We are delighted to welcome multi-award-winning animation director, Simone Giampaolo, to our judging panel. Here he shares his passions and the motivations that have led to his success and continue to influence his work.
What are you passionate about? What motivates and inspires you?
Since my university years, I’ve always tried to inject positive moral messages into my films, in particular about nature and protecting the environment (a topic very close to my heart).Hope?, created while studying at Bournemouth University, Bluezoo’s Christmas fable Lynx & Birds and the recent Only a Child, a visual poem giving colour and shape to the famous speech given by young Severn Cullis-Suzuki at the UN Summit in Rio in 1992. This last short film is currently on its successful festival run, and it has just qualified for the Academy Awards 2022. I truly believe animation is the most effective way to spread and share powerful messages, and I hope I’ll have more chances to craft environmental content in the future. What is your greatest professional (and/or personal) accomplishment? I’ve just finished directing the environmental Sky original series Obki, which is currently streaming in the UK on Sky Kids and NOW Tv. OBKI is an alien that has come to planet Earth to learn about how small changes can make a big difference when it comes to saving the planet! Collaborating with Sky Zero (the environmental branch of Sky) and Obki Productions to bring the stories and environmental topics to life has been a very rewarding and educational experience for me, and crafting the series alongside the awesome team at Ritzy Animation (in London) a true dream. We’re very proud to say that Obki will be shown this November during the crucial COP26 summit in Glasgow, and it will hopefully help inspire the new generation of young eco-warriors.Proof of that can be found in some of the independent short films I directed, such as
Who has been your biggest influence? One of my idols and favourite artists ever is Frédéric Back, Canadian artist and animator who won two Academy Awards with his powerful animated short films ‘Crac’ (1981) and ‘The Man who Planted Trees’ (1987). Frédéric spent his whole career making films with positive messages about the environment and social justice. He passed away in 2013. I discovered him and his meaningful work while I was studying at Bournemouth University, and this has inspired me since. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given and who gave it? The master animator and director Tony Bancroft wrote in his book titled Directing for Animation: ‘A good director serves her/his team, so that the team can serve her/his vision.’ This has been the most useful piece of advice I’ve received during my filmmaker career. As the leader of a creative team, the director must make sure the team is able to express its true potential by being empathetic and flexible, while covering all sorts of roles: sometimes you have to be your team’s toughest boss, other times their biggest supporter and ‘cheerleader’! What moved you to get involved with Creative Conscience? When I found out about Creative Conscience, I immediately felt attracted by its core theme: I mean, a non-for-profit organization who believes that creative minds can make positive change around the globe, how cool is that? I wish I discovered this organization while I was still studying, I had to get involved! I truly believe art and creative ideas could save humanity, and Creative Conscience is definitely on the right track to make that happen.