City of Ember was the surprise closing-night film at Fantastic Fest, but I found out about the surprise a little early (which is always fun). I was able to see the film earlier in the week so I could interview director Gil Kenan, who showed up in Austin with surprise guest (to me, too!) Bill Murray for the closing-night festivities. Kenan has directed a pair of entertaining and visually stunning family-friendly features, the Oscar-nominated animated film Monster House and now the City of Ember adaptation, which opens in theaters on Friday. Not only that, but Kenan landed both of these projects right after he graduated from UCLA, where his short film The Lark won him a lot of attention. We talked about what he's done to make City of Ember as beautiful a film as it is, and how he found such compelling lead actors. He's currently linked to a new Robert Zemeckis production, Airman, and we took a minute to discuss that too. Check it out after the jump.