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A baby with a head like a hexagon


Who is responsible for a great animation?
Jules Engel Film-maker
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When you do a film... let's take, let’s take Disney studio and let's take something like Bambi or something. The problem is that not one person does a film. If you have four animators working on Bambi and you have one who’s the color director, you know, and then one who's called the layout man. And then you have one that might have something to do with color. So… And yet you only give credit to this one guy who is called a director, you know? Which… which exists, you know? It's there. But unless the animator or... you see again, it's a problem because the animator has to rely on the director. Then the director better be pretty talented to know how to help the animator. Because it's the animator who's going to do the scene, who’s going to do the character, who puts in the timing. And this is where Walt came about. Walt came big. Because when he saw the dance of the hours and the way those people got up and move about was almost... he got angry at how stupid it looks, how ugly it looks, how wrong it is, you see? And then he would get up and make some moves, Walt did. And talked to the key animators, you know, the talents, that this is what it's all about, this is how it moves, you know? Then you can say, ‘How come they didn't know about that’? Nobody's hiding anything. Why these animators were that clumsy of having this ostrich from asleep, grow, stand up, you know, start to move... they were bad, they were bad. And Walt gets up there, he's not a dancer, he's none of that. But he talks about how it happens, what happens, what it should look, you know? So when you're talking about animation, it's a very strange field. Who is really responsible for all the good stuff in that film? And of course, there are talents which is then good. It's mostly a single talent who does a single film, where you really find the talent, 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: Bambi, Walt Disney

Duration: 2 minutes, 45 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2003

Date story went live: 29 September 2010