Jeffrey Katzenberg


Interviewed by Anwar Brett

"Shrek" looks like challenging "The Lion King" as the most successful animated film in history. You produced them both, so what's the secret?

When we started DreamWorks, people said we would make movies like "The Lion King", and I thought if that's the benchmark to measure our success or failure then write us off now! I felt there was not a chance in the world that would ever happen again. And I meant it, so I still don't totally believe it now it's happening with "Shrek".

You also had a chance to see your film in competition at Cannes...

Cannes was such an amazing mixture of genuine surprise and sense of accomplishment that an animated movie would be treated as cinema. There is no word that is more anathema to me than 'cartoon'. But Cannes was the antithesis of that, to be at the most prestigious film festival in the world, not to be invited as some side-show gimmick but in competition and on Saturday night. It was surreal.

The animation industry seems to be on the verge of great changes right now. Is that daunting or exciting?

I'm excited by the changes, I think it's a time full of opportunity. Animation needs to transform itself and move into the 21st century, especially the traditional animation movie. It needs to embrace the digital tools and get out of the analogue world, and make sure the stories that are being are as unique to their style as "Shrek" is. After all animation is technique, not a genre.

Read an interview with the directors of "Shrek".