theGrio’s 100: Peter Ramsey, 1st African-American to direct an animated film, ‘Rise of the Guardians’

Peter Ramsey

Peter Ramsey attends TheWrap's Awards Season Screening Series Presents 'Rise Of The Guardians' on November 27, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images for TheWrap)

Who is Peter Ramsey?

Peter Ramsey has been called the “Obama of Animation.” The first African-American to direct an animated feature, his first film Rise of the Guardians has earned the former storyboard artist several nominations and accolades. This success was built upon many years in Hollywood working his way up, step-by-step, in lesser roles on films such as Poetic Justice.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

Ramsey’s success at a time when it would seem that there are no significant African-American “firsts” left is a tremendous accomplishment. He attributes his success to hard work and being ready to execute a long-range plan when the timing is right.

“It’s just like any other part of the industry, or any other part of the working world,” Ramsey told theGrio in a recent interview. “It’s just part of the evolution. Why’d it take so long to have a black president? Same kind of thing, but I think it’s one of those things – there were a lot of people’s shoulders that I stood on… It was all based on work, and being ready when the right opportunity came along. It really wasn’t anything more special than me doing what you should do anyway, which is work as hard as you can, do as good a job as you can, and be prepared when luck knocks on the door.”

What’s next for Ramsey?

Ramsey hopes to continue to use animation to teach children “how to use imagination and creativity as ‘power against fear,’” he told theGrio. He also hopes to direct a live action film as a follow up to his Rise of the Guardians debut. Could a franchise of that film be in his future? While it depends on Rise of the Guardians’s ultimate success, Ramsey told us he is very open to expanding on its concepts.