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Kenn Perkins was born May 29,1942. He completed high school at Miles Macdonell Collegiate and attended the University of Manitoba’s School of Art in the early 1960s. After leaving university, Perkins worked for four years in the camera department at Eaton’s where he gained knowledge about photography equipment. Perkins also took a summer job at Phillips - Gutkin and Associates Ltd., (PGA) where he painted animation cells and learned about animation from some of the highly regarded animators working there. During this time, he also constructed his first animation stand at home.
Around 1968, Perkins began working at the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature (now called the Manitoba Museum) writing and animating a film called “A Brief History of Astronomy.” The film was nominated for best Animated Short in the Canadian Film Awards.
After leaving the Manitoba Museum, Perkins took a six-week internship at the National Film Board of Canada in Montréal. When he returned to Winnipeg, he started Kenn Perkins Animation Limited (KPA) and concentrated on creating animated TV commercials (using classical animation techniques: inked and painted-on cells and shot on film). The business grew quickly and took on large customers such as K-Tel. The commercials produced by KPA began to win awards and receive recognition across Canada.
By about 1973, KPA was awarded contracts to create animated French segments to replace the Spanish content on Sesame Street. Throughout the 1970s, KPA became responsible for the majority of Canadian content for Sesame Street. To keep up with demand, Perkins actively recruited and trained animators to work for his company. Some of these animators went on to distinguish themselves at the highest levels, for example, Cordell Baker and Chris Hinton have been nominated for Academy Awards and several others moved on to successful careers at Spielberg’s DreamWorks,Warner Bros., Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and Electronic Arts or became independent filmmakers.
KPA developed into a full service production company offering creative services and production of animation, live action, computer animation and graphic design. KPA was an early adopter of motion control robotics (computer controlled cameras), digital editing, VFX (visual Effects) and various combinations of those individual disciplines. In the 1980s, KPA became the sixth user worldwide of SoftImage (even before Disney used it). In 1994, KPA became known as Commvergence, and although it has reduced its production services it offers creative services like Graphic Design and Website design.
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Revised by M. Horodyski (February 2019)