Day 167: Reflections of 2016: When Henry Meet Mister Kennedy

Recently I've been going through my archives looking for cool stuff to post about and ran across photo's from the GLAS Animation Festival this past March in Berkeley. What a fantastic time I had meeting the founders of the founders Jeanette and Einar, in an Air BNB over beers.

I told them of my activities on my junior review of pitching a chance to create a group animated project for my senior thesis and use that film to get my dream job of working at Laika. They asked “why Laika?” and I began to tell them of how the studio is really respecting the craft of stop-motion animation while looking for ways to embrace the technology side of things. I then started talking about rapid prototyping and how I had worked with the Berkeley Chapter of Siggraph to bring in story artist Dave Vandervoort and a recruiter, before they pivoted to talking about experimental animation. Needless to say I guess my outward openness on stop-motion animation allotted me the opportunity to work with them on managing event engagements with Henry Selick.  

This past March, I had the opportunity to see Coraline in 3D along with the directors of the GLAS Animation Festival, as we as with Henry Selick. Truly a life altering moment in my life as a fan and as a student of stop-motion animation. For years, I've admired the talents of Mr. Selick for the way in which he has been able to create worlds of narrative engagement, both visually and narratively. It seemed like only yesterday, actually six-years-ago to the date when Variety's Peter Debruge reported Henry Selick returns to Disney.

Selick started out working at the Disney Animation Studios back in the 70's so this return home for him is bringing his career full circle, reuniting him not only with a brilliant team of animators and filmmakers but with friends. James and the Giant Peach took 2D and stop-motion out of the equation for a while, but the resurgence of the medium last year and the success of both Coraline and The Fantastic Mr. Fox have breathed life into this style of a film. With Selick at the helm, the results will surely be spectacular. 

So what happened to the film everyone I know had been anticipating since the cat disappears behind the Pink Place Apartment sign post, at the end of Coraline? Well, a lot.

Selick was scheduled to craft four features for Disney/Pixar, consisting of original and literary properties. However, in the six years since Disney has removed itself from the project, reporting to have spent $50 million dollars, and being uncertain over concerns over future costs and benefits.

Selick spoke briefly on the situation, yet it seems that he has put it behind him with projects currently in talks that I can’t mention hear. I still wonder what could have been if the folks at Disney/Pixar had allowed Selick to continue.

There's much more that I wish I could share from the lectures, and the personal conversation that I had with Selick, yet I'm working on putting things together in a more professional repository. A side note, the photos of Selick and I was during a " make me laugh first contest". As you can see I won.