Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cartoon Night No. 1

I am teaching a new studio course to senior undergraduates called Character, Scene & Staging: Visualizing Dramatic Action for the Graphic Novel and Animation. Possibly an overly fancy title, I will concede. But at least it's descriptive. As part of the course I screened some animation last Wednesday evening with an emphasis on character. The poster below was designed by Mike Costelloe.

Among the films shown was Adventures of the Young Pioneers, a totally creepy Soviet propaganda piece from 1971 which contemplates village life under Nazi occupation. The pioneers of the title reference a quasi-Scouting organization which functioned from 1922 to the fall of the Soviet Union. Once the Germans show up they are assisted by a collaborationist Jew (!) who is eager to assist the National Socialists.

The pioneer kids are plasticky and frozen.

The buffoony Germans are constructed from cartoon vocabularies, and are much more interesting.

I'm willing to bet that the art director of the film had some familiarity with Hogan's Heroes (1966-1971). The black-clad Gestapo officer is reminiscent of Major Hochstetter [left, below] and a dumb, bunny-chasing Wehrmacht soldier reminds me of Sergeant Schultz.

The Pioneers film appears on a four-disc DVD collection titled Animated Soviet Propaganda from the October Revolution to Perestroika. The set was issued in 2006 by Films by Jove in association with Soyuzmultifilm Studio.

Below find a list of the shorts I presented on September 19, 2007. I will present a second night of animated shorts on October 16, 7:30-9:30 which will focus on storyboarding and screen composition. Anyone in the St. Louis area will be warmly welcomed at Steinberg auditorium that evening.

Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor
Fleischer Productions, distributed by Paramount, 1937
Directed by Dave Fleischer

Walt Disney Productions, 1941
Directed by Ben Sharpsteen
Scene 14, “When I See an Elephant Fly”

Twentieth Century Fox, 1977
Directed by Ralph Bakshi
Scene 13, “The Dream Machine”

Astro Boy
Tezuka Productions, Ltd.
English Language version, NBC, 1963
Directed by Osamu Tezuka
Episode 15, “Gangor the Monster”

Samurai Jack
Cartoon Network, 2005
Directed by Genndy Tartavkovsky
Season 4 Episode 41

Gerald McBoing-Boing
United Productions of America, distributed by Columbia Pictures 1952
Directed by Robert Cannon

Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends
Cartoon Network, 2005
Directed by Craig McCracken
Season 1
Episode 5, “Dinner is Swerved”

A Cowboy Needs a Horse
Walt Disney Productions, 1956
Directed by Bill Justice

Adventures of the Young Pioneers

Directed by Vladimir Pekar

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