Legendary Animation Educator Moritz Passes Away
I had written on Jules under Bill's guidance in a class that he and Christine Panushka instigated at Cal Arts in 1992 called THE AESTHETICS OF EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION. I well remember that they taught this class out of love for our field and the absence of scholarly authorship. They both took on this class adding to their teaching load for no additional compensation by the institution. In that class I wrote a paper on Jules for the SAS Conference and presented it when SAS was held at Cal Arts the spring of 1993. Maureen Furniss subsequently published that article on Jules in ANIMATION JOURNAL. I also well remember that this newly created journal was birthed for similar reasons as the class: an absence of published scholarship in our field at that time. We have come a long way since.
Bill's life and work informs in a visceral, pedal to the metal way -- for this, I am indebted to him as a brilliant mentor from the depths of my heart. I thank him also for the impassioned and joyful spirit he brought to life in the work of Fischinger as well as many other filmmakers in animation. I remember Bill's being asked to the Sorbonne one semester for a visit. I asked him what he would be doing there and he gently, unobtrusively commented that he was serving on a doctorate defense committee for a dissertation on Maya Deren. I was thrilled and floored at the same time. Firstly, I was once in that doctorate program until I bumped up against the French exam that I was required to take before graduating. I had lived in France for four years and that was absolutely of no help to me when I saw that exam. Not only was Bill the extraordinary scholar in film (at-large), his command of the French language (along with about 5 others, including Sanskrit) was so perfected that he could participate in a doctorate defense in France in the mother tongue. I often told him I would so love to download his brain! He always smiled when I said that to him.
One last note, which somehow comforts me: Bill died right after what would have been Jules' 95th birthday, March 11, 1909.
A gentle man, a gentle soul, and a very generous Dr. Bill ...
To learn more about Bill Moritz and his work read Cindy Keefer's ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE article. Keefer provided biography for this news item.