Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Walt & El Groupo Part II

A bit about the panel discussion: it was moderated by Tom Sito, a fellow New Yorker! And someone who shamefully I knew nothing about before I saw him on a panel at Comic-Con. He's worked on all the biggies that came out after I was born: Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He was president of ASIFA, teaches in colleges around L.A., and wrote several books including an update of "Timing for Animation" (which i have yet to buy.) He's got a cool website here: http://tomsito.com

The panel included director Ted Thomas, producer Kuniko Okubo, D.P. Shana Hagan, and composer James Wesley Stemple. They discussed the challenges of tracking down the people and places Walt came across, and their fidelity to the music and photography of the trip. Most of the documentary is shot is super 16 (film!!), which made D.P. Hagan giggle with delight. The filmmakers used local crews and processing facilities.

Composer Stemple spoke at length about the effort he put into the soundtrack attempting to create an accurate musical map of South America, both geographically and temporally, and of the limited number of artists and instruments he had to work with. He also composed music that complemented the narrative of the documentary. They screened one segment M.O.S. and again with his soundtrack, and it sounds like he did a great job.

We went to see Moon this weekend instead of El Group, so hopefully I'll see the documentary itself during the week.

Now for the last half of Saludos Amigos:

Aquarelle du Brésil (Watercolor of Brazil)

The snippets that we saw contained a lot of Mary Blair's work, and it's astonishing to see how faithfully it is recreated in this short. I'm used to concept art looking nothing like what appears in the final film. Those black and white wavy lines Donald and José walk over? They're not abstract, but are actually mosaics that cover the streets of Rio de Janeiro. This does not come across well in the short, but "El Groupo" has great footage of them being created.

This short introduced José Carioca, who Wikipedia tells me is kind of a big deal in Brazil. He's on a soccer team, has a secret identity called the Green Bat, and is a bit of a man-ho. I've seen him in the "Baía" segment of "The Three Caballeros." He's in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" too.

El Gaucho Goofy

I can't find an embeddable English one, so clicky here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMsK1hflkf8

Ted Thomas explained that Goofy had done a series of 'how to be a' shorts, including how to be a cowboy, so it was natural to make him a Gaucho. This is perhaps the most educational short in the film, and it appears to be the most accurate. "Walt and El Groupo" includes the footage Disney shot of these cowboys. Tom Sito commented that a movie critic back in the day made fun of the impossible dance move Goofy does, moving his feet really fast while his upper body remains rigid. The documentary shows concept art and footage proving that this is a real dance.

1 comment:

  1. Regarding a 16 year old high school student not know what a cel is: Wow.

    Toy Story only came out in 1995. Does his animation history end there?