Friday, September 14, 2007

Animating the Animator

Chris Landreth animates himself in his award winning short RYAN

Chris Landreth pays tribute to the life and legacy of Ryan Larkin in a brilliant visual masterpiece of animation art.

Chris Landreth (born 1961 in Hartford, CT), an American director, animator and writer working in Canada, uses standard CGI animation in his work. But well beyond that, he often puts his signature touch of surrealist styling into his animated shorts. He does so especially successfully in Ryan, a 2004 Oscar winning animated psychological documentary of Ryan Larkin (1943-2007), featuring actual taped interviews as voiceover.

Chris calls his stunning and unembellished visual portraiture 'Psychorealism'.

Ryan Larkin was a renowned animator in the 60s and 70s, who had gotten caught up in a downward spiral of excessive drinking, cocaine abuse, and homelessness which eventually lead to his death in February 2007 at age 64.

When asked how he came up with the idea for Ryan, Landreth said,

"I met Ryan Larkin in the summer of 2000. I hung out with him for one week and thought, "What a life story this guy has". It has all the elements of drama. It's got tragedy, comedy, absurdity, [and] this redemptive element. And there are some other themes as a result of it that are about Ryan, but also about alcoholism, addiction, mental illness and fear of failure."

[Must see: Hollow Man on CROSS-CULTURAL OUTLINE]

[For a different kind of animation: click here]


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