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Alligator Planet Supplies Animation to Two Oscar Shortlist Documentaries

Animation producer Alligator Planet is proud to have contributed animated sequences in two of this year’s contenders for the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary.

Alligator Planet Supplies Animation to Two Oscar Shortlist Documentaries

Press Release from Alligator Planet

SAN FRANCISCO – November 30, 2009 -- Animation producer Alligator Planet is proud to have contributed animated sequences in two of this year’s contenders for the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. The films, “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” and “Under Our

Skin” are two of the 15 films selected by the motion picture academy for further consideration as one of five possible nominees in this category.

“The Most Dangerous Man in America”

Alligator Planet’s Eli Noyes worked with producer-directors Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith at Kovno Communications to bring to life key moments in the story of the Mr. Ellsberg’s acquisition and distribution of the documents known as the Pentagon Papers. The sequences were visualizations of several of Ellsberg’s activities in 1971 when he copied and delivered the top secret documents to Ben Bagdikian, then an editor of The Washington Post.

The animated sequences illustrate parts of the Pentagon Papers story that could not have been covered with archival footage or re-enactment. They also happened to be moments in the film that, in hindsight, were humorous, and needed a light touch.

“Our story is a political thriller, very tense and political,” says Mr. Goldsmith. “The two scenes we gave Alligator Planet had some humor in them. Eli’s work heightened that humor without trivializing it. His animation was sparse and spare, and at the same time clever and pointed. Audiences, without exception, love it.”

Eli Noyes adds, “My combined experience in documentaries and animation was an asset when it came to designing and directing sequences for these films. There are many ways animation can help documentary filmmakers tell their stories. In the case of ‘The Most Dangerous Man,’ I worked to find a way to represent characters in the film without making them too ‘cartoony’, or representational. Since much of what took place was clandestine, I referenced film noir lighting to contribute to the suspense.”

“Under Our Skin”

“Under Our Skin”, another shortlisted film, brings attention to the spread of Lyme Disease in the US and around the world. Mr. Noyes, with artist Catherine Margerin, animated a number of sequences for the film. "Eli understood the fine line we needed to walk to balance science and whimsy in animation," says Andy Abrahams Wilson, the film's director. "You lean too far in one direction and the film loses credibility or appeal. Eli and his team found the perfect balance, communicating complex information in a visually interesting and accessible way."

Noyes, adds, “With ‘Under Our Skin’ we had multiple tasks, from representing spirochetes in the bloodstream, to what I call ‘Op Ed’ animation, where we visualized the political and economic issues at play in the medical profession’s response to Lyme disease and its treatment. Again, the art direction and animation needed to be respectful, yet beautiful to watch, in keeping with the care and detail Andy has put into his film.” 

Alligator Planet, a full service animation production entity, was created in 2003 by awardwinning animation director Eli Noyes, producer Ralph Guggenheim and CFO/COO Alan Buder. 

Academy Awards nominations will be announced Tuesday, Februay 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT.

About Alligator Planet LLC

Alligator Planet develops and creates animation for screens of all sizes in the growing worldwide media market. Its experienced and creative management team specializes in solving difficult narrative problems through visual storytelling and a variety of animation techniques.

About Kovno Communications Inc.

Kovno Communications, Inc. (KCI) is a non-profit whose purpose is the development, production and distribution of film and video for educational purposes. KCI is concerned primarily with film and video projects that address cultural and social themes in American life, democratic ideals, and the concerns of youth. The distribution objectives of KCI are (1) to ensure the widest distribution possible, in general and educational venues, and (2) to

stimulate public discussion and debate on the issues and themes addressed in its films.

About Open Eye Pictures

Called by CineSource Magazine "the most exciting non-fiction production company in the Bay Area," Open Eye Pictures specializes in creative, non-fiction media. Its Emmy-nominated and award-winning films have shown on broadcast television and in theaters, top film festivals, and educational venues worldwide.