Born 7 March 1950
Arna began her career at Toronto’s Nelvana studio, occupying several roles, layout artist on Rock & Rule, story supervisor on Inspector Gadget and director on Strawberry Shortcake and the Baby Without a Name.
She then directed Nelvana ‘s The Care Bears Movie released in 1985 in Canada by Astral Films and Criterion Pictures Corporation and in the U.S. by Samuel Goldwyn Company. For that year, it received a Genie: Golden Reel Award (now called the Canadian Screen Awards: Golden Screen Award) for the Canadian film with the highest box office revenue. The Houston Chronicle‘s Stephen Hunter said of Arna that she “has a nice feel for the dynamics of action animation; several of the set-pieces zing along nicely”.
She was part of the layout unit on Care Bears: A New Generation (1986) and Care Bears: Adventure in Wonderland (1987) where she was also a story artist.
While at Nelvana she met John van Bruggen, script writer and director. They married and founded in 1986 dancing monkeys studio in Toronto. In 2005 they co-directed Coolman! part of Nelvana’s “FunPak” series broadcast on the YTV specialty channel.
She has been on story teams for several other children’s films and television series, including Clone High (MTV/Nelvana – Touchstone Television); Return to Never Land (Disney); The King’s Beard; (Collingwood O’Hare Entertainment, Britain) the sci-fi saga Skyland (Method Films, France; 9 Story Media Group, Canada) and Toot & Puddle (Mercury Filmworks Canada: National Geographic Kids, U.S.).
From 2014 to 2016 she was part of the story team for the animated feature film, The Nut Job 2, produced by Toonbox Entertainment. In 2019 she finished directing the animated featurette for Nelvana, The Most Magnificent Thing, screen play by John van Bruggen based on the popular children’s book by Ashley Spires.