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.


My appointment as head of CalArts’ animation department


Anaïs Nin
Jules Engel Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

The reason I'm here is because of her, you know, Anaïs Nin. Yeah. Funny, I'm glad you mentioned that name. What happened... I don't know how it happened... she knew about me because I was exhibiting, you know? I didn't really know her. I remember this woman coming to some of the exhibits and she was very elegant. And she always was out place, I think she just get back from Paris. She was always very specially gowned and you could see that it was somebody very special. Then, of course, if you read the stuff that she wrote and all that. Anyway, so I had exhibits by then and she knew me. So I don't how it happened or what happened but I was in touch with her and somehow she said, 'Oh things going to be in the Valley', and yak, yak and, 'I'm going to take you and introduce you'. So anyway, I came out to the Valley and she was waiting for me some place. And then she took me over to one of the two men who opened CalArts [The California Institute of the Arts], you know? The one of them died but this guy was the one that... what was her name again? No, I mean her name.

[Q] Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin. She introduced me to this man. And that was very interesting because I hardly knew... I didn't know her that close. Well, my God, she knew me better, what I was about, you know. I knew who she was but I was not as aware of her. Anyway, she took me over to Mel's place and introduced me. Now, at that time, I'm putting you back in that time of me, if there were three people in the room, I couldn't open my mouth. If there were three people in the room, I could not open my mouth. That was me. So when she takes me over to this guy, and what the hell is he doing? He's hanging curtain. And he says, 'Talk'. Whoo! That was my biggest problem, I couldn't talk. Couldn't. And he's going... putting up the curtains, he's just moved in, Mel, you know. And he says, talk. And that time I was very fond of this French film-maker. And luckily, as I was beginning to, 'Er' whatever, you know, because that was a big problem, I thought of the Frenchman. And luckily, the fact that I talked about him, whatever I knew, that was it. Because his son, his son, loved that French director. So I hit a point of chord here, you know? If his son liked that guy and talks about him, and I walk in, as a stranger, and I'm talking about it, that put me ahead. But I was not sure that that took place. But his son, later told me, was a great fan of this French director. Anyway, so that's when the first establishment between them two and me came about. And then they saw the film, Coaraze, you know, which won that big award in France, you know, stuff like that. So somewhere I hit a soft spot in them, the people I was talking about. But it was very difficult. And then I met the other guy, the partner. And the Coaraze was the one that won him over. So next thing I know, I'm the head of the department they're putting together. You know, so that's the way the whole thing started. But it started with her. And I didn't know her this well but she knew about me because she took me by the hand and helped me meet this guy who was responsible for CalArts. They were responsible for everything that you see here. And that's the way I came into the position. It's very interesting because it had nothing to do with this place, nothing to do with anything, except these two American men who's responsible, get the money to put the building up and put the place in motion, you know and of course, her. And by then she also changed because I think she got married or something close to marriage and she was not what I saw her 10 or 5 years before, this elegant lady. What the hell is she doing in this exhibit that we were visiting? She looked out of place, you know. But then she cooled down and became normal. But her books, by then, were beginning to sell and she was beginning to have a large presence, but that had a lot to do with me to be here. Her, you know.

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: The California Institute of the Arts, CalArts, Coaraze, Anaïs Nin

Duration: 5 minutes, 47 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2003

Date story went live: 29 September 2010