Peter Ramsey, First African American to Direct an Animated Film, Discusses His Career

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December 31, 2012 ‐ By
AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Animation

AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Animation

We’re always surprised, in this day and age, when we see stories about “the first African American” to do something. Tomorrow is the start of 2013 and these “firsts” are still happening across geographies and industries.

One last one to cross off the list for 2012 is “first African American to direct an animated film.” Peter Ramsey directed the DreamWorks film Rise of the Guardians, the blockbuster holiday movie that, over the course of its six-week release, has grossed more than $90 million. This week, it rounds out the top ten with $4.9 million, in a field packed with movies like The HobbitThis Is 40, Django Unchained, and Les Mis.

Rise of the Guardians, is about a group of Immortal Guardians, including a tough-as-nails Easter Bunny and tattooed Santa Claus, who must protect the Earth from an evil spirit. The film has been a great success overseas, and has helped Ramsey’s profile rise in the past few weeks. The 49-year-old never finished college, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, but takes the time to speak to schoolkids, to let them know that this is something they can work towards.

“I want them to know they can do it. You can start with a piece of paper and a pencil. There’s no limit to the kinds of stories they can draw,” he says.

Below, CNN talks with Ramsey about his rise in the animated film industry. Have you seen it yet?

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