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Desert Island Series....The Olympiad of Animation

Picks from Olympiad animators Melinda Littlejohn, Raul Garcia, George Schwizgebel and Jonathan Amitay.

This time 'round, I reminisced with animators who produced short animated films for The Olympiad of Animation--Melinda Littlejohn (Breath of Seth), Raul Garcia (Animarathon), George Schwizgebel (Hors-Jeu), and Jonathan Amitay (The Spirit of the Olympics).

Olympiad of Animation film,Breath of Seth by Melinda Littlejohn.

Melinda Littlejohn's desert island picks...

"I love the idea and energy behind the Olympiad of Animation. It built up to a wonderful frenzy of animators and artists descending upon Los Angeles from all over the planet. We closed a few bars and opened a few breakfast joints before it was over--alot of those people still remain my dearest friends and networks! I think the funniest thing that happened was when the sound track failed on a rather politically graphic European film and the animator kept yelling CONSPIRACY! (that guy went on to work for Disney--embracing the LA lifestyle wholeheartedly".

1 The Rainbow Bear by Bill Melendez2 The Bead Game by Ishu Patel3 Anything by Oskar Fishinger4 The Ladykillers by Alexander McKendrick5 The first hour of The Black Stallion by Carroll Ballard (produced by Francis Ford Coppola)6 Anything by Emory Hawkins (especailly the candy monster in Raggedy Ann & Andy)7 Burden of Dreams by Les Blank8 The Ghost of Rome by Antonio Pietrangeli9 Anything animated by Bill Littlejohn (especially Snoopy flying his dog house)10 All or Nothing by Frédéric Back

Raul Garcia's picks...

"When I was invited to participate in The Olympics of Animation I felt really honored and decided to make the most amazing animated film ever done--Hollywood here I go, ok back to reality. I ended up with the longest animated film that $150 can buy. Two minutes and 12 seconds and a cast of animators worth of a feature film. Necessity is the mother of all inventions and having no money to produce the film, I asked every friend working in animation to animate a scene. I shot the whole film by using the studio I worked at as an animator in the middle of the night and using leftover film and tails from my part-time job as a cameraman. When the film was finally finished, I had an opportunity to come to L.A. and present it. It was very exciting."

1 The Tell Tale Heart by Ted Parmelee2 Pas de deux by Norman McLaren 3 One Froggy Evening by Chuck Jones4 Little Red Hot Riding Hood by Tex Avery5 Anna & Bella by Borge Ring6 Creature Comforts by Nick Park7 What's Opera Doc by Chuck Jones8 Getting Started Richard Condie9 The Man Who Planted Trees by Frédéric Back10 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick

George Schwizgebel's picks...

"Je ne pratique pas beaucoup de sport mais je suis impressionné par la beauté des mouvements des athlètes, les ombres portées et la couleur du gazon. C'est cela, et aussi l'idée naive que l'on choisi toujours son équipe quand on regarde un match, qui m'a incité à réaliser Hors-jeu".

(I do not practice sport very much but I am impressed by the beauty of athletic movements, the shadows that they projects and the lawn color. It is for this reason, and also because of the naive idea that one always picks a team while watching a match, that I decided to make Hors Jeu.)

1 Tango by Zbigniew Rybcynski2 The Tale of Tales by Yuri Norstein3 Damon the Mower by George Dunning4 Le jeu des anges by Walerian Borowczyk5 Dream of the Sphinx by James Gore6 Refleksy (Reflections) by Jerzy Kucia7 The Comb From the Musuems of Sleep by the Brothers Quay8 Creature Comforts by Nick Park9 Blinkity Blank by Norman MacLaren10 The Passing by Bill Viola

John Amitay's Spirit of the Olympics, done for the Olympiad of Animation.

Jonathan Amitay's picks...

"Spirit of the Olympics"... wow! 1984. And it was my first film to be shown internationally. I had no idea of the importance of such events. While making the film for the Olympics I used sand and shot the film with a very old animation camera that was on it's last sprockety legs. It would jam, oh would it ever jam, and mostly on the most important jobs. By the time I'd finish almost ANY job with that camera, all I was left with was the feeling of relief of having managed to make the deadline. Other than that I was too frazzled to think about anything else. Even today I find it difficult to watch my works from that period seeing the jump-cuts and remembering that dreaded "click," and then opening the camera body and the film spilling out like bloody spaghetti!"

1 The Mighty River by Frédéric Back, for it's awesome beauty and grand execution.2 The Street by Caroline Leaf. What can I say ... it's so fantastically imaginative.3 The Yellow Submarine by George Dunning4 Ivan The Terrible by Sergei Eisenstein. A grandiose film and you don't have to understand a word of Russian to be mesmerized by it. It's like "watching" a Rembrandt, a J.S. Bach or a Beethoven.5 Se7en by David Fincher --it's opening title which I found to be a unique piece of artistry and "branded itself" on my artistic psyche.6 The Electric Blanket by Asi Dayan, which is gut stuff and Israeli to it's last frame, and contains a controversial and unforgettable scene about dying and death.7 Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media by Mark Achbar A film that will leave no doubts in the minds of the mad dogs on the island (and even islands have their mad dogs) as to my political/social leanings.8 Unconscious Civilization by John Ralston Saul, which is a piece of the most brilliant reasoning.9 For music... There's so much...! On the spur of the moment I would probably grab any one of Mozart's piano concertos. His "Heavenly" music contains every possible human emotion.10 I must admit that I would take one of my own films, Nukie Takes A Valium to remind myself that I'm not as lousy as I make myself to be sometimes...ha ha.

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