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News From Our Tiny Corner Of The Movie World:
In February 2002, I was summoned to Hollywood, and in a giant gala was presented with a golden “Annie” (from “Animation,” get it?) for a “Lifetime Contribution to the Art of Animation.” It was nice, I suppose, that they didn’t wait until my life was actually over. (Since getting the award I’ve been trying to sneak in some further contributions.) The most amazing thing about this golden object, (specifically called The Winsor McCay Award, named for the first great American animator), is the list of previous winners. In case you don’t know the names of great animators of years past, here is a small sampling of the earlier McCay award winners since the year 1972:
John Hubley, Bobe Cannon,Ub Iwerks, Preston Blair, Ward Kimball, Fred Moore, Ray Harryhausen, Norman McClaren, Bill Hurtz, Tex Avery, Friz Freling,…….all titans. They went through the truly greats of animation, and this year worked their way down to me! It is a staggering honor for me to be joined to such noble company.
Our two newest films bring me together again with one of my oldest colleagues, Jules Feiffer. I gave Jules his first steady job in animation 50 years ago, when I was the creative chief of CBS-Terrytoons in the mid-1950s. Jules was on my writing staff, and he contributed to many of our best cartoon films there, including the Tom Terrific series. Later, in Prague, I produced our Oscar-winning film from Jules’story, MUNRO. That was in 1960. Since then Jules has become a world famous cartoonist, playwright, and movie screenplay author. And recently, he ventured into the area of children’s picture books, creating a stream of great ones. So 44 years after MUNRO, Jules and Gene were working together again, and the results are two of our best children’s films in years. They are BARK, GEORGE, and I LOST MY BEAR, two typically Feiffer stories, with his usual wit, insights, and precise dialog. Zdenka and her remarkable staff of animators, and I, with my usual effort to faithfully transform and illuminate a book in cinematic form, have come up with two little films we are especially proud of.


If you have kids, or are a kid, or would like to be a kid, then try to get these little 7-minute truly funny movies. Both are available from our longtime (40 years) production partner, Weston Woods Studios, Inc. of Norwalk, Connecticut, a subsidiary company of Scholastic Publishers, (who also publish Harry Potter books!).For information of availability, write to Leigh Corra at Weston Woods Studios, 143 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851USA, 1-203-845-0197, mreilly@scholastic.com