May 26, 1973
|Occupation||American Director and Stop-motion Animator|
PES (born Adam Pesapane; May 26, 1973) is an American director and stop-motion animator of numerous short films and commercials. In 2013, his short film Fresh Guacamole was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It is the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar.
Receiving a B.A. in English Literature at the University of Virginia, PES migrated to film as a storytelling medium. His use of everyday objects and stop-motion animation to create original material is instantly recognizable. His work has been recognized in the United States and internationally, especially the short films Roof Sex, KaBoom!, Game Over, Western Spaghetti, and Fresh Guacamole. He is currently in development on his first feature film, a movie based on the Garbage Pail Kids franchise. An early influence on PES's animation style is the work of Czech surrealist Jan Švankmajer.
PES's first animated film, Roof Sex, features two life-sized chairs having sex on a New York rooftop. Though only a minute long, the film took 20 shooting days to complete. In 2002, Roof Sex won the Best First Film award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Roof Sex was featured at over 100 film festivals worldwide and won numerous awards.
The war short KaBoom! (2004) was instrumental in defining the artist's personal style and approach to animating objects. The film features an atomic airstrike on a miniature city using children's toys and festive objects such as gift bows, Christmas ornaments, and clown-head cupcake toppers. A "Making of KaBoom!" narrated by PES is available on the director's website and gives insight into the logic behind the object use and selection.
In Game Over (2006), PES recreated classic arcade death sequences (from the games Centipede, Frogger, Asteroids, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man) with familiar objects including muffins, toy cars, insects, pizza and fried eggs. The film was inspired by an interview with Toru Iwatani, the creator of Pac-Man, who said the original source of inspiration for the Pac-Man character was a pizza with a slice missing.
In July 2008, PES released his short Western Spaghetti. The film shows PES cooking spaghetti (the hands in the film are PES's) but all the ingredients in the dish are replaced with objects such as tomato pin cushions, rubber bands, Rubik's Cubes, post-it notes, and bubblewrap, and all are brought to life through stop-motion animation. TIME Magazine named "Western Spaghetti" the #2 Internet film of 2008 in its "Top Ten of Everything 2008". The film also won an Honorable Mention at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival  and the Audience Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June 2009.
In Winter 2008/2009 PES launched his own version of the classic Yule Log (TV program), creating a miniature fireplace loop using pretzel logs and candy corn animated in stop-motion. The film is available as a free screensaver on the director's website.
PES has also directed over 50 TV commercials, including spots for Honda (2015), Kinder Surprise (2011), Washington State Lottery (2010), Scrabble (2008), Sprint (2007), Sneaux Shoes ("Human Skateboard", 2007), Orange (2006), Bacardi (2005), and Coinstar (2005). The commercial for Sneaux, "Human Skateboard", became an internet phenomenon in 2007, amassing millions of views online.
In June 2008 Director Michel Gondry was quoted in Paste Magazine as saying "Clicking on a PES film is to open a safe and suddenly see a million ideas glittering and exploding. The only reason you close the door is to re-open it just after and discover what will pop this time."
In December 2010, PES's short "The Deep" premiered in Episode 1 of Showtime Network's "Short Stories" series (PES's films were the source of inspiration for the series). "The Deep" features various metallic objects including old hand tools, nut crackers, calipers, film lenses, faucet knobs, chains, skeleton keys, a bike horn, a belt of bullets, and a piece of a flute that come to life as mysterious sea creatures. The film is an imaginary nature documentary.
In March 2012, PES released "Fresh Guacamole", a follow-up to his stop-motion short "Western Spaghetti" (2008). The film features familiar objects such as grenades, a baseball, dice, x-mas bulbs, a miniature golf ball, and poker chips that are transformed into a dish of guacamole. In January 2013, "Fresh Guacamole" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It is the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar. The film premiered as part of Showtime's "Short Stories" series online and on TV. Showtime's YouTube posting of "Fresh Guacamole" amassed 3.5 million hits in its first 4 days online. Of the initial idea, PES says "I had the core idea of a grenade as an avocado. Even though this type of grenade is referred to as a "Pineapple Grenade" I've always thought they looked more like avocados. I built the film around this idea, filling in the blanks and ingredients around it." As in "Western Spaghetti", the hands in the film are PES's.
On December 8, 2014 PES released Submarine Sandwich, the third film in his stop-motion food film trilogy, and the follow-up film to the Oscar-nominated "Fresh Guacamole". The film is set in an old Italian deli in which all the meats and cold cuts have been substituted with vintage athletic equipment such as boxing gloves (ham), footballs (roast beef), baseball gloves (turkey), hockey gloves (wieners), punching bags, old tube socks and soccer balls (various cheeses). The film depicts the construction of a large Submarine Sandwich in which all the ingredients are non edible items such as slinkys, shredded US currency, viewmaster reels, etc, which are chosen because of their resemblance in some way to the ingredients they represent.
As in Fresh Guacamole and Western Spaghetti the hands featured in the film are PES's. The role of the butcher/deli guy in the film is also played by PES, the first time the director has cameoed in one of his own films. The film was sponsored by the Nikon Corporation (and was shot on the D810 camera) and the remainder of the funding was raised through Kickstarter. PES has stated that he got the idea for the film when he saw a Hobart 410 "Streamliner" deli slicer in an exhibit of industrial design at the Museum of Modern Art and was struck by the image of slicing a boxing glove in it.
On March 12, 2012 Deadline.com reported that PES has been set to direct a feature film based on the Garbage Pail Kids trading card series originally published by Topps in 1985. The film will be based on a story by PES and writer Michael Vukadinovich. Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner is set to produce the film through Eisner's The Tornante Company.
On November 17, 2012 WIRED magazine reported that PES has a second feature film project in development entitled "Lost & Found." Based on an original idea and incorporating the director's signature style, PES is teaming up with and Katz/Smith Productions and the writer Seth Grahame-Smith on story development.
- Garbage Pail Kids (in development) (director)
- Lost & Found (in development) (director)
- Submarine Sandwich (2014)
- Black Gold (2014)
- Fresh Guacamole (2012)
- The Deep (2010)
- Western Spaghetti (2008)
- The Fireplace (aka Yule Log) (2008)
- My Pepper Heart
- Cake Countdown (2007)
- Game Over (2006)
- Making of KaBoom!
- KaBoom! (2004)
- Fireworks (2004)
- Making of Roof Sex
- Pee-Nut (2003)
- Drowning Nut
- Baby Nut
- Marriage is for...
- Prank Call
- Rogue Peanut
- Roof Sex (2001)
- Dogs of War (first film, 1998)
- Honda "Paper" (2015)
- Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - 3 Vines (2014)
- CitizenM Hotels "Swan Song" (2014)
- Het Klokhuis (Title Sequence) (2013) (NL)
- Kinder Surprise (2011) (UK)
- Washington State Lottery (2010)
- Scrabble "60th Anniversary" (2008)
- More Than "Journey"(2008)(UK)
- More Than "Motor"(2007)(UK)
- More Than "Home"(2007)(UK)
- Sprint (2007)
- Sneaux Shoes "Human Skateboard" (2007)
- PlayStation PSP "Fred" (2006) (UK)
- PlayStation PSP "Milo & Maria" (2006 (UK)
- Orange Telecom "Socks" (2006) (UK)
- Blue Cross (2005)
- Coinstar "Gift" (2005)
- Coinstar "Book" (2005)
- Bacardi Coco (2005)
- Bacardi Razz (2005)
- Bacardi Apple (2005)
- Bacardi Limon (2005)
- Coinstar "Inspired Coins" (2005)
- Los Angeles Dodgers "Bobbleheads" (2005)
- Nike "Wild Horses Redux" (2003)
- MoveOn.org "Missing" (2003)
- Glacier Glove
- The Learning Channel "Beasty Boy"
- Tic Tac "Whittlin' Wood"
- "Nominees for the 85th Academy Awards", Oscars.org, January 10, 2013
- "Animation Basks in Oscar Spotlight", The New York Times, January 30, 2013
- "Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company Behind Feature Adaptation Of ‘Garbage Pail Kids’", Deadline.com, March 12, 2012
- "The Making of Roof Sex" by PES
- Bio from Ottawa '05 International Animated Festival
- "Game Over" interview with PES, The Animation Show, 2006
- Original interview with Toru Iwatani, transcribed from Programmers at Work, Microsoft Press, June 26, 1986. 
- "PES discusses the creation of Western Spaghetti", Digital Arts Magazine, August 1, 2008.
- "The Top 10 of Everything 2008", TIME Magazine, December 2008
- "Sundance Shorts Awards Announced", January 21, 2009
- "Glittering Delight", Paste Magazine, June 2008, p.16
- "Showtime SHORT Stories - Trevor Noren / PES Interview", The Reel (UK), January 24, 2011
- "PES dices with magic", 1.4 magazine (UK), March 2012
- "Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013". The New York Times. 2013.
- "Fresh Guacamole". The New York Times. 2013.
- "Meet PES, the Stop-Motion Genius Who Turns Grenades Into Fresh Guacamole", WIRED.com, November 17, 2012
- PES at the Internet Movie Database
- Eatpes.com, Director's website. All films available here.
- on 's channelYouTube
- PES Films at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Director's Facebook page Some behind-the-scenes material here.
- LATimes feature on PES in Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2013
- Chapter on PES in Animators Unearthed, Continuum, 2010
- PES interview in Animation World Network in AWN, February 2013
- PES interview in Salon in Salon, February 2013
- Make Magazine article on Western Spaghetti, June 2010
- PES talks Directing Commercials in Directing Animation, Allworth Press, 2010
- WIRED article on PES in WIRED, November 2012
- "The Deep" interview with PES at Motionographer, January 2011
- "Fresh Guacamole" Interview with PES in 1.4 magazine (UK), March 2012
- PES set to direct Garbage Pail Kids movie at Deadline.com, March 2012