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A Closer Look: Animation Serving Music

"1001 NIGHTS," an animated film set to live music, premiered on April

30, 1998, kicking off the Filmharmonic, a series of collaborations

between the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and filmmakers...

"1001 NIGHTS," an animated film set to live music, premiered on April

30, 1998, kicking off the Filmharmonic, a series of collaborations

between the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and filmmakers.

Director, co-producer and animator Mike Smith and a staff of more

than 120 people created the 23-minute film in just over six months.

Based on images conceived and designed by Japanese artist Yoshitaka

Amano, and created simultaneously with its musical component scored

by David Newman, the film is comprised mainly of elaborate, colorful

drawings on paper as well as some computer animation created with 3D

StudioMAX and Digital Fusion by CGI director Noriaki Kaneko at Blur

Studio. The project came about as a "happy accident" when the

production company's discussions with artist Amano coincided with

L.A. Philharmonic conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen's idea for the

Filmharmonic series.

"1001 Nights" is one of these interesting experiences where the music

leads the animation, and not the other way around. The rhythm defines

the kind of "dance" that the animation is performing. Fantasia

stretched the boundaries of animation art and technology in 1940 and

blended sights and sounds to a degree never before seen. This theme,

which continued with Fantasia/2000, has been used by numerous artists

in the past decades: Meredith Monk performs in theaters, together

with musicians and accompanied by surrealistic imagery; independent

filmmaker Bärbel Neubauer produces experimental film mixing images

and sound; and abstract animators like Harry Smith and Hy Hirsh

painted films for Jazz concerts to accompany the music. It is in

these instances that animation can make music visible and paintings

move.

Related articles published in Animation World Magazine:

- In "Dig

This! 1001 Nights: An Animation Symphony," Animation World

Magazine profiled this unusual production in its June 1998 issue.

- You can also view a QuickTime movie clip, quote from the director

and summary of the film in "The

Oscar Short List, Five Other Possible

Nominees..." Animation World Magazine exhibited the five animation

films that were short listed in the 1999 Oscars race, but

unfortunately, weren't nominated. "1001 Nights" was one of them.

- A

New Life For Fantasia As Fantasia 2000's premiere date approached, J.B. Kaufman found

Fantasia's roots and reveals Disney's hopes for their second chance

at awakening Walt's dream.

- Walt

Disney's Make Mine Music: A Reassessment Robin Allan takes a second look at Make Mine Music, a mixed bag of

animated shorts joined into a feature, and analyzes what it meant to

the Disney Studios during its tumultuous post-WWII period.

- The

Influence of Sound and Music on Images Just as different techniques create different images, different

sounds alter the perception of all images and films. Baerbel Neubauer

and William Moritz investigate and even provide moving examples. This

article includes QuickTime Movie clips created exclusively for

Animation World Magazine!

- Roots:

An Experiment in Images and Music Bärbel Neubauer divulges her creative process and discusses the

production of Roots, an experimental film mixing images and sound.

Includes a Quicktime movie.

- Fragments

of a Faith Forgotten: Unearthing the Harry Smith Archives Rani Singh relates the operations of the Harry Smith Archives as she

and others try to collect, restore and rebuild the works of Harry

Smith.

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