| DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, 63, visited Sejong University in Seoul on Friday afternoon to meet Korea`s aspiring animators under a program hosted by the CJ Group.
Katzenberg co-founded DreamWorks in 1994 jointly with movie director Steven Spielberg and music producer David Geffen, producing box-office hits such as "Shrek," "Prince of Egypt" and "Madagascar." During his days at Walt Disney, he was responsible for hit animations including "The Little Mermaid,", "Aladdin" and "The Lion King," increasing the company`s sales revenues more than 10 times.
He was joined by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, the director of "Kung Fu Panda 2", who is an American of Korean descent. Nelson, who immigrated to the U.S. at age 4, is the first Asian American to direct an animated film at a major Hollywood studio.
Four Korean students presented their works for assessment. Lee Yeon-ji, a Sejong University student, presented "I Am a Baseball Player", which was about the first woman pitcher in the Korean professional baseball. Katzenberg lauded her work, saying she was talented enough to be hired by DreamWorks right away. Nelson advised Lee to have confidence in her work at all times, saying that she owed her current status to Katzenberg who kept encouraging her.
Yoo Nara, a ChungAng University student who introduced a comedy horror, "River of Fogs", asked how Nelson directed more than 300 staff members. Nelson stressed the importance of encouraging them to work with inspirations, saying she tried to make every staffer to consider him or her a precious member of the team.
Kim Go-un, a Hongik University student, made the audience laugh by asking, "What should I do get a job at DreamWork as a cleaning lady?" Nelson gave a witty reply. She said that she was so scared that all the presenters were very talented comparing to her younger days, adding that by the time they do well, she would be jobless. Nelson has become a director after joining DreamWorks as an assistant in 2002.
Katzenberg and Nelson visited the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae to meet with President Park Geun-hye. Saying she liked "Kung Fu Panda" very much, the president asked them to work with Korean filmmakers to use unique Korean stories for animations. During a meeting with local film journalists, Katzenberg said he had been preparing to develop an animation based on a Korean historic figure or character.
A Cheong Wa Dae official said that by meeting with Katzenberg, the president had gotten together with all of the four leaders in global creative economy except for Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple Inc. "President Park took a lot of advice from them about creative economy," the official said.