We're thrilled to share that two acclaimed, animated Film projects from Kickstarter creators have been recognized by The Academy this year. Congratulations to Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson ( Anomalisa , nominated for Best Animated Feature) and Don Hertzfeldt ( World of Tomorrow , nominated for Best Animated Short) whose groundbreaking films are in the running to win the little gold man. We’ll be crossing our fingers Sunday night as we cheer on these talented Oscar nominees. To celebrate these nominations, Liz Cook, George Schmalz, and Dan Schoenbrun from our Film team have put together a list of animated works that have influenced them and had lasting personal resonance.
Walt Disney’s The Old Mill (1937), Directed by Wilfred Jackson “I obsessed over Halloween cartoons growing up, in particular the various VHS packages Disney put together to celebrate the season. A favorite that I always go back to is The Old Mill (part of Disney’s Silly Symphony Collection). The film left a mark on me. It does a great job creating atmosphere and mood through the soundtrack and accompanying score, the establishing shots of the mill and surrounding fields and ponds, the slow build and decay of the central thunderstorm, and its realistic portrayal of animals. You get a sense of being there and experiencing the storm with the residents of the mill. It's left me searching for that perfect summer evening my entire life, and I've grown to appreciate the pregnant pause before a warm summer downpour.” — George (Note: The Old Mill won an Oscar for Best Short, Subjects: Cartoons.)
Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle Book (1989), Directed by Ralph Bakshi “My neighbors growing up had a VHS copy of a Dr. Seuss story called The Butter Battle Book . We loved it and watched it on repeat. About five years ago I was reminded of this and looked it up on YouTube. It's pretty weird and amazing and worth checking out." — Liz
Disney's The Lion King (1994), Directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff "I can still sing every lyric to every nineties Disney classic and can vividly recall under what circumstances I saw each film for the first time. I remember a classmate's tenth birthday party was Lion King themed. We all went to see it in the theater, coming back to her parents' house laughing and singing things like "Kings don't take advice from little hornbills, for a start!" — which sounds like a nightmare for her parents, but it was probably just our way of grieving over Mufasa's tragic death, you know? I love the emotional impact that animated films can have." — Liz
South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999), Directed by Trey Parker “I was away at sleepaway camp the summer that the South Park movie came out, and I remember being taken on a field trip to the movies to see some PG-rated film. I snuck out of the theater and totally watched the entire South Park movie, and it warped my impressionable, preteen mind. Not only because it was vulgar and hilarious, but because it was surprisingly smart, making provocative statements about creative expression and free speech through the medium that even a twelve-year-old could understand: fart jokes." — Dan
The Chaperone (2013), Directed by Fraser Munden and Neil Rathbone “I was lucky enough to see this film at Fantastic Fest a few years ago. It is a 3D animated short documentary about an altercation at a school dance in the 1970s. The filmmakers used over ten thousand crayon drawings to create the film. This all alone is impressive. The film is rooted in a low-key realism — the interviewees themselves tell their story so nonchalantly one has the impression this night isn't different than any other, while the animated accompaniment gives an impression of an epic tail of a school defending itself against an entire motorcycle gang. It's fun to see these two different methods of telling the same story clash with one another on screen.” — George