Former Disney animator teaches children about movie making

Students at Hawaii Baptist Academy are spending their dog days of summer in class.

“I learned how to create picture into a movie with clay pieces,” HBA second grader Kaitlyn Maruya said.

They’re not hitting the books, but molding small clay pieces into colorful animals and using their creations to make claymation films.

“They are on a plane and they pack their stuff to go to Paris,” HBA second grader Zoey Kamikawa said.

It’s all made possible by summer school teacher and former Disney animator Dan Boulos.

“Creativity is something that should never be undervalued and even as part of art education makes a big difference when it supplements what they are getting with their math and science and reading,” Boulos said.

The Makiki resident moved to Hawaii over a decade ago after working for Disney creating films including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Space Jam to name a few.

“It’s a big change, but I love Hawaii and I love the people and I love the cultures and working with kids is great,” Boulos said.

The father of two is raising his family on Oahu while also teaching at the University of Hawaii Manoa campus.

“So we do 3D animation, we do after effects, hand drawn Disney style full animation. Oddly enough, we don’t have a facility to do stop motion, so the only stop motion I have been doing is with the children,” Boulos.

The children love it.

“I just want to animate movies,” Boulos said.

One third grader credits his mom with signing him up for the class, which has been informative and fun.

“If you make a mistake, it doesn’t really matter because it all pays off at the end,” Boulos said.

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