a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


The first animation film I ever made


How I 'kidnapped' my own film
Jules Engel Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

Well, that was a lot of problem, an enormous amount of problems. Not… the problem wasn't making it, the problem was, dear friends, how do I going to get my hands on a 35 [mm] print? Once I have my hands on a 35 [mm] print, how I going to get it out of Europe, you know? So that was a biggie. The biggest thing was, the fellow that I worked with, even that's a lot of credit I have just given him right now, he was not going to give me a print. You know, when we started, he was a young guy, he was in his very early 20s and he was going to take the total credit. He'd never made a film before and this thing came from the mayor of the village of Coaraze. And he wanted a film to be made on that because the poets came there every there, as a gathering. And they would be sleeping on the street, you know, and all that. So we finished the film and it was an incredible hit in Paris, it won an award and every damn thing. But, but he wouldn't give me a print. Now, our situation was that he can have the thing in Paris, in Europe around, wherever… and I can run it in America. But no, he wouldn't give me a print. Then he would tell me, 'Next week I'll give you a print'. But next week came and no print. And one day I'm having lunch with him and he has a call that the print was ready for him to be picked up. I heard that, finished the lunch, took a taxi, went to the place where the thing's being done, I paid for the film, I told the cab to wait for me. As I'm going out with this 35 [mm] print in my bag, he's coming in to pick it up. The cab was there for me and I paid for the print, so that was correct, you see? And I ran, I got home and I gave my film to the neighbor. I told him to take this print and just hold it because I didn't know what where the consequences. So then he called me the next day, he wants to pick up the print. And I says, 'Oh my God, you know what happened? I left it in the cab'. And I said to him, 'I'm going to phone the cab station to see if they find a print'. He said, 'Oh no, don't do that. They don't want to do anything like that we go to the police'. He said, 'No don't do it, don't do it, we'll find the print. Or you have the print?' I say, 'No, I don't have the print'. 'What did you take out?' 'Oh, that was my work'. So that lasted for a couple of weeks, of him chasing me, he wants the print back. But I wouldn't let him because he was ugly to me 'cause the whole idea was: I go home with a print, he goes home with a print. So anyway, then finally we left Paris. But before we left Paris, I took this 35 print and put it in a box and a lot of stuff around it, cloth and everything. And I went over to an American agency and they would take things from you because you were American and they would ship it. So I gave them the thing wrapped up in all those clothes and we came to back home and a week later, came the big box. I opened the damn box and there's my 35 print. You have no idea what a horrible month-and-a-half I dealt with, with this guy who was like 21. I'm making the film and I put his name on it and then he still wanted other credits. I gave him all the credits he wanted because I assumed that I have a 35 print, you know? But I would never have got the 35 print once the film got all this awards and accolades, you know? That was the end of it. But… Anyway, then some years later, I went back to Paris and I walked around his apartment. And he was married, had a kid - had a couple of kids. I was hoping to run into him on the street, that's why I went where he lived. I was hoping that he was going to meet me and ask me about, you know, whatever. This never, never, never happened. But that... it was one of those moments when you really go to hell, physically, you're hurting because of what he's doing to you. He's laughing at you. And he's not going to give me a print. There's no way he's going to give me a print. Because he had all this accolade, why should he give me a print? So, that was Coaraze.

The late Hungarian-American film-maker Jules Engel is best known for his contribution to the field of animation. His work includes the dance sequences in Walt Disney's 'Fantasia' and the creation of 'Mr Magoo'. His films and lithographs are housed in museums all over the world and have won many awards.

Listeners: Tamara Tracz Bill Moritz

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

William Moritz received his doctorate from USC and pursues parallel careers as filmmaker and writer. His forty-four experimental and animation films have been screened at museums in Paris, Amsterdam and Tokyo, among others. He published widely on Oskar Fischinger, James Whitney, Bruce Conner, the Fleischers and 200 pages of animation history for an AbsolutVodka website. He wrote chapters for the "Oxford History of Cinema", appeared in several television documentaries, curated art exhibits and received a lifetime achievement trophy from the Netherlands Royal Academy for his work with visual music. He has served on film festival juries and received an American Film Institute filmmaking grant. His poetry and plays are also performed and published. He is a leading expert of Oskar Fischinger and recently published a biography of him. He teaches at The California Institute of the Arts.

Tags: Coaraze, Paris, America

Duration: 5 minutes, 35 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008