Chief Operating Officer and Producer at Blue Yonder Films (Hoodwinked, Hoodwinked II, Escape From Planet Earth, Jeffie Was Here), has worked with Blue Yonder in various capacities since the company’s inception in 1996, most recently as Producer of the indie comedy feature Jeffie Was Here.
After graduating from San Juan High School in 1991, Tim went to Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana, on a presidential scholarship, where he captained the men’s soccer team, met his future wife Katie (Edwards) Hooten when they were paired as dance partners in the musical “Carousel” and worked on several student film projects and sketch comedy shows. While attending Anderson University, Tim also attended Sierra College in the summer of 1993. Tim graduated at Anderson University with a B.A., Magna Cum Laude, in 1995, and in 1998 Tim completed a Masters of Divinity with Honors at Anderson University School of Theology, with an emphasis in Psychology.
In 1999, the comedy feature “Chillicothe” a film that both Tim and his wife Katie worked on and acted in debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The success of the film compelled them to move to Los Angeles, where Tim engaged two different career paths simultaneously: one in higher education, the other in film. In the fall of 1999, Tim began teaching in the Department of Communications Studies at Azusa Pacific University (APU) and began as an assistant coach of the APU men’s soccer team. Additionally, he was a writer/director of industrials, worked freelance for Sony Pictures, MTV, and WGN, while also working in various capacities with Blue Yonder ranging from Art Director to Unit Production Manager to Assistant Director.
In 2001, Tim became the Director of Ministry and Service at APU, where he grew the volunteer programs from 25 volunteers to over 2,500 in just three years, developing student/community partnerships such as the Azusa Community Garden, Students for Environmental Education and Discovery (SEED) in collaboration with the San Gabriel Mountain and River Conservancy, ¡Viva Azusa!, a weekly soccer clinic for low-income children, and Cerritos Kids, a residential tutoring/mentoring partnership. “The many programs we started were simply the result of gathering people in the community and hearing their concerns” said Hooten. “Once we discovered the needs, we made a plan that included mobilizing college students and city residents towards self-sustaining initiatives. People sharing their stories was a tremendous catalyst for life-changing education and empowerment.”
His successes with grant procurement, civic engagement, and the wide variety of community development programs gave Tim the opportunity to speak at national and international conferences, and in the spring of 2006, he was honored to receive the annual Vivian Felix Inspirational Staff Award at APU. Concurrently, Blue Yonder Films’ low-budget animated hit Hoodwinked vaulted to $150 million worldwide, making history as the first CG animated feature to be independently produced with a wide theatrical release. In the fall of 2006, he left APU and began as President of Operations at Blue Yonder. “I loved teaching, working with students, and was deeply invested in the community work, and I also knew the potential of Story on a larger scale—for a larger audience. Our company is dedicated to producing original films that are commercially viable, socially relevant, and artistically inspiring. We aim to entertain as well as highlight conflicts within humanity and the noble human spirit that surmounts the seemingly insurmountable.”
Tim could not have known the challenges that would come only months from this professional transition. With a slate of animated and live-action films already in motion with The Weinstein Company, in early 2007 he became ill and was diagnosed with Chronic Mylogenous Leukemia (CML). “Looking back now, I’m baffled by what transpired. I get a diagnosis of CML, begin treatment, stabilize, then our four year-old daughter is diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Katie is seven months pregnant, our daughter is getting blood transfusions and heavy chemo, and we are running a film company.” Tim continued, “It was a challenge we resolutely embraced, and with the support of family and friends and a great medical team, here we are in 2009, my daughter and I are on our way to health, and our company is in post on a fantastic indie film we financed and produced in an especially hostile economy.”
Today, Tim is thrilled to coach his daughter’s soccer team, enjoys playing rugby with the San Fernando Valley Rugby Football Club, and continues to serve with several non-profits, including a fundraising committee for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. To be released in 2010, Jeffie Was Here is written by Todd Edwards and Peter Bedgood, directed by Todd Edwards and produced by Katie Hooten and Tim Hooten. It stars Peter Bedgood, Alexis Raben, Todd Edwards, Cristine Rose, Ken Marino, and Steve Little. Additionally, Blue Yonder has a full slate of other live-action and animated properties in various stages of development.
Favorite Professor: Joe Medeiros
Favorite Class: "California Ecology and Conservation" with Joe Medeiros
Fondest Memory: The passion of Prof. Medeiros while standing among the vernal pools during an outdoor lab and explaining why we must save the native hygroscopic plants. He taught from the mind and the gut, and was always an inspiration to me when I stood before students.