Animated 'Meatballs' sequel taps Pinoy talent
HOLLYWOOD, California -- Just like the original movie, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" is a box-office champion -- and part of its success is Filipino artist John Butiu.
"I'm a visual development artist specializing in 3D,” Butiu told ABS-CBN North America News Bureau.
“I worked on the environments from 'Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2,' working directly with the artist. Basically he would give me a sketch on a piece of a paper and I would build the buildings, create how they would be made in 3D," he said.
Born in Davao, Butiu was left in his grandparents' care when his parents immigrated to the United States. He moved to the US when he was five years old.
Asked if he still has memories of his stay in the Philippines, Bitiu said, “That was a very long time ago. [I still remember] playing hide-and-seek, making musical instruments out of just a piece of wood, nail and bottle caps."
Since childhood, the Los Angeles resident was drawn to the arts but he didn't have the money to finish art school. Although he encountered hardships, he continued pursuing his dreams to honor the memory of his mother, Aurora Castillo Butiu.
"I had to drop out, I couldn't afford it, it was way too expensive. I got into 3D animation by just learning computers on my own, picking up a book. I only had pretty much $300 to my name," he said.
"The main thing would be doing it for my mom who passed away from cancer in '91. Just to push myself because going through school and pretty much eating my roommate's leftovers. I couldn't afford to eat. I ate once a day. But the thing that kept me going was the memory of my mom, just trying my best," Butiu added.
Apart from “Cloudy 2,” the Sony Pictures animation artist has also worked in various big projects like “Harry Potter and Sorcerer's stone,” “Chronicles of Narnia,” and “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.”
Butiu is going home to the Philippines in July next year to hold a free lecture for Filipino students who want to learn 3D animation.