A Tribute to Jules Engel

Students and other professionals give their remembrances of educator and artist Jules Engel.

Jules Engel in his studio, 1949. Courtesy of Tobey C. Moss. Photo credit: Lou Jacobs Jr.

As a tribute to the legendary animator Jules Engel, who passed away on September 6, 2003, AWN has compiled thoughts from students and other professionals who the educator, artist and man influenced over the years. We begin with the eulogy his biographer Janeann Dill gave at his memorial and end with a touching remembrance from fellow CalArts faculty member Christopher Meeks.

His official obit can be read here.

Eulogy for Jules Engel

Memorial Service at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Burbank, California September 13, 2003

As many of you know, I have been writing a biography on Jules for a while now, and I can tell you that placing this mans life between two covers is an enormous and overwhelming task. As weve come together today to celebrate his life, I hope that I can bring to you some of what Ive learned about this extraordinary man.

I would like to begin my eulogy with a note from Kathy Rose, one of Jules first students at CalArts who has carried on the tradition of artistic greatness in her own creativity. In 1972, Kathy threw the I Ching in answer to the question: Who is Jules Engel? Here is what was thrown:

  • Nine in the fifth place means: A melon covered with willow leaves. Hidden lines. Then it drops down to one from heaven.

The melon, like the fish, is a symbol of the principle of darkness. It is sweet but spoils easily and for this reason is protected with a cover of willow leaves. This is a situation in which a strong, superior, well-poised man tolerates and protects the inferiors in his charge. He has the firm lines of order and beauty within himself, but does not lay stress upon them. He does not bother his subordinates with outward show or tiresome admonitions, but leaves them quite free, putting his trust in the transforming power of a strong and upright personality. And behold! Fate is favorable. His inferiors respond to his influence and fall to his disposition like ripe fruit.

Some of Jules amazing work on Fantasia. © Walt Disney Pictures.

How apt is this description. Jules did protect his subordinates (his mentees) and was a maestro of elegance as he modeled life for us all.

An extraordinary intelligence and a visionary artist, we are here today to remember Jules Engel: the man, the artist and the mentor.

For the artist communication with nature remains the most essential condition. The artist is human; himself nature; part of nature within natural space.

from Paul Klees. Pedogigcal Notebook

Engel was a man fiercely committed to his art and fiercely disciplined in its practice. Jules created 33 personal films, produced 39 editions of lithographs, hundreds of paintings and sculptures since the late 1930s, and dedicated over 30 years of his life to teaching/mentorship at CalArts.

In 1945, Hazel Guggenheim (of the art patronage family) arranged for his first exhibition at the Frederick Kahn Gallery in Los Angeles. Engel and Guggenheim were visiting the gallery when Ms. Guggenheim said to Kahn that he should give Jules an exhibition. Surprised by the suggestion, Engel agreed to have an exhibition if Kahn would agree not to sell anything. You see, Engel felt that his work was not ready to sell yet. Naturally, Engel said to me, the first man to come into the gallery when the show opened wanted to buy one! Laughing that delightful laugh of his, Jules told the story that Kahn honored his request and refused to sell the work. This story tells us volumes about the man.

Jules was delightfully humorous. Even in the hospital his last days, he maintained the sense of humor in carried throughout his life. I had the honor and privilege of being with Jules until he passed during these last two and a half weeks, and I would like to share a few of those moments with you.

Fantasia shows early hints of the experimental films Engel would do later on in his career. © Walt Disney Pictures.

Jules was a vital soul who lived and died in a manner consistent with the essential vibrancy of himself. While in the hospital, as was often the case, he got his days and nights somewhat mixed up, so he would rest during the day, and at night he was ready to rock and roll. At one point, sometime early one morning, he said to me: Im dying. Dont they have a suite for this? Laughing, my response to him was, Oh, Jules, we will try to find you a room with a window tomorrow!

Another moment full of humor was one morning around 4:00 am when Jules looked up at me and said, This is boring! Laughing with him again, I said to him this must be SO boring for you looking at the same walls and the same people day in and day out! Would you like to see the sports page of the newspaper from yesterday? [Pause.] Quite frankly, I dont know what to do with myself. [Longer pause.] But, what the hell? Give it to me and Ill act like Im doing something!

What an incredible man. What a life we have the gift of receiving. Jules Engel was a superbly elegant, kind and genuinely nice man. A philanthropist. A true visionary who fostered the talents of all he met.

The hat, the glasses, the ascot and the dark jacket.

How do we begin to thank such an endearing soul and life affirming energy a life that cannot deny itself. He continues to blossom through all of us who have been touched by his wit and wisdom. It is indicative of Engels large presence as a talent that today, September 13, 2003, we celebrate the magnificence of Engels life at Forest Lawn while, simultaneously, one of Jules paintings from 1966 is being exhibited in one of the Pattern and Decoration exhibitions curated by Michael Duncan opening at Bergamot Stations Rosamund Felsen Gallery. How many people can say they are having a funeral and an opening at the same time! Engels parallel careers continue uninterrupted in the face of his mortality. How lovely, indeed.

In closing,

Thank you, dearest Jules Engel, for being the extraordinary human being you are. The honor of knowing you was ours.

The privilege of learning from you was ours.

The delight of sharing your humor was ours.

The genius and supremely individualized vision you brought to the history of our lives, was yours.

Janeann Dill M.F.A., M.A., B.A. Engel biographer and artist in residence for the Creative Alliance at The Patterson, Baltimore, USA and doctoral candidate, Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinare Studien (European Graduate School), Switzerland.

It was indeed a moment of grief having heard about the death of animation pioneer Jules Engel. Our deepest thoughts are with him always may his soul rest in eternal peace.

Sincerely yours, Vineet Surana Champion Media Works

More work from Fantasia. © Walt Disney Pictures.

I was pretty ill when I went to CalArts, and I wasnt always in my best artistic form. But I remember no matter how poorly I felt, or how weak my work was, Jules would make an effort to come by and say, thats nice honey, did you try this? and, with a single stroke of a pencil, completely awaken my drawings. I had just left the hospital at one point and had been feeling well, and he made a comment to me that he had said about my artwork so many times, Good colors honey. Whenever I get well after being ill, or whenever I have problems just getting through a day, I think of a single pencil stroke, or the three words that just made me smile for hours. What am I wearing to Jules funeral? Good colors honey.

Cathe Boudreau Alleger M.F.A. art geek, and independent animator, Las Vegas, Nevada

This is one of my favorites. After I had been at CalArts for about a month, myself and some other students noticed that he called all the men either Champ or Sport. After class one day, where the assignment was to animate a person throwing a heavy object, I was startled to hear him say Doug while I was leaving. I had animated a man throwing a shot put, and he asked me why I had the mans elbow pointing up at a certain point during the motion. I said that when I was on the track team in high school that was how the throwers did it. He told me that that was incorrect and that their elbow should be pointing down at that point. I put up a little argument and he just put his hand on my arm and said, Trust me, I know what Im talking about.

Doug Vitarelli Freelance animator NYC, M.F.A. Experimental Animation, CalArts, 1995

I was a student at the California Institute of the Arts. Jules Engel had a lot of fun meeting his new students on our very first day in the Experimental Animation department. He would ask the Experimental Animation students to identify themselves out of all the film and video students. He would then announce, I love you! to us all as a way of introducing himself. He was very affectionate with his students and charmed our visiting parents too, so much so that when my mother read his obituary in the South Carolina State newspaper, she called to say, Your friend, that cute little man that liked you, Jules Engel, died.

Helen Hill Filmmaker and animation teacher

I wanted to express some thoughts on Jules.

Jules was my mentor. He was kind, concise and funny with an uncanny ability to see a much bigger picture than what merely lay before him. He always had a light in his eyes. He never rested on past accomplishments but was always trying new things. I have such a huge amount of respect and admiration for him. He has made an enormous impact on my life and I will carry that with me always. Im so grateful that I got a chance to know him and I miss him.

Temah Nelson Former CalArts student

In Jules Monday morning animation analysis class, Jules would get us so excited and fired up to produce our own animation. He would show us amazing films and his explanations and anecdotes would bring the films down to earth. Instead of filling us with awe and putting great animation out of our reach, he inspired us to go out and create. I remember leaving that class floating on air. Jules would always leave us with his signature line: Ring the bell.

Kristen Hagen Former CalArts student

Jules was my mentor when I was at CalArts from 1989-92. I think it was in my first year there that he put up two shows in the CalArts galleries that taught me a few important things.

In one gallery, he suspended paper bags from the ceiling. These were large shopping bags one might get at high-end boutiques. He had collected them over a period of time and now hung them at varying levels throughout the space. By hanging them as he did he elevated their status from just paper bag to thoughtfully designed object. But he also created a wonderful spatial effect that reminded me of walking into a garden of large flowers, or wandering through a field of floating balloons. It was a whimsical, joyful experience so different from the serious and heavily theoretical artworks that were usually installed in and around the main gallery.

For the other show, Jules recruited all the Experimental Animation students (I think at that time there were nearly 60 of us) to produce small sculptures. He had salvaged 12"x12" wooden tiles from the Institutes Super Shop, along with a variety of wood scrap. He gave one square tile to each of us and told us to paint it black and then construct a sculpture on it using whatever of the wood scraps we chose. He also asked us to paint the wood scraps in bright colors. Jules collected the finished works from us and then spent the better part of a day tiling the floor of the gallery with them. I was amazed to walk into the gallery when he was done and see how he had integrated all his students diverse responses to the same problem into an engaging study in abstraction that also allowed each tile a presence as he might have said, a place in the viewers attention.

In much of his artwork, Jules used a similar playful approach to choreographing collections of shapes and colors in spaces in and beyond the film frame. In his teaching, Jules valued students as individuals and worked with us to elevate, in a way, each of our particular strengths as artists. But he also kept the larger picture in mind. So among the things I learned from Jules were these: to keep a spirit of play while working, to design simple structures that allow complexity to emerge, and in my teaching to go to where the student is and appreciate his or her individuality both on its own and as part of a larger pattern.

Ruth Hayes Animation faculty at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington

Beginning a course in B.A. Hons degree in animation at the University of Lincoln the year before, one of the first assignments given to us after a lengthy introduction to abstract animation was to research a significant figure in this field. Due to his Disney background (the Mushroom Dance in Fantasia), we chose to study a certain Hungarian fellow by the name of Jules Engel.

After weeks of frantically searching for information from various sources, including AWNs regular contributor Gene Deitch and the Tobey C. Moss Gallery, of whose insights was of a great help to me, I came to find a Website representing a new abstract organization. Thinking it was a long shot, I decided to contact them.

A few weeks later, a knock came on the door of my hall of residences, to which of my flatmates was waiting holding a quite stuffy looking envelope.

This came for you today, it looks important. Its from America.

The address on the front was handwritten. It was personally from Jules Engel.

Upon opening it I was startled at the amount of information, all sent personally from Jules, even including his personal address in case I needed anymore of his help. Even though I only knew him from a personal view, I couldnt help but think of the mans complete lack of an ego. Here was a man who had his feet firmly stuck on the ground, and would not be afraid to indulge his vast knowledge and experience to anyone who requested it.

It was also because of Jules, and his career, I discovered CalArts and its hugely impressive history and relevance in animation, of which Jules association has proved to be a cornerstone in the institutes success. I now dream of been able to study there, and learn as much as Jules students have before in the past.

PS We got a good mark on the project! I would only like to pass on my condolences to Jules friends and family. Thanks for everything, Jules.

Yours faithfully, Andrew Holden 2nd year animation student, University of Lincoln, Hull, East Yorkshire, England

Good ol Jules. I never got the opportunity to take a class of his. He hardly knew me but I sure had fun making him believe that he did. Sound confusing? Id catch him walking down the halls at CalArts and spark up random conversations with him. He sometimes looked a little confused, like I might have been a student of his that he didnt remember but I never got to tell him I was just a great admirer.

Arica Houy Character animation student, CalArts, Burbank, California

I loved Jules Engel as a second father, and admired him both as a human being and as the great artist he was. I will just miss him for the rest of my life and thats it.

Giannalberto Bendazzi Italy, animation historian

Jules had integrity. I am very lucky to know him as a teacher and a successful artist. Its very hard to find a real teacher with lots of experiences and he was the one.

Atsuko Kubota CG artist/animator, Los Angeles

I arrived to CalArts in 1996 with a Fullbright grant to study in the Experimental Animation program. Jules was the most colorful thing in a school where everything is saturated to a maximum degree. His style and sense of elegance would make any Hollywood star look tasteless, his charisma and quality as a human being, his intelligent smile and charming remarks could only make you feel grateful to destiny for having brought you to Valencia, California on time for a 15-minute thesis-meeting with him.

Love forever dear teacher.

Alejandra I Jarabo Freelance graphic designer-animator, instructor at Santa Monica College, Art History and Contemporary Art

Here are some valuable things that Jules taught me about animation and life:

Make a great entrance.

Keep it simple.

Sugar is energy.

Go out with a bang.

I loved talking to Jules about color, nature and the big picture.

Cheers to Jules!

Jefferson Thomas (Jeff-O) Experimental Animation Class of 1994, Earthquake Graduating Class

Jules photo courtesy of Ruth Hayes.

Poet, philosopher, artist, director, teacher, administrator and our FRIEND, JULES ENGEL 1909 2003.

We will sorely miss our conversations in the gallery, over dinners, at the viewings. Every time we will mount a new exhibition (see the REDCAT in November!), we will remember him... often.

Tobey and Allen Moss and Erin Weiss Tobey C. Moss Gallery

I encountered Jules Engel only five or six times, but each time was good. The first was when we did a show and tell together about 30 years ago in California. I was showing some award-winning films made by children at the Yellow Ball Workshop, and Jules was showing his amazing abstract animation.

The next time was in the early 70s when he was a judge at the New York International Animation Festival. We were lucky enough to win an award and be able to hang around in the halls and talk to Jules and Isabella Rosellini, two of the judges for the festival.

After that, I remember recommending two of my Yellow Ball Workshop students, Deirdre Cowden and Amy Kravitz, to Jules at CalArts for his Experimental Animation Program. Both of these students had an overwhelming appreciation for his talents as a teacher, mentor and friend.

Later, when I became head of the film/video/animation program at RISD we began to send our RISD animation grads to CalArts for his graduate animation program. Jules and I lived on opposite sides of the country, so most of our encounters were on the phone.

The last time I spoke to him was when Sheila Sofian, a RISD grad was going to CalArts on a scholarship and to arrange for him to come to RISD to make a presentation for our school. The following semester, when he came, I was away on sabbatical, but Amy Kravitz and her husband, Steve Subotnick, both CalArts grads, teaching at RISD were very pleased to present him to the school. His showing was a big hit.

Jules has made a lasting impact on the world of animation in his own work and his encouragement of students to experiment with new techniques and ideas. It is a pleasure to have known him.

Yvonne Andersen Professor emeritus, RISD

I just graduated M.F.A. from CalArts Experimental Animation program this spring. Jules served as my mentor during my time there.

I was deeply saddened to hear that Jules had passed away. I feel immensely grateful that I was able to partake of his immense knowledge and wisdom. Time spent with him was always valuable, because he related art to life as a whole, so that we were able to learn unexpected things about a full spectrum of areas from the starting point of, say, an ice-skaters pirouette. He taught me to see connections where I never would have expected to see them before meeting him. We will all miss him.

Ben McClure Freelance artist working on a film called, The Devils Party

Jules Engel, a significant master of the wordless truth in the abstract cinema, has left us with the wonderful legacy of his work. Another legacy I would like to point out was his profound guidance to many artists throughout the years with the power and respect for individual vision. He tended to show by example, and set you free to create. At the CalArts film library I was able to see many of these student films he had collected over the years. Many of these students went on to have a major hand in great productions for the big and small screens. Many also won festivals all over the world and some are teachers. Jules had a major impact on the creative spirit of the experimental and commercial animation worlds.

Joel F. Mariano CalArts MFA-Film/Video, Experimental Animation, 1987

From the photography collection Third Eye. Photo credit: Timo Viljakainen.

I met Jules Engel at CalArts in 1997 when I was photographing animation people for my project Third Eye. Everybody in my pictures was eyes closed. Thanks to [Acme Filmworks president] Ron Diamond I got a chance to meet this charming gentleman. First thing Jules Engel said to me when we met was: It is nice to meet people from the country where Paavo Nurmi was born. Mr. Engel told that he was interested in running after seeing Paavo Nurmi run in the U.S.

It was really magical meeting with him. He was such a huge personality. I was very happy to get him in my collection.

Timo Viljakainen Photographer, Helsinki, Finland

Jules Engel was a generous supportive mentor that not only opened my eyes to the universe of soulful and poetic animation, he also created a safe environment of encouragement and a network of thoughtful and supportive students at CalArts that was key in my search for a unique process. Looking back, I have to believe that I was unaware that he was planting profound seeds that have since grown greatly. I remember Jules in the legacy he left of the many, many artists he affected and nurtured.

Mark Osborne CalArts B.F.A. 92, director of the short films More and Greener and the live-action feature Dropping Out

Jules was the closest thing to heaven in my creative screenwriting universe that introduced us 15 years ago. He allowed the stars and Mars to jar, the lines to create sublime divine reflections of our innermost creative voices. Like a child, he saw everything as new and was a constant in my creative life as it evolved and changed shape like the magic images he created to change the world. I may have been considered his adopted daughter, but it is all in the perspective of things. In Jules language, he was a presence, his work special and his perspective the most upbeat, witty, wonderful one in the world. He was my biggest fan, as I was his. I was the writer he longed to be and he was the artist I wished I could become. Most importantly, he was my heart, and I hope it forever beats inside me in his special corner marked Jules.

Patricia Rust Author, The King of Skittledeedoo, founder, The Rust Foundation for Literacy

I met Jules in London in 1966. At that time I was animating for Halas & Batchelor in Soho Square, and the studio had just signed a subcontract deal with Format Films to produce animated episodes of the Lone Ranger TV show.

Jules came over with Herb Klynn to demonstrate the unique poster-graphic style that he had developed for the show. We looked on amazed as he sketched a heavy grease-pencil outline of a background on cel, and then proceeded to tear up pieces of colored paper and place them under the cel. It didnt matter how roughly this was done; in fact the rougher the tear and the more outrageous the color the better and the effect was magical!

As we got used to the possibilities of this technique, I remember one background artist, for a bet, producing one entire episode with a desert setting entirely in shades of GREEN paper and it worked!!!

A fitting tribute to his astonishing skill and versatility.

Cam Ford Cinemagic Animated Films, Moss Vale, NSW, Australia

Jules with former student Lourdes Villagomez. Photo courtesy of Zak Zych.

I was a student of Jules Engels between September 1992 and December 1994. When I read that you were putting together a tribute for him I looked through all my old photos from CalArts, and this was my favorite.

This is a picture of Jules with one of his former student Lourdes Villagomez, taken at the end of the year animation showcase, at the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, Friday May 14, 1999.

Zak Zych Instructor, the Center For Advanced Imaging, St. Louis

Many have touted Jules for always stressing the positive aspects of our work (as opposed to pointing out the negative). My Jules was a little different. I remember working on an assignment for the late great Ruth Kissane (Casey to those who loved her). Deep in my work, I hadnt noticed that Jules was watching over my shoulder. Baby, what IS all this shit? I explained to him that I was experimenting after all I was in Experimental Animation. He said, Baby, that will never work. The following week, after two viewings, Jules said, Son of a bitch, it works! He was first to admit he was wrong.

And it is true; he referred to his students as artists or talents except for me. I was extremely lucky to be accepted into the program at age 18. Jules arranged to have Bill Melendez come for a visit. I was so excited to meet him A Charlie Brown Christmas cemented my love of animation. I came up to Jules in the hall outside the studio at CalArts where he and Mr. Melendez were talking. Jules said, Bill, I want you to meet someone. Here it comes! Jules is going to call me the talent I was thrilled! This is the Child. Aaargh! I kept what became a term of endearment until I had a child of my own.

It was just after I met Mr. Melendez that Jules and I had one of many heart-to-heart talks. He told me to make sure my name was incorporated into the name of my studio (Im going to have a studio, Jules? the child asked in total disbelief) and he told me that someone should make a film about Don Quixote. At the time, I took it to mean that I should make a film about Quixote. Im certain that I am not the only one he mentioned this to there have been a few excellent film interpretations since. Last winter I had a chance to speak at length with Jules about the short film Im working on the prison scene from Man of la Mancha. He absolutely lit up as I explained how it was going to be animated and that my dad was going to sing for the film (Jules always asked about my dad, keeping track of his career). It took 15 years, but Im finally doing it!

A fantastic mentor, a brilliant artist and a man with a wicked sense of humor Jules, thank you for gracing us with your existence!

Shayne Hood Mommy and filmmaker, Newhall, California

I graduated for Experimental Animation at CalArts in 98. He is a hero in my heart, and his inspiration will be all around the world wherever our alumni are. Id like show my new son to Jules Engel, as a grandfather. Thank you for you all you did.

Jonghyeck Ahn Professor at Konkuk University, South Korea

Jules work and mentoring has inspired generations of artists. © Walt Disney Pictures.

The following is a poem about Jules:

Jules

He sat in the corner of the studio With the door open. A straw hat on his head And a striped cravat around his neck. Whenever you appeared at his door A smile spread across his face And his was truly glad to see you. Whatever your project or question His interest was genuine. Even when you faltered He believed in you Asked you questions To make you think And delve to greater depths. But mostly to bring out the vision You had inside.

His presence Small but full of vigor, His laugh contagious, His hands and face expressive and animated, That is whom you think of.

Today that corner of the studio Is empty. The door you open is your own. You need to believe in yourself As much as he did.

And a remembrance: The last time I saw Jules was two years ago when he was receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Edison Black Maria International Film Festival.

As gifted, talented and accomplished as Jules was, he was awestruck at having such an honor bestowed on him. When receiving the award, he joked with the panel and audience that maybe they had come to see someone else, and seemed humbled by the applause and attention that was given to him.

After sending him some photos from the evening, he left a message on my machine, The pictures arrived! Hah, hah. Thank you, thank you! I could hear the smile on his face.

He was more than just a mentor, more than inspirational. He has taught us all to experience and enjoy life, to be honest and true to ourselves, and to bring that into our work. His life brought so much to so many and I will miss him dearly.

Jackie Ross CalArts graduate student 1991-94, New York City

A Remembrance of Jules Engel

Those of us who knew Jules were either a great friend or a respected acquaintance to him. His students were not students but talents. He was no star, just a great human being. Now that hes gone, Im struggling to understand him as I never had before.

I first got to know him because we each worked at CalArts. As and institute writer at the time, I interviewed him for an article early in my tenure and found him fascinating. Talking with him was like finding the Grand Canyon when you expected just a cut in a riverbank. I also learned we lived near each other, so I invited him over for a family barbecue with friends. He fit right in. He didnt mind getting barbecue sauce on his hands.

For a couple years, we carpooled, and when I taught to 6:00 pm, sometimes hed join my class. When I made a good point, hed be nodding, or hed laugh with the others if I said something funny. In the car on the way home, wed go over the high points of the class, which was often a students writing. That person is a major talent, hed say.

I would often call him up to see if hed like to grab lunch or dinner, and hed say, Ya, in that clipped way he had, and then hed suggest a time. I always worried about being even a few minutes late, because Id find him standing next to his apartment house on the corner of Beverly Glen and Ilona, in his straw hat, cars like crows whizzing past the great artist.

As I ponder his age now a topic he would never discuss he stands as a great example of how to live though the golden years, which to college students starts about age 30, and if you were Jules, it was somewhere yet ahead in the 100s. Jules has shown us all a path. No need to live extravagantly when the next art piece is so challenging. No need to put something off if you can create something now. No need to feel old when a seeing a play, a dance, a film or even the gesture of a person on a cell phone can enliven you. Movement in any form, in fact, can be as invigorating as the seeds of a dandelion taking to the air.

Jules Engel at his exhibition at the Tobey C. Moss Gallery 2001. Courtesy of Tobey Moss. Photo Credit: Mark Kirkland.

He also showed us that being with someone having a dialogue and moving across the topics of the day is an art form in itself. Go be artists.

Jules particularly enjoyed hearing about the process of writing, as if it were magic, but I thought what he did was supernatural. A few years ago, he let me watch the process of his latest work. As he sat in front of his Sony flat-screen TV, a gift from the School of Film/Video, he tuned to a sports channel, the one he knew by heart on his cable box. He had a pair of scissors and cut seemingly randomly at colored sheets of paper: red, blue, green, orange. Some shapes he made intricately with curves like George W. Bushs nose, a little crooked. (Jules loved talking politics, too). Other shapes were simple squares and rectangles. Once he had a pile, he said, And now I do this. On a black sheet, he arranged the bits of paper, moving furiously, his fingers as fast as someone reading Braille. In short order, with the colored paper in an abstract design, he smiled. There, he said, as if that explained the music in his soul. Those pieces of paper would later be glued down and a lithograph made from the whole.

Hed want to know how I worked. I told him, for example, how last month I had the strangest dream about a play I had written. I was a theater critic critiquing my own play as if I had not written the play. I was telling myself, You have a good play here, and you dont even realize it. I gave myself minute detail of what needed to be changed, including the name of the play. What a fascinating dream! Jules said right away and wanted to know more. I told him more. Jules laughed when he heard everything and said the human mind was an amazing thing.

His mind was an amazing thing.

Go to the Website http://www.netropolitan.org/engel/engel_main.html, and youll see some incredible quotes from him. For instance, in his statement, he says, My work is not realized through mathematical formulas or theories. It is gained through visual trial-and-error. It is a process of perception. It is a process of trial-and-error.

This is how I work at writing, and I think he saw that commonality between us. He even once told me, Id give up art and animation if I only could write. Thankfully, he didnt give up anything. He was working on art and animation until the week he entered the hospital. And, the thing is, he did write. He wrote poetry. He said if he found a special word, hed keep it on a piece of paper in a bowl, and when he had many words, hed start playing with them. He wanted 10 poems, and he came up with about eight, which he then made into a book and self-published into a beautiful volume, selecting just the right paper and binding and having a limited run of copies, just like his lithographs.

He said, Movement is the content. Dont merely look at a movement, FEEL it. He also said, Movement emerges, only to disappear. He was movement in our lives. He has only partially disappeared. There remains a persistence of vision.

Christopher Meeks CalArts character animation faculty

The Jules Engel Preservation Project

When Jules Engel passed away in September 2003, he left behind a legacy of more than 33 personal films. The Jules Engel Preservation Project was established to insure the archival conservation of those works. Through the support of individual contributions and institutional grants, and anchored by leadership funding provided by the National Film Preservation Foundation, the project has been able to restore several of his short abstract films. In recognition of Jules brilliant career as educator and artist, CalArts recently became a major supporter of this effort. The work of the project fulfills the commitments, made individually and on the part of our community to our friend, mentor, collaborator and inspiration, and guarantees that his achievement will be available to future generations of students, scholars and cinema lovers everywhere.

A number of new and restored prints will screen at The Jules Engel Retrospective at the REDCAT in Los Angeles on November 23, 2003.

The Jules Engel Preservation Project wishes to thank CalArts, iota, The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Film Preservation Foundation, Audio Mechanics, Cinema Arts, Chace Audio, Cineric, DJ Audio, Audio Mechanics, NOMI Group, Stephen Lavine, Chris Meeks, Steve Anker, Myron Emery, Dr. William Moritz, Tobey Moss, Christine Panushka, Ruth Hayes, Lorelei Pepi and the Rochester Institute of Technology, School of Film and Animation, and many individual donors.

For information please contact: Cindy Keefer Project Director The Jules Engel Preservation Project (562) 421-6206 or (310) 433-4655 keefco@earthlink.net

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