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Tony White p3

Animator Tony White recommends some great books on animation and animators...

READERSVOICE.COM: What are some of the most striking animated movies you’ve come across in your 2D or Not 2D Festival since 2006?

TONY WHITE: There have been so many wonderful films that it’s really hard to make a clear choice. However, in terms of feature length films I would say without hesitation The Secret of Kells, which is a wonderful film from Ireland that was ultimately nominated for an Academy Award a year or so ago. I invited the director, Tomm Moore, and art director, Ross Stewart, over to Seattle for the event and they and their movie proved to be an extremely popular item with audiences.
In terms of short films we have shown, I would say that The Chestnut Tree, by Hyun-min Lee, was one of my all-time favorites… being a very beautiful and sensitively animated addition to the program. That too went on to get an Oscar nomination! Beyond that it is really difficult for me to single out other individual films as by the time they are accepted for screening I invariable like them all anyway!

RV: Can you recommend some of your favorite biographies of animators?

TW: You know, I don’t really read a lot about animators and their lives. I prefer to marvel at their works rather than dig into their personal experiences. Actually, unless you are Chuck Jones or Walt Disney, very few recognized publishers bother much about animator’s biographies… then tend to prefer regular film stars or movie directors above animators in the entertainment industry biographical stakes.
That said, I have to say I enjoyed Frank and Ollie’s Illusion of Life [on Disney animation, by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston] when it first came out, although it’s not strictly speaking a biography as such. I guess I have both the Rob Thomas [Walt Disney: An American Original] and Neal Gabler [Walt Disney, The Triumph of the American Imagination] books on Walt Disney of course, and Chuck Amuck [by Chuck Jones] is always a valuable read for any Warner Brothers fan.
One book that many people do not know about is Animation from Script to Screen by Shamus Culhane… although again, that’s really an animation ‘how to’ book rather than a biography.

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-copyright Simon Sandall