Q&A with DreamWorks animator Pierre Perifel

By AMRITA VALECHA | 28 March, 2011 - 16:53

Gobelin is organizing a master class with DreamWorks animator Pierre Perifel from March 25 to 27 as part of the Animation Lab of the 16th Hong Kong Independent Short Film & Video Awards festival. Pierre Perifel has worked on films like Kung Fu Panda, Monsters vs Aliens, Shrek Forever After, The Illusionist and is currently working on DreamWorks ‘The Rise of the Gardens’.


Tell us how you started in this industry and what inspired you?
My initial background as a young artist was in fact in automobile design, but then I learned about the existence of the Gobelins school and went to their spring open house event, saw the amazing work by the animation students, and decided that this was for me. It changed my life.

You have worked on some major feature films, what has been your most memorable work?
My latest work  includes animating the “bad guy” character of Kung Fu Panda 2 that will come out next May, an albino peacock named Shen. It is well known that the bad guys often have the most interesting, scene-stealing parts in movies. Think Jack Nicholson in Martin Scorese’s The Departed, or, Christopher Walken in Batman Returns, Heath Ledger in The Dark Nightor Gary Oldman in The Professional. The last three were specific inspirations on my work for Shen, particularly Gary Oldman who did the voice for him.

Current projects that you are working on
My next project for DreamWorks is The Rise of the Gardens based on the books of William Joyce. The story is an epic adventure of a group of heroes with extraordinary abilities.

Your most challenging scene
I would say two very different types of scenes involving Shen in Kung Fu Panda 2 : combat scenes of course with five characters, but also very emotional scenes where each frame has to express something very intense but more with more nuance.

Advice to upcoming animators
The tool or technology is not what counts, it is the layered performance of the character who must elicit emotion from the audience and move the story forward. Good animation is all about acting.