Started in animation at the Zagreb Film studio in Zagreb, Croatia.
From childhood to young adulthood, Marija and her brother produced their own newspaper; Anthony provided the words, and Marija the illustrations. By writing about daily life in their communist country, they got into trouble, and Anthony was sentenced to eight years in prison when he was only eighteen. Due to the inadequate living conditions in prison, Anthony contracted hepatitis three times, and before dying prematurely of chyrosys, he managed to escape to Canada; where Marija followed a year later.
Upon her arrival in Canada, Marija washed dishes in a restaurant, picked fruit for the canning industry, and picked worms at night for fishermen; anything she could to stay alive. She made a point of learning a word of English every day, and using it. Once she learned enough English, Marija continued with her artistic endeavors. After about two years in Canada, she got a job in an animation studio, and worked there for ten years.
Bill Hanna of Hanna-Barbera called upon her to come and join his company in Hollywood, to which she responded enthusiastically. She was by this time a divorced and single mother, with two daughters and a mother to take care of. In Hollywood she worked as an animator, designer, and writer (“Jane,” the pilot for Edgar Rice Burrows comic strip). She gave them the idea to write “Jane” in 1974, which is also known as, “The Year of Women.” She directed and produced many animation series and features for Hanna-Barbera, Marvel, and Universal Studios. Marija started her own studio, which she named “Animation Cottage,” and produced a series of specials for the ABC network. Her last job in Hollywood was directing and producing 24 half-hour television episodes of “Casper the Friendly Ghost.” She writes and directs her own films and participates in animation festivals in France and Croatia.
Since her homeland became a free and democratic country, she travels there every year to visit her house and many friends. Marija’s next project is a story about Joe Magarac, the Legend of the Allegheny Mountains. She made a five-minute film presentation of it while presenting her thesis at UCLA in 1982. “Joe Magarac” is a genuine American legend, which has its roots in Croatian immigration and the steel and mine workers of Pennsylvania. Marija’s father and brother worked in the steel industry in Hamilton, Ontario; and she feels that it is up to her to tell the story, since she is Croat-American just like “Joe Magarac”.
Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Member of the Board of Directors of ASIFA
Won the Best of Animation Award in 1974 at the International Film Festival in Switzerland for the film “Why Not?”
Won the Presidential Award in 1992 for the environmental film “Think Earth”
Lectured on animation at UCLA, LACC, and Cal Arts
On the 4th of February 1989, “TV Reviews” in Los Angeles Times wrote:
“… as director Marija Dail and the artists at the Animation Cottage studio managed to imbue P.J. (animation character) with an agreeably bouncy way of moving. Their attention to details like shading the character to suggest shadows and highlights gives the program a richness that’s rarely seen on Saturday morning television. These animators are clearly capable of interesting work…”Marija was included in the chosen group of “Creatives in Animation” in the March 1997 issue of Animation Magazine, page 18.
In 2005, Marija published Pixletown: The World Found and is presently writing Joe Magarac: The Legend of the Allegheny Mountains