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Ten Minutes with a Film Animator

Sean Murphy works at Blue Sky, a leading animation studio that produces feature-length films such as Ferdinand, recently nominated for an Academy Award. He attended Emerson College for film production, before moving to LA to pursue his career. He returned to the East Coast with Blue Sky, settling in Ridgefield with his wife and two young children (one has a role in Ferdinand)  three years ago.

What are some of the films you have worked on at Blue Sky? The first one was Robots, which we did just after Ice Age, which gave Blue Sky lots of notoriety. I’ve worked on every one since then, including Horton Hears a Who, Rio, Rio 2, and now Ferdinand.

Any Oscars or nominations? Blue Sky has gotten two feature-film Oscar nominations and three for shorts. We won one of the shorts, for Bunny, before my time.

What’s it like to have a film you worked on nominated for an Oscar? We were over the moon. It was really fantastic. It was really big. We had a Champagne celebration.

What are you working on now? I am working on Nimona, based on a graphic novel. It comes out in 2020. Spies in Disguise will be out in 2019, but I am not working on that. I was on Ferdinand for three and half years.

Is Chris Wedge still the driving force?
He is executive producer on all our films and a director. He directed Epic and Robots.

Where does all the work happen? It’s all done at Blue Sky in Greenwich. Voice records are done anywhere that people are. For instance for Ferdinand, the well-known wrestler John Cena was traveling all over the world. We would record him in Florida, Chicago, LA. We went where he was. We animate to that voice.

How many creative people work on a film? Creatives, there are 400 to 500 people working on a film.

You helped start the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival. I had experience with film festivals. I had worked at the LA Shorts Festival. I wanted to get involved in the Ridgefield community. RIFF founder Joanne Hudson and I worked really well together. It started with she and I talking in a bar and then it grew. Then large staff meetings. And to see the reaction was phenomenal.

What attracted you to Ridgefield? We briefly lived in Danbury and whenever friends would come visit we came to Ridgefield for restaurants and downtown. We loved the arts scene: the Aldrich, the Playhouse of course, and the library. A great vibe. When the market was right we ended up buying a house, about three years ago.

You have kids? Yes, my son is ten. He is the voice of the young Ferdinand. He’s the perfect age. My daughter is six. They are both at Scotland Elementary and play sports like crazy. They love going to events downtown and the Nutcracker at the Playhouse. We practically live at the Prospector.

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