Peter Gundling Tours Disney Studios With Ellen Jin

This year, seventh grader Peter Gundling won the KIDS FIRST! Best Emerging Youth Filmmaker award. He recently returned to his home after a trip to Disneyland where he had the opportunity to meet Ellen Jin, an art director at Disney. Peter Gundling shared some his experience via email:
CP: Please tell me a bit about what this award meant to you.

PG: It means a lot to me because I have won a few awards at KIDS FIRST! and this one was in a new category for me. I think it means that I am becoming more well-known.

CP: You’ve been making films for quite a while now, and you are still young. Please tell me a bit about your filmmaking journey including key points of growth you find in yourself and your work.
PG: I have been making movies for six years. I tried to make my movies complicated with a good story, but I was just using a digital camera and taking separate pictures of my clay models and toys. I started using a stop-motion program (Boinx iStop Motion) with “Super Kitten and the Power Pets” and it improved my animation. I am now using a newer program (Dragon Stop Motion) which is easier to use. My puppets have gotten more and more complex and I just finished a movie using a silicon rubber puppet that has a metal armature instead of a clay puppet. I think my stories have gotten more complex as well.

CP: How did you feel touring around Disney with Ellen Jin?
PG: I thought it was pretty cool to tour Disney Toon Studio with Ellen Jin. She was real nice, and she showed me things around the studio, work places and behind the scenes stuff. I met some of the artists that worked on the Tinkerbell movie with her. They showed me the software that they use and they had drawing tablets and a screen that doubled as a drawing tablet. She also showed me the Burbank Studios where they have the corporate offices.
CP: What did you learn that you plan to incorporate into your next film?
PG: I learned more about storyboarding and how important it is. I also really liked the drawing tablets and I hope to get one. I knew about many of these things, but it was nice seeing them in person.
CP: What does winning numerous KIDS FIRST! awards mean to you?
PG: Winning KIDS FIRST! awards means that my movies are appreciated. This is very important to me. It’s one thing to have your family members say they like them, but it means lot more when they are liked by others. KIDS FIRST! has always been very nice to me. I even got to meet Art Clokey who made Gumby because of Ranny Levy helping me.
CP: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
PG: I really don’t know what I’ll be doing in five years, I’ll be a senior in high school. Things can change, interests can change and I may be interested in something else by then. But I do love movies, and I hope I’ll be doing something with them.
CP: What advice can you offer student filmmakers?
PG: If you are interested in movies, be good at what you do and like doing it. Just make some movies.
CP: Is there anything you would like to add?
PG: I would like to thank KIDS FIRST! for all their appreciation and support for what I am doing.
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