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When Mark Dindal was in high school and the topic of future careers came up in conversation, he would try to avoid the subject. He would fumble for words, or make something up, not wanting to reveal the truth: he wanted to be an animator.

This was, after all, the late seventies, when pursuing a career in animation was akin to the old proverb of peddling igloos to Eskimos. "Now, its almost semi-cool for someone to say they want to be an animator," laughed Dindal.

Actually, animation has become more than semi-cool, making a comeback no one could have predicted, which Mark Dindal has been a large part of.

This month sees the release of Disneys THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE (December 15th), which Dindal directed. Telling an off-kilter comedic tale of a selfish emperor, who learns a life lesson after being transformed into a llama by the films villainess, Yzma, EMPEROR has recently been the talk of the industry.

This buzz has not only been about the fact that the film went through some serious story revisions, but also for the fact that it mixes the frenetic pacing and humor of a Warner Bros, cartoon with the heart of a classic Disney fable. Or, what Dindal likes to term "combining absurdity with emotion."