Squirrel Nut Zippers (1998)

Squirrel Nut Zippers’ Ghost of Stephen Foster music video. From the album Perennial Favorites (Mammoth Records). Winner of “Best Animated Music Video” at the 1999 Vancouver Animation Festival. Directed and produced by Raymond Persi and Matthew Nastuk.

Animators include Ben Jones, Michael Ludy, Jason Magness, and Ashley Mims.

Pearl Jam & Todd McFarlane (1998)

The animated music video for Do the Evolution was co-directed by Kevin Altieri, known for his direction on Batman: The Animated Series, and Todd McFarlane, better known for his work with the popular comic book Spawn and Korn’s 1999 Freak on a Leash video. The video was produced by Joe Pearson, the president of Epoch Ink animation, and Terry Fitzgerald at TME. It was written and developed by Pearson and Altieri with input from McFarlane and Vedder. The total production time on the music video was 16 weeks. The animation pre-production was produced by Epoch Ink Animation at their studio in Santa Monica, California. Under Altieri and Pearson’s supervision the Epoch team boarded and designed the short in less than six weeks. Once McFarlane, Vedder, and Sony gave their final approvals, the short was taken to Korea by Altieri and Pearson for animation at Sun Min Image Pictures and Jireh Animation. Over a four-week period, a team of more than one hundred artists worked to deliver the finished animation.

Once the final animation was back in Los Angeles, California, Altieri, McFarlane, and Vedder edited the final cut at Vittello Productions. In a press release, McFarlane stated, “We choose to work with people who convey a particular attitude and this video is a tribute to that attitude,” while Pearl Jam stated, “As artists we are challenged to expand the meaning of our work and by utilizing this visual medium and working with a visionary like Todd, we were able to further explore some of the themes we depicted in the song Do the Evolution. Basically we’ve tried to make a good stoner video.” The video premiered on August 24, 1998 on MTV’s 120 Minutes. The video was the band’s first since the final video for the song Oceans on the album Ten. At the 1999 Grammy Awards, the music video received a nomination for Best Music Video, Short Form. The video clip for Do the Evolution can be found on the Touring Band 2000 DVD as one of the Special Features.

Claude Cloutier (2007)

In this animated short, Sleeping Betty is stuck in bed, victim to a strange bout of narcolepsy. The King calls on his subjects to rescue her and they all respond to the call: Uncle Henry VIII, Aunt Victoria, an oddly emotional alien, a funky witch and a handsome prince. But will a kiss really be enough to wake the sleeping princess? The film, drawn in ink, is a classic example of the anachronistic and playful world of Claude Cloutier.

Nelvana (1983)

Documentary on the making of the cult classic Nelvana animated film, Rock & Rule. Featuring interviews with Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Iggy Pop, Maurice White, and Director Clive Smith.

Progressive and daring for its time, Nelvana’s Rock & Rule was the first English-speaking animated feature film ever made entirely in Canada. It features adult themes, and a stellar rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack including Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, Cheap Trick, and Earth Wind & Fire. Unfortunately, the production faced an enormous amount of hurdles and due in part to a lack of marketing and distribution, it was a box-office flop. Now, over 30 years later, Rock & Rule enjoys a cult status on par with Heavy Metal.

Oskar Fischenger (1940)

In Disney’s mind, the success of Snow White and the Mickey Mouse cartoons had purchased for the studio the artistic and financial freedom to take their art to new heights — and to take the risk of venturing into abstraction. “The abstractions that were done in Toccata and Fugue,” he explained, “were no sudden idea. Rather, they were something that we had nursed along for several years but we never had a chance to try.”

German-American animator Oskar Fischinger, whose Optical Poem (1938) had been set to music by Liszt, was regarded as the world’s finest creator of abstract animation.

Disney called on Fischinger to design visuals for the Bach animation — but when Disney insisted on adapting Fischinger’s work to a degree Fischinger found excessive, he quit and did not receive credit for his work.

By 1940, abstraction in art wasn’t new or shocking. Was the world ready, though, for dark, dense abstraction in an animated family feature? That was what Walt Disney was ready to find out when he brought his new film Fantasia to debut in New York City, which had been rocked 27 years earlier by Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase.

Opening Fantasia with the Bach animation was a very deliberate choice. Not only did the challenging segment establish from the outset that this would be a very different sort of film than Snow White or Pinocchio, it served as a bridge between the orchestra and the screen.

With Fantasia, Disney aimed not only to explore new frontiers in the medium of animation, but to help a mass audience unlock the layers of complex classical music such as Bach’s organ composition.

“There are things in this music that the general public will not understand until they see the things on the screen representing that music,” Disney said in a Fantasia story conference. “Our object is to reach the very people who have walked out on this Toccata and Fugue because they didn’t understand it. I am one of those people; but when I understand it, I like it.”

-Jay Gabler

In this Oscar®-winning short film, Norman McLaren employs the principles normally used to put drawings or puppets into motion to animate live actors. The story is a parable about two people who come to blows over the possession of a flower.                      Directed by Norman McLaren – 1952