When Disney animators Dan Lund and Tony West were asked in March of 2002 to put their pencils down and pack their things (along with more than 200 other traditional artists), they pooled their resources to make Dream On Silly Dreamer, a new partly animated documentary on the demise of 2D animation at the House of Mouse. The film is scheduled to screen in Minneapolis on Thursday as Disney shareholders prepare for the company’s annual meeting there on Friday.
Directed by Lund and produced by West, the 40-minute doc features interviews recorded only seconds after the now infamous March meeting where the 2D animators at Disney Feature Animation in Burbank were told their services were no longer needed. The film offers a rare opportunity to hear what was said, the reasons offered by the company and the emotional responses from those affected by the decision.
"Documenting myself and my friends losing our jobs while it was happening, proved to be the most difficult exercise in filmmaking I have ever experienced," Lund comments on the film’s website, www.dreamonsillydreamer.com.
West, a first-time producer, says he did the unthinkable and turned down a very lucrative job offer from a major Canadian animation studio in to work on Dreamer. He previously worked on effects animation for such films as The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Mulan.
Nearly two years in the making, Dreamer is told as a modern-day fairy tale, borrowing a Winnie The Pooh device as an artist’s sketch-book opens up to reveal the various sides of the story. The film is also augmented with original, animated vignettes.
"The animation was our humble attempt to honor the incredible legacy that we were all lucky enough to be a part of," says Lund. The producers say the animation also serves to provide levity to what could otherwise be a sad story of disenfranchisement.
The documentary had its world premiere on Jan. 31 at the Animex Int’l Festival of Animation in Middlesbrough, England.
Presented by the Independent Film Project (IFP), Dream On Silly Dreamer screens Thursday, Feb. 10th at the Crown Theater located at 600 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55402 on BLOCK E. Show times are 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Admission is free.