Animated Feature roundtable: ‘The Bad Guys,’ ‘Luck,’ ‘Pinocchio,’ ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,’ ‘Strange World’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

Five of the creative talents behind animated films looking to gain traction in this year’s Oscar race sat down with Gold Derby recently and discussed subjects including what inspired them to get into animation and what they’d like to see from the medium in the future. This was all part of Gold Derby’s Meet the Experts panel on Film Animation that included Pierre Perifel (“The Bad Guys”), Peggy Holmes (“Luck”), Mark Gustafson (“Pinocchio”), Joel Crawford (“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”) and Don Hall (“Strange World”).

You can watch the film animation group panel above with the people behind these five projects. Click on each person’s name above to be taken to each exclusive video interview.

For Holmes, it wasn’t a particular movie that made her fascinated with animation but an encounter she had when she used to work as a choreographer. Two music executives “asked me to come in and consult on a song sequence inside of an animated movie. Seeing the animator sketch the ideas that she was coming up with was exhilarating for her. “When I saw [her] start to draw out these rough ideas of things that I was posing or talking about…I fell in love with it. That was it for me.”

For Gustafson, it was seeing the 1963 movie, “Jason and the Argonauts.” “Seeing that skeleton fight as a kid, it just blew my mind. I’d never seen anything like it. I had seen more sophisticated effects, but I don’t think I’d ever seen anything that affected me that way.” He adds that the deep chord it struck was due to the fact that he could tell that someone had done it and he would later find out about legendary effects animator Ray Harryhausen, who animated that infamous sequence.

Crawford was at a crossroads at age nine when he knew he either wanted to be an artist or a stuntman. “I think I picked the safer route thanks to ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ I remember going to a drive-in movie theater with the family and watching that on the screen and…there was something magical about all of those characters from different worlds.” Seeing the interaction between animated and live-action characters helped him see that there were no boundaries in animation.

On the topic of what stories he’d like to see told through animation, Perifel wants to see more heavy messaging that will carry on through future generations. “In my opinion, the problem of environmental issues that we’re facing, these kind of messages are really resonating through and inspiring new generations in a slightly deeper way than just ‘Be yourself,’ sometimes.” He adds that he like to think about subjects that would inspire his kids.

Hall adds that he feels like the medium of animation is at a moment where things are shifting and that the future for it is completely incalculable. “It’s a broad medium. It can encompass hand drawn animation, it encompasses stop-motion and CG or all of the above in one movie. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in animation because the future is wide open.”

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