July 96 Editor's Notebook
The 1984 Olympiad of Animation, which is commemorated in my interview with
Fini Littlejohn, featured a selection of what were billed as the greatest
animated films of all time, appropriately termed the "Champions of
Animation." We like to think that Animation World Magazine is
an ongoing celebration of animation champions--whether it be filmmakers,
films or even studios.
Prominent among this month's champions is Frédéric Back, whose
superbly hand crafted films such as Crac! have mesmerized a whole
generation. William Moritz took advantage of his recent visit to the Los
Angeles area to chat with him. The results are found in "The Mighty
Animator: Frédéric Back."
TVC, founded by the late George Dunning, has always been one of the mainstays
of the British animation industry, producing such landmarks as Yellow
Submarine, Snowman and When the Wind Blows. The announcement
that studio head John Coates will be closing the company next year, has
led Jill McGreal to examine the company's and Coates' legacy in "TVC,
"Quirino Cristiani, The Untold Story of Argentina's Pioneer Animator,"
by Giannalberto Bendazzi, tells the fascinating and long forgotten story
of the trailblazing director who made the first two animated features, and
the first one with sound. Interestingly enough, Cristiani had the quaint
notion that feature animation is a medium for political satire, rather than
fairy tales. Then, again, pioneers sometimes don't know any better!
Rita Street's "Sue Loughlin: An Animator's Profile" examines the
career and work of an animator whose interest in social issues is reflected
in her recent public service announcement for Amnesty International (and
even her Levi's commercial), seems an appropriate choice for this issue
which plays homage to the Olympic Spirit of international cooperation.
Once upon a time, Robert Breer (A Man with his Dog Out for Air, etc.)
was one of a handful of American animators that would constantly show up
at screenings of experimental films. The recent explosion of the animation
scene has seemed to left Breer behind, but not really, as Jackie Leger points
out in her article, "Robert Breer: Animator."
For our formal tribute to the Olympics, I would like to point to my article,
"The Olympiad of Animation: An Interview with Fini Littlejohn."
Fini, whose friendship I have long valued, was the moving force behind the
now fabled pocket animation festival that was one of the gems of the 1984
Olympic Arts Festival.
For what's going on, animation-wise, in the current Olympic games, check
out Mark Segall's "Animation at the Olympics," which details the
efforts of Art Culture and Technology (ACT) to bring animation to the Olympic
masses. Then, Frankie Kowalski, in her "The Great Adventures of Izzy--An
Olympic Hero for Kids," looks at a Hollywood's most recent animated
exploration of what the Olympics are all about.
In "So, What Was It Like?" The Other Side Of Animation's Golden
Age," union leader and animator Tom Sito takes a hard look at some
of the myths and shibboleths of America's animation industry vis-à-vis
the people and studios responsible for the classic era of Hollywood cartoons.
Howard Beckerman provides a meditation on the credibility factor in character
design and development in his "When The Bunny Speaks, I Listen."
Meanwhile, Pam Schechter, in "No Matter What, Garfield Speaks Your
Language," explores the growing market for licensing and merchandising
opportunities for cartoon characters, and how studios and vendors try to
exploit the situation.
In our first festival round up, Bob Swain took advantage of the latest (noncompetitive)
Cardiff Festival to bring us up-to-date on some of the latest developments
in animation technology, as well as what's going on in some of the top European
studios. On the other hand, Maureen Furniss takes a leisurely look at the
pleasures of Zagreb 96, highlighting the prize winners and the festival's
innovative use of the Internet.
Finally, William Moritz gives his considered (and at times argumentative)
opinions on Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise's latest feature effort, The
Hunchback of Notre Dame, while Frankie Kowalski's Desert Island series
provides a peek at some top ten picks from four filmmakers whose works graced
the 1984 Olympiad of Animation.
Letters to the Editor
Being an editor of an Internet magazine can sometimes be a lonely thing.
Somehow, hit reports don't quite have the same sex appeal as seeing people
actually looking at your journal at the local newsstand (and even plunking
down a few dollars to buy it). But like print journals, one of the ultimate
compliments is getting those letters to the editor, which can often make
all the effort that goes into something like Animation World Magazine
very much worthwhile.
Thus, I would like to invite you to take some time to email (or even write
us) about your thoughts about what appears in these "pages" (or
think should appear), which we will start gathering and publish in a regular
"Letters to the Editor" section starting next month. (Or, if you
feel more comfortable, feel free to make your thoughts known on the Discussion
Forum on the Animation World Network.)
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