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Article by Mark Ylen – Democrat Herald appeared 7/14/17
Digital artist and animator Peter Daulton has his name on a handful of works you may have heard of.
“The Avengers,” for instance. “Forrest Gump.” “The Hunt for Red October.” Four “Star Treks,” two “Pirates of the Caribbeans” and an “Indiana Jones.” He’s currently between “Star Wars” films, having worked on nearly every one since “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Sometime next year, the Northern California visual effects specialist will have yet another credit on his resume: an independent documentary about the carousel at Albany’s Historic Carousel & Museum.
Daulton, 58, works for Industrial Light & Magic, the movie effects company founded by George Lucas. But he also loves making his own documentaries and has three to his credit so far.
He was leafing through the Sunday paper one weekend in 2013 when he happened to flip open Parade Magazine, something he said he rarely checks out. And there was the article on the all-volunteer Albany carousel project, with its menagerie of animals all being carved and painted by hand.
Documentary filmmakers are always looking for subjects, Daulton said, and he knew by that article he’d found one.
He contacted the carousel officials — Tyson Brown was operations manager then — and pitched his idea. He’d make an independent movie documenting the process of creating the carousel, then allow the carousel to sell the finished video in its gift shop.
It took a while to convince the mid-valley group of his background, abilities and plans, but eventually everyone agreed. And Daulton has been traveling to Albany with his camera a couple times a year ever since.
“I consider myself one of the volunteers,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anybody who walks in there who doesn’t want to volunteer and help and be a part of it. It’s just got such energy, such artistry, such love.”
Daulton grew up in Pennsylvania. He was captivated by filmmaker Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animated films, such as “The Voyage of Sinbad” and “Jason and the Argonauts,” and decided at age 12 he wanted to animate dinosaurs for a living.
Through his work at ILM he’s been able to do just that: the second and third “Jurassic Park” movies bear his animation credit. But as he approaches retirement, he said, he really wants to get back to making movies of his own.
“I’d been working on other people’s films for 35 years,” he said. “I wanted to get back to me and a camera, basically.”
The carousel documentary is in the rough cut stage right now and should be finished by the end of the year. Daulton said he worked it out with ILM to take the summer off — “I’m between Star Wars movies right now,” he said — and complete his shooting.
In addition to making it available in the gift shop, Daulton said he plans to pitch it to PBS for a showing sometime next year.
Daulton was in town most recently to document the installation of the animals on the carousel and talk with founder Wendy Kirbey about the history of each.
He plans to be back for the carousel’s opening day, scheduled for Aug. 15, and said he’ll likely be back plenty of times after that.
‘I’ve kind of adopted Albany as my new hometown,” he said
Hours of Operation
Carousel Operates 11am to Close
Hours Subject to Change