The "Rise of the Guardians" Interview
with Kam Williams
The Rise of Ramsey!
Rise of the Guardians is Peter Ramsey's first feature film after directing the hit DreamWorks Animation Halloween special, "Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space." This project followed the feature film, "Monsters vs. Aliens" on which Ramsey served as Head of Story. While at DreamWorks Animation, Ramsey also served as a story artist on "Shrek the Third," and as a story board artist on "Shark Tale."
Before joining DreamWorks Animation in 2004, Ramsey's talent as a storyboard artist was on display while working on a notable number of live action feature films, including "Adaptation," "Minority Report," "A.I. Artificial Intelligence," "Cast Away", "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Fight Club," "Godzilla," "Men in Black," "Independence Day," "Batman Forever," "Far and Away," "Backdraft," and "Predator 2" amongst others.
Ramsey's directing skills were also honed early, as he served as Second Unit Director on live action feature films including "Godzilla," "Tank Girl," "Higher Learning," and "Poetic Justice." A lifelong resident of Los Angeles, California, Peter grew-up in Crenshaw, and graduated from Palisades High School before attending UCLA.
Here, he talks about his life and career, and about being the first African-American to direct a full-length, animated feature.
Kam Williams: Hi Peter, thanks for the interview. I'm honored to have this opportunity to speak with you.
Peter Ramsey: Oh, the pleasure's all mine, Kam. The pleasure's all mine.
KW: I really enjoyed Rise of the Guardians. Let me start by asking you what it meant to make history as the first African-American hired by a big studio to direct a full-length, animated feature?
PR: I thought about it a little bit when I first got the job, but then rapidly got lost in the work. It wasn't until later, when my mom and dad read that fact about me in the newspaper, and I saw how it affected them, that it came back to me. Since I talk to a lot of groups at schools, one good thing is that kids can look at me and have direct knowledge of someone who's doing something they might be dreaming of doing themselves.
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