Monday, 8 June 2015

Canadian animation seeks museum

Not Canadian, but Eadweard Muybridge would have to be
included in a museum of animation.

"For years, 600 boxes of animation cels and other materials have been hidden away in boxes, and moved several times from place to place." Elaine Della-Mattia, Sault Star.
In this time of economic woes, museums have been suffering. Not considered essential by most people, museums are increasingly resorting to the deaccession of some of their holdings just to stay competitive. In Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, the task is even greater. They have an animation collection that was appraised at about $11 million in 2009, but it has no museum at all. A museum might cost about $8 million, but that is a tall order for a town with a population only about 75,000.

Yet, a world class animation museum would not only bring in tourist dollars, but it would express the fact that Canada has been important in the history of animation since the time of Oscar winner Norman McLaren who was a pioneer in animation technique. But would this already be a world class collection? The two news reports linked here mention three parcels of material from Canadian productions. That is perfectly acceptable providing there is other material present that shows the history of animation and Canadian content should certainly be emphasized in a Canadian museum.

Personally, I would contact the award-winning Canadian animator, Richard Reeves who had attended Sault College of Applied Arts & Technology in Sault Ste. Marie. Following and innovating on the traditions of Norman McLaren, Richard would have much to advise about the foundation of such a museum. My wife was an animator and introduced me to Richard. We visited him when he was living on a small island of the British Columbia coast and had a great time there (apart from when I fell in an abandoned well while I was picking peaches). Here is one of his best known animated shorts, hand drawn on film (including the sound track).

Another notable Canadian animator died in 2013: Frédéric Back beat Norman McLaren by earning two Oscars and being nominated for two more. I met him only once when he brought the following Oscar winning animated film to Calgary's Quickdraw Animation Society, The Man who Planted Trees:

I wish Sault Ste. Marie the very best of luck in getting an animation museum. Canada really should have one. I also hope you liked the movies (sorry there was no popcorn).

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