Press Release from Perry Chen
Ten-year-old award-winning artist and film critic Perry Chen has a very unique task. He will be using his talents to help other children learn the importance of the Holocaust.
"Beyond The Forest" is an animated short based on the experience of Holocaust survivor, Ingrid Pitt, who later became a major film and television star. Pitt and her family were imprisoned by the Nazis in the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland in 1942. She spent ages five through eight in the camp, and miraculously escaped with her mother in 1945.
The short film depicts Pitt's struggle and ultimate survival. The character design is by two-time Academy Award nominee Bill Plympton.
A celebrated animator for more than 25 years, Plympton was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988 for "Your Face" and again in 2005 for "Guard Dog." He won 21 awards, including two awards at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991 and 2001, and the prestigious Winsor McCay Award at the 2007 Annie Awards for animation.
10 year-old Perry Chen saw Plympton's animated short, "The Fan and The Flower" as a film critic at the San Diego International Children’s Film Festival in July, 2009 and became an instant admirer of Plympton’s work. Perry gave the film 5 out of 5 starfish, the first and only animation short to receive such a high rating. Later that month at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Perry came face-to-face with Bill Plympton and producer / director Kevin Sean Michaels ("Vampira: The Movie," "The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels"). Flawlessly, Chen sketched Bill's "Guard Hot Dog" character right alongside Plympton's original drawing. Impressed, Plympton and Michaels thought Chen would be a good candidate as an artist for "Beyond The Forest."
Chen will be creating thousands of pencil drawings that will make up the 5-minutes of animation for "Beyond The Forest." This is the very first time that the multiple award-winning animator Bill Plympton partners with a young child artist for his animation film.
"Who better than a child to see this story through a child's eyes," said Michaels. "When Bill and I met Perry, we were amazed by his creative talents. Perry Chen is the real thing."
"I am truly honored to work with Bill Plympton and Kevin Sean Michaels. I started drawing when I was three years old and reviewing movies when I was eight, and have always thought that I am a better artist than a movie critic. Now I can prove it," said Perry Chen. "The Holocaust is a horrible crime against humanity and I feel that I can do my part for the education of today's children and history lessons from the Holocaust. It is great for a child to be involved in creating this film that tells another child's story."
As a film critic wiser than his years, Perry became a national sensation after appearing on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric in 2009, and most recently on National Public Radio (NPR) Weekend Edition Sunday on March 28, 2010 with his exclusive interview with host Liane Hansen. He has been extensively featured on regional, national, and international media, including local affiliates of Fox, NBC, ABC, and CBS, San Diego Union Tribune, San Diego News Network, San Diego Family, The China Press, and The World Journal. He appears on local television regularly to review G/PG-rated family movies, and hosts a monthly radio talk show “Perry Previews the Movies” on wsRadio. His movie reviews have been published on nine San Diego newspapers. Perry is also the youngest blogger on Animation World Network (AWN.com), the leading animation trade publication.
Perry has been invited to present at the 37th Annie Awards for animation, co-host the San Diego IndieFest, perform at the San Diego’s Got Talent fund-raiser for Asian American Journalist Association, speak at school fundraisers, and has attended many film festivals, press junket, and award shows. Perry is also an award-winning artist. He won an award for his painting at the 14th annual San Diego International Music & Art Festival on January 24, 2010, and another award for "Outstanding Creativity" for his art show at the San Diego City Hall in October 2009. He loves to draw characters and scenes from his favorite animations.
"Beyond The Forest" is slated to premiere at film festivals in 2011.
Read Perry blog on AWN at: http://www.awn.com/blogs/perrys-previews .