-Ruby Gillman - Director (video interview) creating the first title female lead for Dreamworks Animation.

Dreamworks' latest animated feature Ruby Gilman, a teenage Kraken, hit US theaters today.

Featuring the studio's first titular female lead jewel under the radar (and under the Sea), Ruby Gilman is a teenage girl-Kraken who "stuck among very strong women, amazingly strong women," says director Kirk Demicco. Those women include Ruby's mom and grandmother, as well as her best friend Margot, and her new bestie Chelsea. "A lot of people have a lot of ideas about how she should live her life, and this journey she goes on understands how she wants to be.

The film debuted at Annecy earlier this month, with Cartoon Brew's exclusive online event partner INBTWN Animation catching up with director Kirk DeMicco and co-director Faryn Pearl.

Looking back on the early stages of development, working with Dreamworks' production design vet Pierre-Olivier "POV" Vincent, DeMicco explained that establishing the scale of a film is an extreme practice. That said, in order for the film to be relevant to the audience, it became essential that the artist creating the Ruby world made a grand set-piece inspired by the monster, just like the intimate scenes in Ruby's bedroom. Demicco says:

In production design with Pierre Olivier Vincent, when we were designing a film, worldly and epic she is so real, a heartwarming character you want to root for her, but her desire to go to school and try to ask the boys to prom. It is there to cheer her up in the relevant space, which is the girl in her room wearing her hoodie trying to pass mom.She wants you to take root for her, but is rooting for her, who is the girl in her room, who is the girl in her room, who is the girl in her room, who is the girl in her room, who is the girl in her room, who is the girl in her room, who is the girl in her room, who is the girl in her room, who is the girl in her room, who is the girl in her room, who is the girl in her room, who is the girl in her room, who is the girl in her room, Then we can go on a journey with her when she is expanding the universe, when she is exploring the world, and when she is discovering that she was made for something bigger.

According to co-director Farin Pearl, the contrast had to be not only relevant, but also reliable.

A lot of what we did was about contrast, and we were really leaning on the contrast of the two worlds. So, we had her life in an Oceanside land and we kind of needed, for narrative purposes, that it was a place where sea creatures could potentially live and they could survive, but it was still a place that felt kind of small and cramped.

There is no doubt that for both directors, animation was not the right medium to achieve those goals, but the only medium capable of doing it. For Ruby's story to work, they had to stretch their distrust in ways that would not be possible with live action. Demicco explained:

I think the superpower of animation is the ability to bend authenticity. It is different from live action. It meant setting up a world where we felt like we could let this girl walk it. And because it is stylized, how it is pushed, everything is caricature, but with the thought behind it, it is plausible

Not only creates an incredible environment, but the animation has allowed filmmakers to realize the comedic and aesthetic goals of the story. . Demicco said:

These principles of squash and stretching are very comedic, but it's organic and ideas from cephalopods and how they are. She was meant to be more curvy, more flowing, and her mom was walking her like she was stiffer and had a spine she didn't have.

For filmmakers, the animation and special effects of a film can be easily talked about now that the film is complete. But both DeMicco and Pearl were practically out of breath as they tried to speak to us through all the technical challenges they had to overcome to realize their vision. For Pearl, the result fully justified the effort spent. She told us about her favorite achievements:

Chelsea's water hair is a feat of special effects, rigging, hydrodynamics and ocean projection. We were making films that were thinking about how we could use this wisely, how we could use this for the best effect, and how we could make this look better - it was a technical challenge. But I think the piece speaks for itself on the screen.

According to Demicco, technical challenges were matched by narrative struggles in creating a story large enough for the Kraken family.

Because of the scale, it was necessary to create a challenge large enough for Kraken. Usually they are the edges of the slate wipe of the film. They showed up, boom, it's over, everything's over. So what do you do to challenge her -