Editor's Notebook by Harvey Deneroff.
Champions of Animation
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, 1957-1997."
"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.)
Harvey Deneroffharvey@awn.com Editor-In-ChiefAnimation World Magazine