Friday, December 05, 2014

Cartoon Carnival: A Documentary on Silent Era Animation

Silent animation is esoteric, even to people who love animation.  Not much of it is shown anymore and animation has evolved so much from the silent period that these films seem ancient, when they are really only a hundred years old.

Tom Stathes has devoted himself to collecting and researching the animation from this period.  He's appeared on Turner Classic Movies to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Bray studio, the first animation company in the U.S.  He's now collaborating with Andrew T. Smith in a Kickstarter campaign to make a documentary about the silent animation era.

Pioneers like Winsor McCay, Max Fleischer, J.R. Bray, Paul Terry, Earl Hurd, Raoul Barre, Bill Nolan and Otto Messmer laid the groundwork for everything that came after.  Without them, there would have been no Walt Disney, and without Disney the animation we watch today would not exist.

This documentary is an opportunity for the animation world to explore its roots.  I've contributed to the campaign and I hope that the campaign reaches its goal.

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