Monday, July 01, 2013

John D. Wilson, RIP

From the Guardian:

The pioneering animator John David Wilson, who has died aged 93, launched his studio, Fine Arts Films, in 1955 and found success with his first short subject, an adaptation of a Japanese folk tale, "Tara the Stonecutter," which was screened in America with Teinosuke Kinugasa's Oscar-winning samurai drama "Jigokumon" (Gate of Hell, 1953). Next came Petroushka (1956), for which Igor Stravinsky (despite negative feelings towards animation following Disney's "Fantasia") was persuaded by Wilson to prepare a shortened score for the film and conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the soundtrack. "Petroushka" won several festival awards and was the first animated film to be accepted by the Venice film festival.

Wilson's diverse productions ranged from innovative TV commercials for Instant Butter-Nut Coffee, made with the actor and humorist Stan Freberg, to a groundbreaking 15-minute film, "Journey to the Stars," for the United States Science exhibit at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. The film was projected on a hemispherical 360-degree, 75ft screen and was shown more than 6,000 times before a total audience of 4.5 million people. ...

Mr. Wilson had a long and productive career in animation: trailers, shorts, commercials and animated features were all part of his resume. He also worked on David Lean's Great Expectations.


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