More photos posted here:
(crew photos from some movies I've worked on)
Click image to view larger
Where it all started for me.
More photos posted here:
(crew photos from some movies I've worked on)
Click image to view larger
Where it all started for me.
For Your Consideration: 2009 Academy Award Nominee for Best Animated Feature -- "THE SECRET OF KELLS".
If you live near Burbank, CA "The Secret of Kells" will be playing it's qualifying theatrical run for the Oscar nomination at the AMC Burbank 8 from Dec. 4 - Dec. 10, 2009. Tickets and other information here: http://www.gkids.tv/kells/
A Day for Hand Drawn Animation - 2009
(click on the image to see it larger)
I posted about this last year , here:
with a follow-up post , here:
This annual "Day for Hand Drawn Animation" is sponsored by Tahsin and Lâle Özgür at Maltepe University in Istanbul .
All devotees of hand drawn animation are invited to mark the day , regardless of their geographical location. (the internet creates such a small world).
This year Tash and Lâle write:
November 18th, a Day for Hand-Drawn Animation
A universe of dreams and fantasy that opened up with Steamboat Willie on November 18th, 1928, or even earlier, with Little Nemo in 1911.
A universe wonderful for the spectator, and even more so for the artists and craftsmen.
The tradition is alive and well in 2009. May we all celebrate, those of us who insist on keeping it alive, and those of us who never tire of watching!
-Tash & Lâle Özgür
I thought the point that Tash made last year about the distinction of "hand drawn animation" bears repeating:
"We call it, in our quaint Oriental tongue, Çizgi Film Bayrami, which clumsily translates as "Line-Film Holiday" or something ... "Line-Film" being what we call this kind of film. English lacks a direct equivalent, and the more generic term "animation" might have even facilitated the CG takeover ("it's all animation, isn't it?")
Think of our concept of "line film" as closer to the French "dessin animé" ("animated drawing") - it's French, language of culture, so it probably has more weight in the argument. Which argument? Why, that hand drawn animation is a distinct art form, and not simply a step on the way towards something else. "
Recently the veteran animator/designer/director Gene Deitch made a similar point in a speech prepared for the Xiamen International Animation Festival (Oct. 30th-Nov. 3rd) in China. Gene's speech is titled "Quo Vadis Animation?" The entire text of his speech is on Cartoon Brew:
Here is the summary:
“The core of my speech is a pitch for the survival and eventual return to primary favor of “drawn animation.” (Don’t provoke me by mentioning the term “2D” in my presence!)"
Here is a video Gene made since his travel visa was not approved by the Chinese government , so he was not able to present the speech at the Xiamen International Animation Festival :
Directed by Bert and Jennifer Klein, copyright Picnic Productions 2009.
This new animated film looks absolutely charming. "Pups of Liberty" is a 15 min. animated film directed by Bert and Jennifer Klein. The story of the 'Boston Teabone Party' told with cats and dogs. Beautiful 2D hand drawn animation.
(and check out the full crew list : http://www.pupsofliberty.com/FullCrewCredits.html . Quite the impressive pedigree this film has !)
Scanning more old photos ---
This photo was taken around Christmas-time 1996 , Walt Disney Feature Animation Studio (Florida). Drawing Mushu for the film "Mulan". I started on the film in '95, but things didn't really start to heat up until '96 . It was a pretty intense few years there ... but many warm thoughts about that time.
My friend Jay Jackson just sent met this great photo of himself working on "The Black Cauldron" at Disney's in 1983 .
Article from the Oakville (Ontario) Beaver , June 22, 1984 , about the International Summer School of Animation at Sheridan College.
"It's four months compared to eight, and rather than a 20 or 24 hour schedule they have a a 40 hour week. They go from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and most of the students are here at night"
Photo of the primary animation and clean-up crew on Cecropia's animated game "The Act" . Orlando , FL , 2006. Most of us in this group had previously worked with one another at Disney's Orlando studio.
Once I asked Ed Smith (who animates in ink) what he does when he makes a mistake.
His response: "I'll let you know when that happens."
Jenny Lerew's posting of Steve Hickner's photo of a post-Oscar lunch reunion between Dick Williams and some of the London animation crew of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" who had relocated to L.A. prompted me to look for my copy of the L.A. Roger Rabbit crew photo. (someone in the comments section of Jenny's blog had wondered if the photo she posted was of the L.A. Roger crew; I then posted in a response that it wasn't the L.A. crew, but that I would try to find and post the L.A crew photo.)
This is the brochure that Sheridan College had put out around 1979 - '80 to promote the "International Summer School of Animation" . The program was created so that non-Ontario residents and foreign students could attend the popular Character Animation program at Sheridan College's School of Visual Arts in Oakville, Ontario. As a U.S. citizen I couldn't get into the regular Winter/Spring terms at Sheridan, so I was told that I should apply to the Summer School. The Summer program basically crammed the entire curriculum for each Year of the (then) 3-Year Sheridan program in Classical Animation into three 15-week summer terms. We attended for three consecutive summer terms and ended up with the same Diploma in Classical Animation as everyone else who went through Sheridan's regular animation program which was spread out over the normal Winter/Spring terms.
At one point someone in the summer program (I think it was Tahsin Özgür) made up a logo and motto for the Summer School which was a take off on the Blackwing pencil motto "Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed " ... for the Sheridan Summer School the motto was changed to an image of a Blackwing pencil with the words : "Half the Time, Twice the Pressure" , to reflect the intensive nature of the accelerated summer program. I used to have that logo on a T-shirt , but somewhere along the line it's gone missing or I'd post a photo of it. (Maybe one of my fellow International Summer School of Animation students will see this post and send me a photo of it if they still have one of the T-shirts or a print copy of the logo.)
Anyway, here are some images from the brochure that Sheridan College was using at the time (c. 1981) to promote The International Summer School of Animation.
(click each image to view it larger)
I'll post some more about Sheridan College in those days, but I've got to make the time to scan stuff. In many ways the intensive nature of the summer course was the best thing that could have prepared us for the real world of animation production. Everyone who was in the summer program really wanted to be there and the average age of the students in the summer school was much older than the typical 18 and 19 year olds who entered the regular program at Sheridan. We were motivated and we lived, breathed, ate, drank animation every day during those summers.
One of the things I'm doing these days is teaching animation online. I'm the Online Coordinator of 2D Animation at the Academy of Art University.
Officially announcing what has been in fact a hiatus of posting on the blogs
I'll post again at some point, but at the moment am busy on other projects , things I can't post here.
Everything remains in the Archives. Check back now and then and I might have something new to post.
Don't delete me from your bookmarks yet . I'll be back.
(TV Animation could be so beautiful . Why isn't there more stuff like this on the television networks ? (this originally aired on "The Tiffany Network" , CBS. They could commission something like this in 2007 , right ? Why not?) This is from 1966 and it beats the pants off of most of our technologically advanced Flashy Toonboomery . )
Here is a cel from my collection. It is of the Ghost of Christmas Present from the Richard William's adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" which was made in 1971 and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film . It was originally aired on television as a half-hour Special (back in the days when television networks still commissioned high-end Christmas Specials and they were actually Special) .
I had this cel for many years after purchasing it at an ASIFA cel sale in Hollywood . When Richard Williams came through the Orlando Disney Animation studio to lecture for us as part of his book tour for his master class notes "The Animator's Survival Kit", I made sure I brought the cel along to ask him to autograph it. Dick seemed genuinely surprised and delighted to see this cel and informed me that this was from a sequence animated by veteran Warner Bros. animator Abe Levitow (who worked for many years in the Chuck Jones unit at Warner's) . Dick said he would sign it "by proxy, on behalf of Abe" , and so he did.
[click the image to see it larger]
The technique used for this film is very interesting . The animator's drew directly on the celluloids with a "grease pencil" (Mars Omnichrom) in an illustrative style reminiscent of 19th century British magazine illustration such as would have illustrated many of Mr. Charles Dickens's works. Then the animator's drawings on cel were painted (on the back) as usual and photographed against background paintings.
Here is a closer view showing some of the detail of the cross-hatching on the drawings ----
[click on image to see it larger]
The entire film is on YouTube in a much reduced form (dropped frames, sometimes jerky playback, fuzzy , low-res images which don't do justice to the beauty of the original artwork).
For some strange reason this film has never received a DVD release.
The YouTube and Google Video versions are the only way you can see it right now. It was briefly available on VHS a few years ago, but is not currently available as far as I know and never on DVD.
The cel appears around the 14:10 mark on GoogleVideo, during the section of The Spirit's dialogue: (first quoting Scrooge's words back to him) "What then ... if he be like to die he had better do it , and thereby decrease the surplus population" ...
Oh, God ! to hear the insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust ."
Here is the entire film on GoogleVideo:
I just recently saw this really fun animated Christmas e-card done by my friend Jay Jackson (we used to work together at Disney and also at Dale Baer's studio) .
I really like the animation on this . So much more alive than the usual "Flash" type of e-cards. I hope he does more of them. What a great short form for traditional hand-drawn animation ! This is the sort of cool animation we used to see all the time on Sesame Street or something like that . Do they commission that type of work for Sesame Street anymore ? (is SS even making new episodes anymore ? )
Click HERE to see Jay Jackson Animated Christmas Card
More schtuff from the boxes:
Here's a letter from Chuck Jones . I had written Chuck (that is , Mr. Jones) a thank-you letter for coming to talk to our class at Sheridan College in 1983 (Chuck says "yours was the only letter I received from my visit" ) He mentions that his book is in the works, so I must have asked if he was working on a book ... needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled to receive this letter from one of my animation heroes .
[click on images to see larger]
Also from Sheridan College daze here is a photo of three
of my teachers : Zack Schwartz, Zlatko Grgic, and Kaj Pindal.
I learned a lot from all of them and only now , years later, appreciate how good I had it studying under these gentlemen and our other wonderful teachers like Dick Friesen, John Kratovil, Jim MacCauley, Wayne Gilbert, and Bill Speers. Of the three gentlemen pictured below only Kaj is still around today and still teaching at Sheridan from what I hear . Long may he wave !
Here's a picture of Kaj Pindal in his backyard Railroad (similar to Walt Disney's, Ollie Johnston's , and Ward Kimball's ... I think Ollie and Ward actually rode on Kaj's railroad, but Walt never got the opportunity ...)
After leaving Sheridan College I got a job in Ottawa, Ontario animating on "The Raccoons" television series . Here's a caricature of me from those days , by fellow animator Graham Falk .
Yes, I really did look like that in those days :
(this is me at the Atkinson Film Arts studio animating on
"The Raccoons" series in 1984)
Here's another of Graham Falk and me , by Graham Falk :
(That's Carolyn Gair in the mirror behind Nik, taking the photo.
Carolyn sat next to me in the next cubicle over.)
I left Ottawa in the early summer of '85 to take a job with Don Bluth working on "An American Tail" . The gang gave me a great going-away dinner send-off . Here's a photo from that send-off (at a Mexican restaurant in Ottawa of all places ... sending me off to Los Angeles !)
From back to foreground , starting on the right side of the table:
Norm Roen (partially obscured by Jamie) , Jamie Oliff, Glen Sylvester, Trish Stolte, Curtis Crawford, Drew Edwards.
From foreground on the left : Gloria Hsu , Graham Falk, Kathy Harker-Fiander (partially obscured by Graham) .
More of these photos from Ottawa to follow.
A gag drawing by Nik Ranieri and Dave Pruiksma made during "Pocahontas" at Disney's in 1994 :
Below are a couple of pages from the old Disney Animation employee newsletter "The Twilight Bark" . Dave Pruiksma had a column that ran in every issue of The Bark. This one is from around the time of the release of the live-action "The Flintsone's" movie . The drawings of various Disney Animation people as Flintstones-style characters are by Nik Ranieri.
(click images to see larger)
(caricatures of : Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg, Dave Pruiksma, Jim Pentecost, Tom Schumacher, Nik Ranieri.)
I'll just keep digging it up and posting it , so check back , folks...
More remnants of a past life:
(Click Image to see it larger)
This is a drawing from a film I worked on during my 2nd Year at Sheridan College : "Good Trick" , directed and animated by 3rd Year student Cam MacMillan (in those days Sheridan's Classical Animation program was only a 3 year program) . "Good Trick" was a cartoon about the misadventures of a pretentious stage magician and his rabbit assistant. I was Cam's assistant on that film , doing clean- ups of his roughs , cleaning up with felt-tip pen on paper, which was later colored with Pantone markers -- from the reverse side, bleeding through , so as not to mess up the line inked in felt tip pen-- and some Prismacolor pencil on top of the flat marker color. I also did a little bit of animation on the rabbit . "Good Trick" won some awards at film festivals and played on HBO in the U.S. as well as on cable tv in Canada. At one time I had a 16mm print of the film , but it seems to have gone missing over the years. It was a fun project to work on.
Cam later went into computer graphics in a big way . I've lost touch with him (as with so many others ) over the years , so if he happens to see this blog post I hope he drops in and says "HI" .
One of the interesting things about this film is that I think it was one of the first to combine hand-drawn animation with CG elements. I was amazed when Cam showed me the wireframe CG tracking shots he had worked out on an early Apple computer with the wire frame 3-D sets of the giant playing cards turning in perspective as the magician ran on top of them, with the camera dollying around them . Cam printed wireframe animation onto 11 x 17 paper and we pegged-up the wireframe print outs , and then traced off the CG wireframe animation on to clean sheets of animation paper. The characters were then animated on top of the traced CG images. We inked the tracings of the CG animation in felt tip pen and colored them with Pantone markers as with the rest of the film. A seamless blend.
In 1983 this was several years before Disney did essentially the same type of perspective dolly shots (the clocktower sequence in "The Great Mouse Detective") and I think Cam MacMillan should get the credit for being the first or one of the first (to my knowledge) to do this type of combination of CG and hand-drawn elements.
With the teaching I've started to rummage through my boxes and boxes of Animation Schtuff: old drawings and notes accumulated over the years, looking for material that I can use in my classes . I'm also running across a lot of old photos and mementos that are bringing back memories of good friends and good times . If I get some more spare time I'll start scanning a lot more of my photos and posting new photo galleries , but here are a few that I found today and decided to scan along with some animation drawings I was scanning for use in the class .
This first one is me and my friend Lenord Robinson at the Filmation Features Unit in 1987 . I believe this was taken on the day we all found out that the Filmation Features Unit was shutting down after completing only two films (12 had been planned). I think I look a little bit worried , but Lenord isn't letting it get him down ! Lenord is a really good animator and a very enthusiastic , inspirational guy . I learned a lot from him . The movies we worked on at Filmation Features weren't very good , but it was a great crew of really nice , talented folks , many of whom had done better things previously , and/or would go on to do better things after. [click any of the photos to see them larger]
(man, was I ever really that young or that thin ? )
I guess I shouldn't have been too worried because right after that I got a job at Disney working on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" , riding in on the beginning of the wave of the "2nd Golden Age of [hand-drawn] Animation Features" that lasted until about 2000 and came crashing down completely by about 2003 . (it was a fun ride while it lasted, eh kids ? )
So , after Roger came "Oliver & Co." and "The Little Mermaid". Here are a couple of crew photos from Mermaid . I worked mostly on the sea witch Ursula , as Kathy Zielinski's assistant . (Kathy is another fantastic animator who I learned a lot from and I'm sorry to say I didn't ever get to work with her again directly on the same character) .
In addition to Ursula , I got to work on Kathy's scenes of Chef Louis.
Most of Chef Louis was animated by Matt O'Callahan and the Clean-Up lead was Stephan Zupkas, but I got to do the scenes that Kathy Zielinkski animated , with my fellow assistant animator Kent Culotta.
For some reason Kent and I are wearing almost identical shirts in the Chef Louis crew photo . (?) The photo was taken across the street from the Flower St. studio in the kitchen at the WED commissary.
From left to right: David Nethery, Kent Culotta (with fish) , Juliet Stroud , Tom Mazzocco (behind Juliet) , Matt O'Callahan, Stephan Zupkas (in Chef's hat), Debra Armstrong , Patrick Joens . (missing from photo is Kathy Zielinski) Oh, yeah, the big guy with the knives is Chef Louis. (drawing by Matt O' Callahan)
Here's the Ursula Crew photo :
Left to right , Front row:
Pres Romanillos (callow youth) , Peter Gullerud, Mike Show, Eric Pigors
(the eels are Flotsam and Jetsam)
Second row: Francesca Allen, Terrey Legrady, Vera Lanpher, Dave Cutler, Kathy Zielinski, Ruben Aquino , Nik Ranieri . Third row: Teresa Martin, Alex Topete , Kent Culotta, David Nethery . (The lady with the tentacles is Ursula) Back row: Dave Woodman, Dan Boulos, Merry Clingen , Sheila Brown, Stan Somers , Patrick Joens.
(drawing by Dave Cutler , if I recall correctly ...) The Ursula Crew photo was taken around the corner from Disney's 1420 Flower St. building on Hazel St. a quiet little residential street (!) off of the industrial warehouse district that took up most of Flower St., Airway, and Grand Central Ave. area which housed various WED/Imagineering and Disney Feature Animation crews during the years from 1986 - 1994 .
Finally, a fond memento from The Little Mermaid wrap party. The wrap party invitation and a personal note from directors John Musker and Ron Clements. (they note that my "work on the witch looks great" , and I have the hots to animate , , but in fact instead of animating on The Rescuers Down Under I departed to spend two glorious years animating at Dale Baer's studio , before returning to work on John and Ron's wonderful Aladdin feature at Disney (I was assigned to clean-up on Aladdin and stayed in clean-up animation until the very end of my time at Disney , in Florida on Brother Bear in 2003 . oh, well.... gawrsh how time flies ... )
(by the way, John and Ron , if you're reading this [ha!] , I am currently available .... "have Cintiq , can draw" ... )
Oct. 31 is legendary animator Ollie Johnston's birthday .
Happy Birthday Ollie ! and my deepest affection and admiration for all that you've given to the animation world through your work as an animator and also as an author/teacher with that wonderful, magical book you gave us : "Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life" (co-authored with longtime colleague Frank Thomas) .
Earlier this year I read that Ollie had packed up the house in La Canada and moved north to be with his children. I don't imagine that Ollie spends too much time reading blogs (or maybe he does ?) and probably not this one, but if anyone is in touch with Ollie and could let the rest of us know how he's doing and communicate to him our continued good wishes and affection , I'd appreciate hearing about it.
I'd encourage anyone who hasn't seen the documentary about Ollie and his friend Frank Thomas to get it and watch it today : Frank and Ollie
(even if you have seen it before now's as good a time as any to watch it again !)
Here's a little snippet of it that should be incentive for you to go watch the whole thing . I've always enjoyed this very sweet memory of Fred Moore from his former assistant , Ollie Johnston :
[sometimes the movies can take a bit of time to load up so be patient]
So, I always wonder if Ollie has used that little bit of magic graphite left in Fred Moore's pencil yet ?
Here's a photo of Ollie working on Johnny Appleseed in the '40's :
A couple of Ollie's animation drawings from "The One Hundred and One Dalmatians" (click image to see it larger)
Short clip from Fleischer cartoon "Stoopnocracy" (1933) featuring a funny inside-joke where the lunatic asylum ambulance is called to "1600 Broadway" to pick up a crazy person. (1600 Broadway was the address of the Fleischer Studios in New York City). Hopefully this will come out someday on a Fleischer DVD in better quality, but for now this is the best I can find . It's amazing when you see some of these cartoons taken from an original 35mm print how beautiful they look , but these 3rd or 4th generation prints (not helped by the low-res. Flash player on YouTube) make them look technologically archaic , charming in some ways I suppose, but not a good representation of how good these cartoons looked in the original versions. ( at least the gag still plays )
Once upon a time, there was a wonderful magic box called the Bolex camera. And there was a wonderful magazine about what one could do with the magic box called "The Bolex Reporter" . In one of those issues of the Bolex Reporter in 1963 there was an article on "Animation Unlimited" by animator John Korty. Korty would go on to produce and direct a unique animated feature called "Twice Upon A Time" (exec. produced by a certain Mr. George Lucas) , "one of the most amazing animated features that you've never heard of." Ward Jenkins has just posted the first part of a long article about Twice Upon A Time on his blog.
Here's the article by John Korty :
(click on the images to see them larger)
Found this film , "Weatherbeaten Melody" (directed by Hans Fischerhoesen) via Hans Bacher's blog Animation Treasures (which has since moved to Animation Treasures Version 2 because he ran out of space for posting more images on the first one).
I'm amazed by the level of technical sophistication in the use of multi-plane camera and pseudo 3D effects in this film. Remember , this was in 1942 before computer driven motion control cameras , so all these multi-plane shots are being done with a camera rig controlled by turning gears and sliding peg bars one frame at a time , with multiple layers of cels on glass platens. I have no idea what Hans Fischerhoesen's multiplane camera set-up looked like , but based on these shots Fischerhoesen's studio was doing camera work that was somewhat advanced beyond what the Disney Studio was doing with their Multi-plane camera and what the Fleischer's were doing with their Stereo-Optical process (cels photographed in front of table-top sets for a 3D effect). This clip shows a couple of technically stunning, beautiful scenes from Weatherbeaten Melody. The first is from the opening shot of the movie, then the second excerpt is from when the little bee finds the discarded phonograph in the meadow.
(see link at bottom to full version of the film)
And yes, this film was produced in Nazi controlled Germany, but actually has a subtle anti-Nazi theme. For more on that see the excellent article by William Moritz published on AWN.com based on his longer article "Resistance And Subversion in Animated Films of The Nazi Era: the Case of Hans Fischerkoesen"
Fischerkoesen's films are on YouTube and GoogleVideo. Here's a handy link to a blog with embedded versions of Fischerkoesen's films:
Just for extra fun, here's a link to a clip of Max Fleischer's Stereo-Optical process in action. I love these shots !
This Thimble Theater "film strip" was in a pile of old stuff that was put out on the curb by the family of one of our elderly neighbors . They were cleaning out her home and throwing out loads of interesting old stuff (we found some other treasures there too, not animation or cartooning related) . These look like the original E.C. Segar versions of the characters so I believe this was made some time prior to Segar's death in 1938 . (The Fleischer's animated version of the characters were somewhat different from Segar's comic strip version and the subsequent comic strip version done by Segar's former assistant Bud Sagendorf.)
(click HERE to see the image larger)
Hans's blog NOW updated at this address:
View it, save it to your bookmarks, return often. Hans is posting updates daily . He is taking DVD frame grabs of classic animation background paintings , with an emphasis on pan BGs , stitching them together in Photoshop and giving a close facsimile of what the original BG would have looked like . Much of this art (like the Fantasia and Bambi BGs ) is no longer in existence , so this is the closest we'll get to seeing the originals. If you've ever tried this technique of stitching together frames in Photoshop you'll know how time-consuming this is and how these are obviously a labor of love by Hans Bacher. Truly animation treasures. Not just Disney either ... theres' some MGM and Warner Bros. BGs in the mix and a few from the Hubley's "Moonbird" .
(click on the image to see it larger) .
I've been adding to the photo album (see link over in the sidebar) "Animators At Work" . I collect photos I see on various websites of animators , past and present, drawing at their animation desks. Some of these are obviously studio publicity poses , some are more candid shots.
Fred Moore and Ollie Johnston
Chuck Jones, Ken Harris, Ben Washam
(I'm going to add a new album of photos of the Disney Orlando studio ,from the Mulan-to-Brother Bear years, as soon as I can get them all scanned and uploaded. )
2D or Not 2D Forum - A place to discuss all issues relating to traditional 2D animation in a digital world.
Ok, ok ... it's not exactly "new" , having been in existence for about 9 months , but it's had on-again, off-again pattern of posting , sometimes going dormant for weeks at a time , so I'm trying to remind folks that it's there.
If you haven't signed up for the 2D or Not 2D Forum then please come on over and have a look. Sign in and join the conversation. Sure, there are lots of animation discussion forums out there , but only one that I know of which is devoted totally to "2D" (aka "hand-drawn", "traditional") animation . The forum is sponsored by Tony White's Animaticus Foundation , "a non-profit organization dedicated to the preserving , teaching, and development of the artform of 2D animation in a digital world."
And hey, just to remind you of how great moving drawings can look, here's a nifty model sheet put together as reference for the animators working on the the Peter Pan sequel back when it was a production centered at Walt Disney Animation Toronto , Canada . The drawings are Milt Kahl's from the original "Peter Pan" made at Disney's in 1953.
(click on image to see it larger)
Do yourself a favor and check out these great posts from Will Finn and Tom Sito :
Will Finn shares a letter he received from Ward Kimball in 1973 . Ward's letter is like an education in Animation boiled down to one page . Should be required reading for animation students or anyone who loves animation .
Tom Sito writes about "where have all the old animators gone ? " It's all about passing the torch , ladies and gents . Read it .
Along with his thoughts Tom posts this photo of some of the surviving crew members of "Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs" from 1987.
In 1987 I had been living and working in animation in L.A. for about 2 years. Between the years 1985 to 1988 I was privileged to meet several of these legends: Grim Natwick, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston. (I never did get to meet T.Hee , Shamus Culhane , or Cal Howard) There were other giants walking amongst us in those days and I'm glad I got to meet them , too. That time still seems "just like yesterday" to me , but I realize it's quickly receding into The Past™ .
(Interesting that probably the healthiest looking guy in that photo is Grim Natwick who was pushing 100 at that point , surrounded by "youngsters" in their 70's . "
So read what Sito has to say .
This is too good not to share. A new Japanese "Ratatouille" trailer (found this originally via Alan Cook's blog).
Who knows if it will be allowed to stay up on YouTube , so check it out now . I'm really anticipating the release of this new Pixar film directed by Brad Bird. This film looks absolutely gorgeous and I'm sure the story and character relationships will be what we've come to expect from Pixar. Looks like they're going to hit another home-run with "Ratatouille" . Counting down the days until release on June 29 ...
Interesting that there appears to be a little bit of "2D" animation of the chef, Auguste Gusteau,in the book , when he's talking to Rémy. Whether or not this was done with "traditional hand-drawn" animation or some sort of toonshading in a CG program remains to be seen. The little bit I could see in the trailer looked nice. It would be sort of cool if it turns out that those scenes in the book were done as traditional, hand-drawn animation (even if it was "traditionally hand-drawn" on a Cintiq !) . Goodness knows Pixar has many excellent traditional animation artists in their ranks who could do those scenes . Now that I really think about it , it's most likely done with "toon-shaded" CG , because that would be easier to integrate with the other CG elements in the scene.
I read on the "2D-Or-Not-2D forum where "Idragosani" pointed out that the stylization of the chef in the book looks like an homage to Maurice Sendak's "In the Night Kitchen" . I can see that resemblance.
Click on THIS LINK to see a high-resolution version of this image from "Ratatouille" ---
A few years ago when the then-reigning Powers That Be of the Disney Corporation decided in their wisdom that "2D" animation was dead they closed down the traditional animation dept. at the main Burbank studio (retraining some of the staff to do CG animation) , and completely closed-down the Paris, France and Orlando,FL branches of Disney Animation. It's a tale of of woe you've all heard and I won't go into much more about it here. And of course, in the best sort of Hollywood-ending irony we find that a mere 3 years later the former management at Disney has been swept away and now we have the head of Pixar Animation Studios, the most successful CG animator/director ever , John Lasseter, being the catalyst for bringing back hand-drawn animation at Disney Animation Studios which he now runs along with Pixar's Ed Catmull.
In the aftermath of the forced shuttering of the Orlando,FL studio in 2004 a group of us silly dreamers tried to start up an animation studio of our own. It was decided that we ought to make a short film as a demo reel of what we could do on our own , outside of the cocoon of the mighty Disney studio, from start to finish , so possible investors or clients could see what we were capable of . Storyboard artist/director Eddie Pittman has posted his account of the history of Legacy and how it had holes knocked in the bottom of it's little boat before it even got a chance to sail and also posted the story-reel of what was to be our little demonstration short, a story about an unlucky 4-leaf clover , called "Lucky" . "Lucky" wasn't conceived as some ground-breaking, push-the-envelope, best-short-film-ever animation project, but I think it would have been a cute film once it was fleshed out in full-animation.
Take a look to see a little bit of what might have been...
Legacy Animation's story reel of "Lucky"
click links to see movie clips:
This looks absolutely gorgeous . I can't wait to see the whole thing. It's by Alexander Petrov , a Russian animator living in Montreal, Quebec, co-produced by Studio Ghibli in Japan. I'm amazed by the audacity and skill of his animation/painting technique. His "Old Man and the Sea" is a wonderful film , too. Pascal Blaise Animation in Montreal hosts clips from Petrov's films and commercial work . Check it out . Look under the section "Directors" on the Pascal Blaise site. Here is one of the clips (a montage) :
I'm just a funny animal cartoonist , but I love these painterly , artistic animated films, such as Petrov's "My Love", and the works of the great Frederic Back ("Crac", "The Man Who Planted Trees", etc.)
Does everyone know that there is now a website devoted to the works of Frederic Back ? Again, I urge you to check it out . Wonderful work by one of the best animators of our time.
While I'm spreading animated joy , here's another link to what looks to be another stunningly beautiful animated film, this time a stop-motion puppet film, "Madame Tutli-Putli", from the National Film Board of Canada. The trailer is intriguing and the making-of videos about the animator's who made it are fascinating. The film is 17 minutes , which took them 4 years to finish.
[article below found via Tom Sito's blog]
Always take it with some skepticism when someone tells you "film is dead". (see the last paragraph of the article pasted below) 35mm three-strip Technicolor and 16mm and 8mm Kodachrome movies from the 30's, 40's , 50's and 60's are still viewable and in vivid color,
while much video footage from the 50's - through- the early 80's is either completely unviewable or fading fast . Countless TV specials, comedies and dramatic shows broadcast in the 50's and 60's are now considered "lost" because even when the original tapes exist there are no video machines that can play them back. Digital image files and videos saved on floppies or Zip or Jaz drives from the 90's can no longer be easily accessed on today's computers (so what about 10 years from now ? 25 years from now? 100 years from now ? ) .
Tom Sito wrote :
"Remember when the big concern was to save films shot on cheaper 35mm Eastmancolor film stock which needed to be rescued while classic 3-strip Technicolor prints like 1939's "Gone With the Wind" suffered minimal deterioration ? "
Now it's that problem x 10 or worse . Digital storage is an improvement over magnetic tape (VHS , 8mm, Beta), but how much better in the long-term ?
Digital proves problematic ;
Industry lacks method to store footage
By DAVID S. COHEN -- "Variety"
As far as movies are concerned, digital, like diamonds, was supposed to
No more dyes to fade, no more film stocks to decay or catch fire. Just
pristine digital data, preserved for all time, and release prints as
clear and sharp as the images caught by the camera.
Just one problem: For long-term storage, digital is -- so far --
proving to be a time bomb, more permanent than sand painting but not much else.
Simply put, there's no generally accepted way to store digital
"footage" for more than a few months. After that the industry is using a hodgepodge of improvised solutions, some rather costly, others not very reliable.
That looked like a small problem when digital filmmaking was limited to low-budget indies, animation houses and tech pioneers like James Cameron and George Lucas.
Now, though, that small problem is growing geometrically as the major
studios shift away from film to digital capture. Such recent releases
as "300," "Apocalypto," "Zodiac" and "Superman Returns" were shot on
digital. Their digital masters could be seriously degraded if the problem isn't addressed quickly.
In fact, the problem is so severe that the Academy of Motion Picture
Arts & Sciences' Science and Technology Council warned in 2005 that within just a few years films shot with digital cameras could be lost.
Two years on, digital is going mainstream, but "The problem is still
there," says Phil Feiner, chairman of the Acad Sci-Tech Council's archiving committee. And those few years the council warned of are nearly up.
It's not that there's no way to store digital data. On the contrary,
there are dozens of ways to store it, most of which go obsolete in just a few years. Remember 5" floppies and Zip disks?
And the disks that have stuck around? Not so reliable.
Data tapes are balky and can fall apart. Data DVDs and CDs have a history of "rotting" and can't be counted on to last as long as their commercially pressed cousins.
Plus there's no reason to expect that the computers of 20 years from
now -- never mind 100 -- will be able to plug in to today's hard disks.Some private companies are jumping in as awareness of the problem grows, and Feiner's committee will be launching several initiatives over the months to come.
But the amount of digital footage that needs to be archived is growing
faster than ever.
More than one tech expert, including the Academy's Sci-Tech Council
director Andy Maltz, told Variety they had found archival tapes unreadable just18 months after they were made.
Feiner, the former longtime prexy of Pacific Title, says when he worked
on studio feature films he found missing frames or corrupted data on 40% of the data tapes that came in from digital intermediate houses.
The tapes were only nine months old.
"On certain pictures we had to go into the DI negative and re-scan the
data," he says. "You couldn't retrieve it. Gone."
Milt Shefter, who is a team leader on Feiner's digital archiving
committee, warns that "Long term, it's possible that we're looking going back to the early days of motion pictures, where films are made, put out for a week or two, then thrown away."
With acetate or polyester film, the typical approach to archiving has
been summed up as "store and ignore."
Color film can be turned into black-and-white color separations on
polyester stock. Properly stored in cool vaults at low humidity, such film can last centuries. But there's no way to "store and ignore" digital.
Instead, digital data has to be copied, or "migrated," to new storage
every few years. Migration, however, takes computers, an IT staff, software and a lot of labor. In short: money.
While indies may lack the funds to do regular migration, studios are
Sony's VP of asset management and film restoration, Grover Crisp, says
the studio has put in a program of migrating every two to three years.
"The motion pictures and original material, those are primary assets of
the company," says Crisp. "We all want to do whatever we can to protect those assets."
Disney's VP of production technology Howard Lukk, says as the studios'
digital archives grow, migration becomes a bigger job.
"It's like painting the Golden Gate Bridge and it getting a foot longer
Not only are more films shot digitally now, but digital filmmaking
encourages directors to shoot more footage.
"The technological issues here are not going to be solved by the
entertainment industry," says Shefter. "It's going to take big
business, big science and maybe big government."
In the meantime, the Academy is stepping in to make the motion picture industry's voice heard in any big business initiative to solve the problem.
The digital archive project is the broadest initiative launched since
the Academy decided in 2003 to fund the current incarnation of the Science & Council.
Maltz expects a report that will pin down what the industry needs to do
to be released in a few months.
Meanwhile, private industry is attacking the problem of digital archiving, too, with at least one announcement in the field planned for NAB.
At NAB, Elektrofilm Digital Studios and Sun Microsystems announced a
service to manage and archive the vast amounts of video from feature film production.
Many tech experts expect the studios to eventually outsource all their
archiving and migration to companies like Elektrofilm rather than try
to do it themselves. Feiner says what is happening is, in effect, the birth of a new business: digital archiving.
He speaks from experience. Earlier this year, three companies received
Science & Technology Awards for their work on archiving. Feiner and his
Pacific Title team were among the winners.
Their solution takes the data from a digital intermediate and turns it
into three-color separation negatives. In other words, they take the digital movie and turn it into good old-fashioned film.
Read the full article at:
This same problem has been documented in the area of "home movies".
Video shot in the 70's and 80's, even some in the 90's is now unwatchable unless protection copies have been made and migrated over to 8mm digital tape or DVD. (which will have to be migrated again in a few years as the formats change). Some of the magnetic tape from the 70's and 80's is unsalvagable. The video camera companies sold you on "preserving your precious memories for years to come" , which most parents figured would mean they could watch movies of baby's first step or the kids playing with grandma years later when they themselves had become grandparents. In many cases that isn't proving to be true.
Ironic that in a few years time we may be able to retrieve and watch people's home movies from the 30's - through- the - late 70's shot on 16mm and 8mm B&W or Kodachrome film , but our own home movies from the 70's through the 90's (and beyond ?) will be unviewable . Precious memories , indeed.
This made me start Googling around to see what was the current status with Super 8mm film:
I was encouraged to see Eastman Kodak's updated page devoted to their Super-8mm film products with links to many articles about people who continue to choose to shot on film for aesthetic reasons. There's even a relatively new magazine devoted to film-making in the Super-8mm format, Super-8 Today magazine. Puts me in mind to haul out the good ol' Nizo or Canon Super 8's , or my Bolex 16mm . (I used these more frequently until the last 7 or 8 years , but I've kept them , not bearing to part with these beautiful cameras).
Great film. Available now for download from Cartoon Brew Films.
"It's The CAT!" : 15 years in the making, hand-drawn by Mark Kausler, hand-inked & painted on cels (what are those?) by two of the last working inkers in Hollywood (Rose Eng and "Igor") . Actually released to film festivals in 2005, I've heard about this film since then and wanted to see it , but this is the first time it's been widely available. Worth the wait ! What a great cartoon ! "It's The CAT!" combines two of my favorite things: 20's jazz music and brilliant, breathtakingly cartoony animation , the kind "they don't make anymore" … except Mark Kausler did it !
More info. on the Cartoon Brew Films site.
Support independent animators . Get it. 'Nuff said.
Adam Koford located the original, provocative Al Hirschfeld piece critiquing Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (particularly critiquing the relatively bland, "realistic" designs of The Prince and Snow White compared to the vigor and charm of the dwarf animation). I have read bits of it quoted over the years , but never been able to find the entire article . Thank you , Adam .
Hirschfeld makes some great observations about the use of caricature as being superior to slavish attempts at animating "realism".
(I actually disagree with Hirschfeld's lumping the Queen in with the Prince and Snow White. I think Art Babbitt's animation of the Queen is a fairly successful use
of live action reference , translated into an understated, subtle
animated performance. If I recall correctly, Babbitt himself claimed
that he didn't use the live action for more than reference , looked at
it a few times to get his impressions, then animated the scenes.) I know that Mr. Hirschfeld was especially pleased that his design sensibilities (channeled via the brilliant Eric Goldberg) were such a huge influence on the drawing of The Genie and other characters in Disney's "Aladdin" and certainly in the directly Hirschfeld-inspired designs of Eric's "Rhapsody In Blue" sequence from Fantasia 2000 .
It is interesting to read how the use of rotoscoping and trying to do "realistic" characters was very much on the mind of the animators at the Disney Studio in the late 1930's , as evidenced by the transcripts from Don Graham's action analysis classes that Hans Perk has been so generously posting on his blog .
In reading these transcripts it seems to me that the animators were very aware that the caricatured animation of the dwarves and animals was much superior to the results produced by the rotoscope "crutch" . But already they were feeling the pressure from the front office accountants to use more rotoscoping because it was "cheaper and the public doesn't really notice the difference" (as if the ignorance and bad taste of the general public, and accountants , should be informing creative/artistic decisions ?!! note: apologies to all the nice accountants who may be reading this) . Definitely read the transcripts on Hans' blog . They are an eye-opener. "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."
Reading the Hirschfeld piece critiquing Disney's Snow White design
makes me wonder what Mr. Hirschfeld would have to say about this :
(© Dreamworks Animation )
Gosh, all this romance in the air , I'm so scent-imental . Another Valentine's Day-themed clip to inspire and inflame the passions ... for great hand drawn animation.
A superb piece of animation by Ben Washam from the Chuck Jones directed "For Scent-imental Reasons"
(I'm told that the part where Pepe catches the frantic girl cat in his arms and delivers the line : "I missed... fortunately for you!" is animated by Ken Harris . I'm not as good at spotting the individual animator's work as I'd like to be , so if I've misidentified this someone should correct me in the comments)
And for added fun , a ditty from Mr. Porter which seems appropriate for the day :
(I wish there was a better copy of this available .This one is too compressed, 10 fps, skipping frames from the original , but better than nothing.)
A great , great movie directed by Billy Wilder : The Apartment starrring Jack Lemmon, Shirley Maclaine , and Fred MacMurray . So many wonderful, quotable lines. I'm thinking of this movie because I recently had the small pleasure of posting the line "That's the way it crumbles, cookie-wise" on someone's blog and they immediately got the reference . I don't know why that makes me so happy . I think it's because I'm glad that great films like this are not totally forgotten, even though they are filmed in B & W and don't have any CGI efx .
And my favorite line, the one that resonates :
C.C. Baxter: I love you , Miss Kubelik. You hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you.
Fran Kubelik: Shut up and deal...
(If you haven't seen it , go rent it now . If you have seen it , go rent it and see it again)
Can you believe that there was a time when network television aired classy holiday interstitials like this ? Designer/director R.O. Blechman's studio made this "Season's Greetings" short film which ran during the 1966 Christmas season on CBS . (animation is by
Ed Smith Willis Pyle; music arranged by Arnie Black) To me nothing sounds like *Christmas* more so than God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman played on a violin (or a saw, as the case may be); it has a lovely, haunting sound that feels like a cold snowy day in the bleak mid winter, but with the spirit of comfort and joy issuing forth from the underlying lyrics :
"God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy"
Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night !
If you don't know the work of Rune Bennicke , you should . (click that link , right now !)
If you do know of Rune's work you'll be as excited as I am to hear that he has updated his website portfolio with more examples of his amazing character designs.
Here's one example from the Orlando, FL Disney studio , the film "My Peoples" which was cancelled by the then Disney management and the entire Disney FL studio shut down soon thereafter.
Imagine what could have been ; can't you just picture this character animated ?
I'm embarrassed to find that I did not already have a link to Rune's site in my sidebar. For some reason I thought I did...anyway, the link is there now .
Thanks to Michael Sporn for pointing this out .
So eloquent and well observed, but no words are needed. (click on the image to see it full size,and be sure to see all of the covers here. )
Each image depicts a Thanksgiving scene, two of them are set in 1942 and two in 2006. The stories in these images become intertwined in a comic strip that appears on the magazine’s Web site."
So now I'm off to the newstand to pick up the New Yorker !
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all !
This looks interesting.
They have a forum set up , but not yet very active, so needs some people to sign up over there and get conversation started.
2-D or Not 2-D Forum: a place to discuss all issues relating to traditional 2-D Animation in a digital world.
Here is their Vision Statement:
The Animaticus Foundation is a non-profit organization, founded in 2006 by award-winning animator and author, Tony White. The Foundation is dedicated to the 'advancement', 'education' and 'evolution' of the traditional, hand-drawn animated artform in the current digital age. Coinciding with the publication of Tony's new book, "ANIMATION from PENCILS to PIXELS ~ Classical Techniques for Digital Animators", and the release of his new animated film homage to the great classical moments in animation history, "ENDANGERED SPECIES", it is hoped that The Animaticus Foundation will reflect a perceived, growing need for traditional 2D animation that increasingly speaks to a modern digital world.
The Animaticus Foundation is dedicated to the following objectives…
The Animaticus Foundation believes...
This tribute to Frederic Back contains 9 animated short films, fully digitally remastered for the first time, featuring Academy Award Winners The Man Who Planted Trees and Crac!, and the Academy Award Nominated film The Mighty River.
SPECIAL FEATURES on the DVD: Interviews with Frederic Back, Interview with Jean Giono (author of the book The Man Who Planted Trees, interview with Hubert Tison (executive producer of the film The Man Who Planted Trees, Frederic Back biography, interactive menus, photo galleries, lists of Festivals and Awards, and more!
[photograph by John Canemaker. click to see larger]
"She knows perfectly well why she does something. She's an artist, that woman."
- Dick Williams
"I'm a loner. I always was. It's a disciplined life in a way. But I think anyone who does any kind of creative work has to have discipline", says Tissa David, in the small apartment on New York's upper East Side where she lives and works.
So opens the chapter in John Canemaker's book "The Animated Raggedy Ann & Andy: An Intimate Look at the Art of Animation; It's History, Techniques, and Artists" titled "Tissa David -- The Lonelieness of the Long-Distance Animator" .
Animator/director Michael Sporn, who has worked closely with master animator Tissa David , posted a series of animation roughs by Tissa on his blog today and it made me remember how much Tissa's drawings have inspired me over the years. Here is the link to the drawings on Michael's blog :
Drawings from Tissa David walk cycle from the Hubley's film "Upkeep".
Here is a Quicktime movie of that walk cycle:
As I mentioned in my comment on Michael Sporn's blog , one of the reasons I enjoy Michael's blog so much is because of the sense of history there (especially in his featuring of East Coast animation artists and studios). Michael Sporn learned much of his craft from Tissa David, who learned from Grim Natwick, who stretches back almost to the very beginning of character animation as we know it.
(You'd have to go back to Winsor McCay to get back much before Natwick) .
There is a concise biography of Tissa David on Michael Sporn's studio site, listing some of the major work she has done as an animator. Tissa's most recent animation was in 2005 for Michael Sporn's film "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers" ,which I have mentioned a couple of times previously.
I have been inspired by Tissa David's animation and drawings since my teenage years when I was blessed to have found a copy of Canemaker's book on the making of "Raggedy Ann & Andy" . Whatever the merits of the finished product, "Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure" was an important film in that it showcased the talents of certain veteran animators (featured among them : Tissa David , Art Babbitt, Emery Hawkins) as well as gave a break into animated feature films to many up and coming animation artists of the then younger generation , such as Eric Goldberg, Dan Haskett, Tom Sito, Chrystal Russell-Klabunde, Gian Celestri, Michael Sporn , and many others. . (actually Sporn had been working professionally in animation , mainly for John and Faith Hubley, since the early 70's , but for many of these younger artists Raggedy Ann was their first or one of their first professional animation jobs, and a golden opportunity to work alongside of and learn from veteran animation artists. Tom Sito posted some of his memories about the Raggedy Ann crew on his blog , here .)
Here are a few of Tissa David's beautiful animation roughs from Raggedy Ann & Andy. (I highly recommend the book as one of the best chronicles ever of the making of an animated film, if you can find a copy of this long out-of-print book) .
[click on the images to see them larger]
I was working in the trade-show area at the NAC during much of the festival for my employer , Cecropia Games , showcasing the new interactive animated video game , "The Act" (click the link to see a trailer) .
I'm happy that Cecropia sent me to represent them in the booth along with my colleague from Cecropia's Orlando,FL animation studio , animator Anthony Michaels. We were joined by Cecropia's CEO and creative director , Omar Khudari , and also Sherri Belski and Brenda Nashawaty from Cecropia's Lexington, MA office. The trip was an unexpected perk and turned out to be a memorable experience for me. (a big "Thank You!" to Omar for asking me to come to Ottawa)
I came back from Ottawa re-invigorated in attitude and love for animation. I really enjoyed running into old friends (some very unexpectedly) and in general it was a good feeling being back in the town where I got my start professionally in animation 22 years ago (see the photos of Ottawa I posted in the link below).
Even though I had to stay in the Cecropia booth for much of the festival, I still managed to squeeze in a few screenings , including the Awards show and screening of the award-winning films on Sunday night. One of the best events was the seminar on "The Genius of Bob Clampett" , hosted by John Kricfalusi , with a panel consisting of local Ottawa animators Jessica Borutski and Nick Cross , honorary festival president Mark Langer , and I think one of the animators from Copernicus Animation Studios who's name I missed (anyone know ? Please tell me in the comments so can correct this) . This , along with the screening later that night of several of Clampett's greatest cartoons made at Schlesinger's was a highlight of the festival for me. John K and Co. preached the Gospel of Clampett with many fine film clips and personal anecdotes/reflections about Clampett's influence on their own work and on animation in general (and why modern day animation should pay more attention to the example set by Clampett and his collaborators ).
I missed the screening Toon Town: 65 Years of Animation in Canada's Capital 1: Short Films which featured the work of the aforementioned Jessica Borutski and Nick Cross , so I was very sorry I missed the world premiere of Nick's film "The Waif of Persephone" . I'll have to buy the DVD when Nick makes it available someday soon (click on the link to his blog) .
It turns out that Nick is a friend and admirer of Graham Falk, as I am , so we have that in common. I didn't get time to do more than just stop by after the Clampett seminar to say "hi" to Nick, but hopefully if I get to go back to Ottawa next year I can buy him a drink and spend a little more time getting acquainted (maybe we can even coax Mr. Falk to attend ? ) I''ve only recently found Jessica Borutski's blog , though I have known of her work from the quirky, beautifully drawn short "I Like Pandas" , which I saw on the internet last year .
The pandas film also screened at the Ottawa retrospective which I missed , but it's still available to view online on YouTube (click the link) . Check out Jessica's blog for great designs . Beautiful stuff.
She and her partner Chris Dainty were pitching a show at the Television Animation Conference going on during the Ottawa festival and I hope they had great success with it . These Ottawa animators are the proof that animation is alive and well in Canada's capital city . I'm inspired by all of them.
I've already expressed my enthusiasm for the films "Jaime Lo - Small and Shy" by Lillian Chan and "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers" by Michael Sporn in my first post about Ottawa down below , but I also enjoyed the Kafka inspired "The Man Who Waited" by Theodore Ushev .
In the promotional films category I was glad to see the finely crafted United Airlines "Dragon" spot directed by Jamie Caliri on a big-screen. It received "Honorable Mention" . I really thought "Dragon" should have won as the best promotional film award , instead of the winning Fed-Ex spot "Stick" (which was clever) directed by David Hulin , but, hey, no one asked me.
I enjoyed the winner for best Experimental/Abstract Animation "Jeu" by Georges Schwizgebel which impressed me for , in the words of the Ottawa judges: “ the McLaren-like celebration of colour and motion.” or something like that ... "Jeu" wasn't really so much abstract as it was semi-abstract or maybe "non-linear" storytelling , whatever . Beautifully drawn and colored. The NFB website says : "In Jeu, the filmmaker sets the viewer down in a landscape whose scenery constantly morphs and mutates. This helter-skelter world evokes the chaos of modern life."
Yeah, what they said.
I was happy to see the excellent student group film from the Gobelins School, "Le Building" by Marco Nguyen, Pierre Perifel, Xavier Ramonede, Olivier Staphylas & Remi Zaarour , win as the Best Undergraduate Animation . Every time I see something from the Gobelins school I am amazed that it is "student" work . So accomplished and well-crafted .
I also enjoyed the photo collage Flash animated "It's Jerry Time: The Brute" which won in the Animation Short Made for the Internet category.
(complete list of winners HERE )