We just got back from a screening of the film Dream On Silly Dreamer at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA. The theatre has a very large forecourt which was jam-packed with people... people we soon learned were almost exclusively former Disney animators. What a gathering of talent! I went to get Victoria and I a glass of wine, but the line was just too long. When I found her again, she introduced me to Andreas Deja whom she had just met. He was very charming and kindly obliged us with a souvenir of the evening:
At 7:30, the theatre doors were opened and we filed in. The Alex has a capacity of 1445. It was filled! A few minutes after 8:00, the lights dimmed and someone walked out onto the stage. When the lights came up, we saw that it was Roy Disney. The theatre erupted into an extended standing ovation. Roy delivered a few welcoming remarks then introduced the film's producer, Tony West and director, Dan Lund. After they spoke about the making of the film, an a capella group called "Reverse Osmosis" sang a couple of Disney songs. Then the film started. If you can find a way... see this film. Using animated sequences and the reminiscenses of the animators, it tells of the dedication felt by the Disney animators, how hard they worked to make the films wonderful and how much they loved what they did. It also tells the story of the demise of 2D animation and the firing of over 200 artists at Disney Animation in Burbank. It is whimsical and sad at the same time. After being told by management that the 2D animators were were no longer needed... presumably because the public now only wanted CGI... one of the more thought-provoking observations was made by one animator who said, "They had the London Philharmonic and they wanted a boy band."
A more complete synopsis can be found at http://www.dreamonsillydreamer.com/about.html
After the film ended, the singers returned to the stage to sing "When You Wish Upon A Star" and the evening ended.On March 25, 2002, more than 200 Disney artists working at the studio’s legendary Feature Animation Department in Burbank, were told that their services were no longer needed by the company. It took only one uncomfortable gathering with the president of Feature Animation, now dubbed “The Tom Meeting”, to kill 75 years of a beloved animated tradition. A similar series of events soon played out at Disney’s other animation studios in Paris, Tokyo and Florida. Doors were closed for good and in total nearly 1300 skilled artists and craftsmen were fired. The company, best known for it’s handcrafted animated features, no longer wanted artists to draw for them.