Wilfred Jackson & Walt Disney (1935)

The Band Concert is an animated short film produced in 3-strip Technicolor by Walt Disney Productions and released by United Artists. It was the 73rd Mickey Mouse short film to be released, and the second of that year. The Band Concert was the first Mickey Mouse film produced in color.

The Band Concert was directed by Wilfred Jackson and featured adapted music by Leigh Harline. The only speaking character in the film is Donald Duck who is performed by voice actor Clarence Nash. The film remains one of the most highly acclaimed of the Disney shorts. The story is about a small music band conducted by Mickey Mouse which struggles through a distraction-filled public performance.

Although The Band Concert did not receive any Academy Award nominations, it has nonetheless become one of the most highly acclaimed Disney short films.

“None of the dozens of works produced in America at the same time in all the other arts can stand comparison with this one.”

Gilbert Seldes, Esquire Magazine

The Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini was such a fan of The Band Concert that he saw it six times in the theater and later invited Walt Disney to his home in Italy.

“one of the best cartoons ever made anywhere… There are nuances of expression in Mickey’s character throughout this film that had seldom been explored in earlier shorts. The pacing is also entirely different from the standard Mickey Mouse comedies of the early thirties. Instead of trying to pack in a thousand gags a minute, The Band Concert takes its time and builds to a crescendo.”

Leonard Maltin, Film Critic

Richard Rich (1996)

A youthful Leonardo da Vinci studies art under his master Andrea del Verrochio in Florence, Italy in 1473. While working as an apprentice Leonardo learns about color, shading, sculpture, and painting. In 1498, Leonardo is under the service of the Duke and Duchess of Milan. He is commissioned to sculpt a statue of the Duke’s father and paint The Last Supper. The Duchess asks Leonardo to produce a play about stars, planets, and space. During the play, Leonardo sees a young boy, Salai, steal some money from the stagehands. Salai tells Leonardo that he is homeless. Leonardo invites Salai to live with him and teaches him how to paint. Leonardo then meets a young Michelangelo and it becomes apparent that their thoughts about training in the arts are very different: Passion and creativity versus discipline and rules.

Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect. He was a true genius who graced this world with his presence from April 15, 1452 to May 2, 1519. He is among the most influential artists in history, having left a significant legacy not only in the realm of art but in science as well, each discipline informing his mastery of the other. Da Vinci lived in a golden age of creativity among such contemporaries as Raphael and Michaelangelo, and contributed his unique genius to virtually everything he touched. Like Athens in the age of Pericles, Renaissance Italy is a summit in human history. Today, no name better seems to symbolize the Renaissance age than Leonardo da Vinci.

Nina Simone & Lilian Terry (1968)

“I feel more alive now than I ever have in my life. I have a chance to live, as I’ve dreamed.”

Nina Simone

Lilian Terry had a national radio show in Italy–everyone from Ray Charles to Duke Ellington appeared on her show–and there was one person she always wanted to interview: Nina Simone. But Lilian had heard Nina didn’t enjoy speaking with white people. Thankfully Lillian had a confidant in Max Roach, the legendary jazz drummer, who introduced Lilian to Nina at the Newport Festival in 1968. “Lilian Terry comes from Egypt, ” Roach said. This was true; Lilian was born in Cairo to a father from Malta and a mother from Italy. With that simple introduction, Nina waved Lillian over. Soon they were talking about nefertitti and the pharoahs. Nina even told Lilian she thought she’d been in Egypt in a previous life. A few days later Lilian went to Nina’s house in Mt. Vernon, New York. They sat by the pool, the tape recorder was turned on, and the conversation continued.

Executive Producer: David Gerlach

Animator: Patrick Smith

Audio Producer: Amy Drozdowska

Colorist: Jennifer Yoo

Patrick Smith (1968)

“I feel more alive now than I ever have in my life. I have a chance to live, as I’ve dreamed.” – Nina Simone in July, 1968

Hear bonus interview outtakes, celebrate Nina’s style and impact on music and the civil rights movement here: http://blankonblank.org/nina-simone

Lilian Terry had a national radio show in Italy–everyone from Ray Charles to Duke Ellington appeared on her show–and there was one person she always wanted to interview: Nina Simone.

But Lilian had heard Nina didn’t enjoy speaking with white people. Thankfully Lillian had a confidant in Max Roach, the legendary jazz drummer, who introduced Lilian to Nina at the Newport Festival in 1968.

“Lilian Terry comes from Egypt, ” Roach said. This was was true; Lilian was born in Cairo to a father from Malta and a mother from Italy.

With that simple introduction, Nina waved Lillian over. Soon they were talking about nefertitti and the pharoahs.

Nina even told Lilian she thought she’d been in Egypt in a previous life.

A few days later Lilian went to Nina’s house in Mt. Vernon, New York. They sat by the pool, the tape recorder was turned on, and the conversation continued.

Executive Producer: David Gerlach / Animator: Patrick Smith / Audio Producer: Amy Drozdowska / Colorist: Jennifer Yoo