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Press Release: Animation Short about Young Holocaust Survivor Animated by a Child to Premiere at LA Shorts Film Festival and Comic-Con

Published on: 18th July, 2011

Animator Perry Chen & Producer Zhu Shen with "Ingrid Pitt-Beyond the Forest" DVD (photo by Mark Miller)

Press Release: Animation Short about Young Holocaust Survivor Animated by a Child to Premiere at LA Shorts Film Festival and Comic-Con

July 11, 2011

(San Diego) The Holocaust has been treated by almost every medium, but rarely animation – and never by a child animator, until now. Animation short “INGRID PITT: BEYOND THE FOREST” is truly a labor of love, and a cross-generational collaboration between a world-class animation master Bill Plympton, actress Ingrid Pitt, who narrated her last film about the horror of war as she experienced as a child during the Holocaust, and a first-time 10-yr-old animator & artist Perry Chen, who is also an award-winning child film critic.

The film will premiere at the 15th LA Shorts Film Festival ( on July 23, 2011, an Academy Award-qualifying festival for shorts, and at Comic-Con on July 24, 2011 with a panel discussion “Holocaust Through the Eyes of a Child, Animated by a Child,” about the making of this film (

Watch trailer:

YouTube Preview Image

Ingrid Pitt and Clint Eastwood starring in "Where Eagles Dare"



Perry Chen has used his talents to help other children of many cultures learn the importance of the Holocaust.  The six-minute animation short is Perry’s first film as the sole animator and his second collaboration with twice Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton who created the storyboard and character design for the film.  Their first collaboration is the award-winning “Guard Dog Global Jam,” created by 75 animators around the world based on Plympton’s Oscar-nominated “Guard Dog.”  Perry created scene 41 in the film which premiered at SXSW in March 2011 and won “Best Experimental Film Award” at the ASIFA-EAST Animation Festival in May 2011.

Perry Chen making animation film "Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest" using Toon Boom software on Wacom tablet (photo by Brian Bostrom)



“Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest” depicts Pitt’s struggle and ultimate survival between the age of five through eight during the Holocaust when she and her mom were imprisoned by the Nazis in the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland in 1942, and miraculously escaped in 1945.  Pitt grew up to become a major film and television star, appearing opposite Clint Eastwood in “Where Eagles Dare” and many other films.  She passed away in the UK in November 2010. “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest” is her last film project.

Bill Plympton & Perry Chen discuss animation film feedback (photo by Zhu Shen)



Starting with Bill Plympton’s 23 traditional pencil sketches as storyboard, Perry Chen used Toon Boom Animation Software & Wacom Tablet to bring this moving story & its contemporary implications alive.  Toon Boom Animation and Wacom are sponsors of Perry’s animation film, drawn by the idea of a child animating another child’s story, across space and time.  Perry and his producer mom Zhu Shen connected with many people who helped to make the film a reality.  The film is directed by Kevin Sean Michaels, with Holocaust expert Dr. Jud Newborn as adviser and co-producer.

Perry Chen and Zhu Shen first met Bill Plympton and Kevin Sean Michaels at Comic-Con in 2009 where they saw Plympton’s award-winning animation short “The Fan and the Flower,” a crowd favorite at the San Diego International Children’s Film Festival’s screening day at Comic-Con.  Flawlessly, Perry sketched Plympton’s “Hot Dog” character right alongside Plympton’s original drawing.  Impressed, Plympton and Michaels thought Perry would be a good candidate an animator for “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest,” a film they’ve been working on.  This is the very first time that Plympton partners with a child artist for an animation film.

Bill Plympton-character design for Ingrid Pitt


Perry Chen sketch of Ingrid Pitt



“We must know our past to move on into the future,” said Perry Chen, “That’s why it is important to teach today’s children about the Holocaust so that similar tragedies will not happen in the future.  I hope people of all ages, especially kids, will get to see our film.  It’s a great honor to work with animation master Bill Plympton, I’ve learned a lot about making animation film.  For me, it is definitely more fun and exciting to make a film than to review one!”

“We want to thank Toon Boom Animation and Wacom for their generous support, and many other friends, old and new, for helping Perry and me learn animation, make this film, provide feedback, and spread the word,” said producer Zhu Shen.  “It has been wonderful to work with the entire creative team who contributed their great talent and resources.  Though Ingrid Pitt has passed away, her memory and the collective memory about the horror of war will live on through films like ours to help the younger generation understand the history.”

The film has already received rave reviews from acclaimed animation filmmakers and the Holocaust education community.  It has broad potential for 21st Century human rights/tolerance education. Additional film festivals that this film has been accepted for competition include:

The San Diego Asian Film Festival, Oct 20-28, 2011


DOCartoon – The Drawing of Reality, Sep 26-30, 2011, Italy


Additional film festivals that this film has been submitted to include: Ottawa Animation Festival, Burbank International Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, International Family Film Festival, Savannah Film Festival, San Diego Film Festival, and Mill Valley Film Festival.

About Perry Chen:

Perry Chen started reviewing movies and family-friendly entertainment with his unique, kids-friendly starfish rating system at 8 in third grade.  He writes movie reviews for the San Diego Union Tribune, Animation World Network (AWN); Amazing Kids!, and his own Perry’s Previews website, with a combined readership of over 2 million.  He became a national sensation with his network TV debut on CBS Evening News as the youngest film critic in 2009 and has since appeared on numerous national and international media, including NPR, CNN, Variety, the Guardian, spoke at a TEDx conference, and presented at Annie Awards for Animation.  He won a prestigious “San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Award” in 2010 and is the youngest honoree of Cox Communications’ annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.  He regularly interviews filmmakers and stars on the red carpet and film events.  Perry started drawing when he was three, and frequently gets inspiration from nature. He has won numerous art awards and started learning computer animation using Toon Boom Studio software in November 2010. More info:

(Animation World Network: The Holocaust Through the Eyes of a Child – Animated by a Child)

For more info and to donate and support this film, visit the official website:


Selected Advanced Endorsements for “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest:”

“I was delighted to see two of my favourite animators working together again – Perry Chen and Bill Plympton!  It’s a very important piece of work and having Perry animate to Bill’s storyboards for animation is a great way to bring home both the strength and innocence of children when faced with such horror.”

– Tomm Moore, director, Oscar-nominated animation feature “The Secret of Kells.”


“Not only is the story treatment very touching, it is even more outstanding to see what Perry has been able to produce in such a short time,” said “We are honored to be part of this excellent production that will surely receive rave reviews from the animation community. Congratulations!”

– Joan Vogelesang, President & CEO, Toon Boom Animation.


“Ina and I feel it gives special insight into the Holocaust. I plan to give as much support as I can to this innovative, artistically executed film.”

-Jack Polak, Chair Emeritus, The Anne Frank Center USA.


INGRID PITT: BEYOND THE FOREST is so wonderful and appropriate to today – to the children in this world, growing up and needing something to touch theirs’ and others’ hearts and souls, so as to know the true feeling of love and empathy for their peers,”

-Millie Perkins, the actress who played “Anne Frank” in the classic film, The Diary of Anne Frank.

Additional Endorsements:

Upcoming Screenings:

World premiere:

3:15 pm, Sat, July 23, 2011,  program 11, LA Shorts Fest

Laemmle’s Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046


San Diego premiere & screenings:

1. Comic-Con Panel Discussion “Holocaust Through the Eyes of a Child, Animated by a Child”

3:45-4:45 pm, Sunday, July 24, Room 5AB, San Diego Convention Center

Panelists: Perry Chen (Animator), Bill Plympton (Storyboard & Character Design), Zhu Shen (Producer), Kevin Sean Michaels (Director), Karina Bessoudo (Toon Boom Animation Sponsor),

Moderators: Pat Swinney Kaufman (Executive Director for the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development) and Lloyd Kaufman (President/Co-Founder of Troma Entertainment, author of Sell Your Own Damn Movie). (Program Description)


2. Sneak preview of “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest”  and documentary feature “Adventures in Plymptoons” (about Bill Plympton’s art and animation, directed by Alexia Anastasio, PG-13), sponsored by Toon Boom Animation (Karina Bessoudo, VP of Marketing & Communications)

8 pm, Sat, July 23, 2011,  Reading Cinema Gaslamp, 701 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

(Meet Perry Chen, Zhu Shen, Bill Plympton, Kevin Sean Michaels, Alexia Antastasia, Karina Bessoudo at Q&A)

Limited tickets available to the public week of July 18, 2011 online, $10.50, “An Evening with Bill Plympton”


3.  Comic-Con screening, San Diego International Children’s Film Festival

11 an & 2 pm, Sunday, July 24, 2011, Comic-Con, Room 9, San Diego Convention Center

(Meet Perry Chen, Zhu Shen, Kevin Sean Michaels, Bill Plympton following the screening)


4. San Diego International Children’s Film Festival Screening

1pm, Saturday, July 30, 2011, Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA), Balboa Park, San Diego

(Meet Perry Chen & Zhu Shen following screening)


ASIFA-Hollywood Screening (For ASIFA members only)

“Adventures in Plymptoons!” and “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest”

July 28th, 2011, 7pm, Woodbury University, Fletcher Jones Auditorium

7500 N Glenoaks Bl, Burbank, CA 91504


Special guests: Bill Plympton, Alexia Anastasio, Perry Chen, Zhu Shen


Media contact:

Zhu Shen, Producer, “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest”

858-761-7955, bioforesight at

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