in drawing straight lines. Davy realized this simply because his teacher believed in the hidden talent that his world would never allow him to embrace. He found that the only true fulfillment in oneself is to be you and pursue the unique talent given before birth. While Davy used to believe he was a useless marble, he is now reminded through Christ: he is His diamond who can do all things through Him who gives worth and purpose in his career.
Think Like a Cow Or a Cowboy?
Theme: a creative workshop and idea/branding development
Audience: the general public, professional workers, corporate staff, and Christians
Appropriate arena: conferences, corporate workshops, and art academies
Time duration: 2-3 hours, 1 day, or 3-5 days of on-site training
One of the biggest challenges in developing an idea, story, or brand is to find originality. In most cases, the final results look like something already present in the marketplace. During Davy's days in Disney, they were required to find uniqueness in each animated film: giving Beauty and the Beast a fresh story, empowering characters like Simba, and giving Aladdin its own voice. These projects were developed with the motivation to "dare to think big, and dream the impossible". In this workshop, you will see the progress from a hopeless beginning to a radiating result.
PLEASE NOTE: Davy is fluent in English and Mandarin.
Just a small glimpse of Davy's portfolio
"We firmly believe Davy's presentation touched everyone in the room. And, in turn, we know God was present. It was an amazing day and one which none of us will forget. Davy's words were spot on and his message was clear. I have had numerous staff, members, and community residents who were in attendance comment about our event being "life changing". And, that it was. We have found a new friend, and brother in Davy and we believe in lifelong friendships. He is welcome here any time." ~ Hank Leo, YMCA of the Greater Tri Valley, NY