After working in puppetry in his native Mexico, Ramon Rivero got his break co-commanding a menagerie of puppets on early Peter Jackson film Meet the Feebles. Later he spent four years at Weta Digital, developing real-time performance animation for Gollum and other motion captured characters. Rivero has since supervised animation and motion capture for companies in Australia and India, while developing his own projects.
In my screen career I've done a little bit of everything: from award nominated puppetry, to motion capture on Lord of the Rings, to now, creating animated heroes! Ramon Rivero, creator of Lou's Poopoppet
Director Peter Jackson's second feature, Meet the Feebles picks up where Bad Taste left off. It is an irreverent, outlandish, part-musical satire on showbiz — and while it is populated almost entirely by puppets, it’s by no means cute. The motley creatures are all members of a variety show that’s working up to a major performance. They include Bletch the two-timing pornographer walrus, an obese hippo femme fatale, a drug-dealing rat, a heroin-addicted frog, a poo-eating tabloid journalist fly — in other words, something to offend everyone.
After his mother gets infected by a bite from a deadly Sumatran rat monkey, Lionel (Almighty Johnson Tim Balme, in an award-winning performance) has to contend with a plague of the living dead while attempting to woo the love of his life. Peter Jackson had already been tagged with the title ‘The Sultan of Splatter’ after his first two features, but this was the film that confirmed it. Armed with a decent budget, he takes a Flymo to fusty 1950s New Zealand and takes cinematic gore to a whole new extreme in the process.
Fellowship of the Ring was the film that bought Peter Jackson's talents to a mass international audience. A year after its release, the first installment of his adaptation of Tolkien's beloved tale of heroic hobbits was the seventh most successful film of all-time. Critic David Ansen (Newsweek) was one of many to praise the fan-appeasing Frodo-centric take, for its "high-flying risks: it wears its earnestness, and its heart, on its muddy, blood-streaking sleeve." At 2002's Academy Awards, Weta maestro Richard Taylor became the first Kiwi to win two Oscars on one night.