Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘film’

23 NOVEMBER, 2011

Charade: Lessons in Creative Vision from a 1984 College Student

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What Goethe has to do with pioneering animation.

In the summer of 1984, Sheridan College student Jon Minnis set out to complete an ambitious project, armed with only PANTONE markers and paper. (Cue in this morning’s PANTONE history of the 20th century.) After four months of writing and polishing a clever script, he spent another three meticulously storyboarding and animating it into an elegant, minimalist 4-minute film titled Charade, which Minnis voiced himself.

The gem went on to win the 1985 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and remains a heartening example of dreaming up a project and bringing it single-handedly to life. Or, as Goethe almost put it:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin It! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Charade is available on the altogether excellent 1994 collection World’s Greatest Animation, featuring Academy Award winners and nominees from the years 1978-1991.

via Animation Graduate Films; thanks for the quote, Liz

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22 NOVEMBER, 2011

Destino: A Salvador Dalí + Walt Disney Collaboration Circa 1945

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‘A magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time.’

After last week’s discovery of Salvador Dalí’s little-known 1969 Alice in Wonderland illustrations, I followed the rabbit hole to another confluence of creative culture titans. In 1945, Dalí and Walt Disney embarked upon a formidable collaboration — to create a six-minute sequence combining animation with live dancers, in the process inventing a new animation technique inspired by Freud’s work of Freud on the unconscious mind and the hidden images with double meaning. The film, titled Destino, tells the tragic love story of Chronos, the personification of time, who falls in love with a mortal woman as the two float across the surrealist landscapes of Dalí’s paintings. The poetic, wordless animation features a score by Mexican composer Armando Dominguez performed by Dora Luz.

As fascinating as the film itself is the juxtaposition of the two creative geniuses behind it, each bringing his own life-lens to the project — Dalí described the film as “A magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time” and Disney called it “A simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”

The project remained a secret and didn’t see light of day until a half-century later when, in 1999, Walt Disney’s nephew Roy E. Disney accidentally stumbled upon it while working on Fantasia 2000, eventually resurrecting the dormant gem. In 2003, it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

(I can’t help but wonder whether Destino inspired Ryan Woodward’s stunning Thought of You.)

Destino can be found on the 2010 DVD Fantasia & Fantasia 2000 Special Edition.

via io9

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18 NOVEMBER, 2011

Jerry’s Map: 2,000 Panels of Cartographic Imagination

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Inside the mind of a musser, or what crude maps of the imagination have to do with the seven of diamonds.

Last week, in a comment on BBC’s fantastic The Beauty of Maps program, a reader reminded me of a wonderful short film I remember seeing a couple of years ago, peeling the curtain on obsessive map-maker Jerry Gretzinger‘s never-ending project. (The reader, it turns out, was Jerry himself.) It’s about art and storytelling and imagination, and all those things we’ve come to cherish as the highest gifts of creativity. It’s precisely the kind of evergreen goodness that the web’s penchant for newsiness tends to bury and waste, and curators should seek to preserve and resurface. Hence, Jerry’s Map, a living treasure:

It’s alive, it changes. My hand puts the paint on the paper, and then I step back and say, ‘Wow, look at that!,’ as though I was not the perpetrator. I… I’m just the observer.”

For more obsessive hand-painted maps, don’t miss Paula Scher’s typographic treasures, a fine recent addition to my favorite books on maps.

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