John Kahrs grew up in New York state but since 1976 his family has vacationed at a camp on the lake in West Addison. When his parents retired, they built a permanent place there. Which is where they watched their son take home the win for Best Animated Short film at Sunday night's Academy Awards.
Helen and Ed say they had no clue when during the 85th Academy Awards their son's category would be called -- so when it happened -- they were caught off guard.
"We stopped dead in our tracks and we watched it, and it was just great," said Helen Kahrs.
"It was a very emotional moment," said her husband, Ed Kahrs of watching their son win an Oscar. "It still is," Helen added.
"Paperman" is a six minute silent film that speaks in the universal language: love. Set in New York City, a man meets his soul mate in a chance encounter on a train platform and spends the rest of the film trying to reconnect. Helen Kahrs says she sees her son, who she describes as a hopeless romantic, shine through in his film.
"It's just a simple love story. And just took one idea and expanded on it. It's just very kind and tender and has a happy ending, so I think that says John," Helen Kahrs said.
She's been admiring John's art since he started drawing in the corners of all her notebooks as a child. As she flipped the pages, the still images came to life.
Every book, every tablet, every clean piece of paper we would find doodling on it."
"As a kid it was the thrill of seeing pictures move when you flip that flip book, and knowing that you could create anything you wanted to just by drawing it," said the Oscar winner, John Kahrs who we reached by phone.
John's dad, Ed, remembers the day while home from college on winter break that his son decided to make a career of his passion.
"He said ‘Dad, I think I want to go into computer animation.' He says ‘I think I have a knack for it,'" Ed recalled.
But, John Kahrs says he owes his success to his parents, who he accidentally forgot to thank accepting the golden statue.
"They just let me kind of run on whatever path I was going to run on," said the director. "And that pathway just improbably led to that stage last night."
John Kahrs has been an animator for Pixar and now Disney for more than a decade. "Paperman" is the first film he directed. He tells Channel 3 he is going to very carefully and selectively continue edging into the director's seat but that animation is still his passion.
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