Comments and Thoughts on Animation and Film by Harvey Deneroff header image 3


This blog is a continuation, in a way, of my old Animation Consultants International website, which ran from 2001 through December 2004. The site included a series of Commentaries, a rather extensive set of Animation Studio Links and, later, a digest of animation-related News on the Web. For this incarnation, I have scaled back my ambitions to a more traditional blog, though its scope now stretches beyond animation to “live-action” films and television, as well as anything else that strikes my fancy. I did not carry over the News on the Web but did keep up (somewhat) the Animation Studio Links, but discontinued it at the end May 2009.

— Harvey Deneroff

About Myself
Harvey Deneroff headshotI am an independent scholar based in Los Angeles. I recently retired, after 11-1/2 years, as professor in the Animation Department of the Savannah College of Art and Design.  where I mostly taught film and animation history and theory, as well as some studio classes. (I was largely based at SCAD’s Atlanta campus, though I also taught for several years in Savannah). Previously, I worked  as a writer, consultant, and animation festival and conference organizer. However, I usually like to introduce myself as an adult child of an animator. My father, Joe Deneroff, in his short career, worked at Fleischer and Famous Studios, as well as the First Army Air Force Motion Picture Unit; he also worked a freelance comic book artist and was something of a film buff.

In the days before home video, he had the pleasant habit of renting 16mm silent movies (including Chaplin comedies and films like The Covered Wagon), which he showed to family and friends on Friday nights. This, more than his work in animation, established my interest in film history;  it was an interest that became more firmly rooted after my older brother Bob took me to New York’s Museum of Modern Art to see a series of classic movies, including Intolerance, All Quiet on the Western Front and  Rashomon.

I later earned a B.A. and M.A. in filmmaking at the City College of New York and the University of Southern California; this was followed by an M.S. in Library Service from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Film History from USC. My dissertation, Popeye the Union Man: A Historical Study of the Fleischer Strike, established me as something of an expert on animation labor history and led to an interest in the business side of things.

In 1987, I founded the Society for Animation Studies, an international membership organization for scholars and filmmakers. I served the Society as its first president, helped organize several of the its annual conferences (most recently the 2009 one at SCAD-Atlanta), edited their newsletter, and briefly acted as editor of their Animation Bibliography project.

My career proper started with a stint at the American Film Institute, working on their Catalog project in Washington, DC, and heading their ill-fated Film Information Office in New York City; I later did restoration work on D.W. Griffith Biograph films for Killiam Shows. Apart from part-time teaching jobs at El Camino Community College and the University of San Diego Extension, as well as occasional library work, I fell into a career centered around writing and editing.

I was the first editor of Animation Magazine and Animation World Magazine, edited ASIFA-Hollywood’s Graffiti, and published and edited The Animation Report, an industry newsletter.  I was a regular contributor to The Hollywood Reporter and Animatoon, and also wrote occasionally for other publications, ranging from Sight and Sound and Film History to The Los Angeles Times and Skwigly.

art_of_anastasia_cover I  am the author of The Art of Anastasia (HarperCollins, 1997), and wrote pieces for John Canemaker’s Storytelling in Animation: The Art of the Animated Image (American Film Institute, 1988), John Lent’s Animation in Asia and the Pacific (John Libbey, 2001), and Jerry Beck’s Animation Art: From Pencil to Pixel, the World of Cartoon, Amime and CGI (Flame Tree/Collins Design, 2004). I also wrote the introduction to Jayne  Pilling’s anthology of SAS papers, A Reader in Animation Studies (John Libbey, 1999). More recently, I helped Fred Ladd write Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas: An Insider’s View of the Birth of a Pop Culture Phenomenon (McFarland, 2008).

I have presented papers at conferences of the Society for Animation Studies and Society for Cinema and Media Studies, and was involved with various presentations at UCLA Film and Television Archive, the American Museum of the Moving Image,  and such festivals as Annecy, Cardiff, Cartoons on the Bay, and Rewind/Fast Forward Film & Video Festival.

For two years, I was Festival Director of The Week With the Masters Animation Celebration, an animation festival held in Trivandrum, India , and was coordinator of the 1995 Ojai Animation Conference (on behalf of ASIFA-Hollywood).

Over the years, I have been been interviewed by a number of news organizations and publications, including The Miami Herald, Business Week Online, MSNBC, CNBC, Le Nouvel Economiste, The Toronto Globe & Mail, Investors’ Business Daily, Forbes, Fortune, Associated Press, Dow Jones News Service, The Portland Oregonian, CBC Radio, The Toledo Blade, and The Montreal Gazette; I have also appeared on screen in the Pen and Ink Movies episode of the Discovery Channel’s Hollywood Chronicles, on CNBC, and in three documentaries made for Warner Bros. Video DVD Popeye the Sailor collections, including Out of the Inkwell: The Fleischer Story.

About the Banner Photo Montages
The images which appear on top of this and other pages represent some of my favorite films and filmmakers. They were chosen somewhat randomly, were often included based on image availability, and may change from time to time.  In any case, I thought it would be nice to identify the titles and directors of these films, reading from left to right. (I should note that the five banners are displayed in random order, so  this list here may not reflect the order in which you see them.)

  1. The Musketeers of Pig Alley (D.W. Griffith, 1912), Felix in Hollywood (Otto Messmer, 1923), Poor Cinderella (Dave Fleischer, 1934), Grill-Room Express (Charley Bowers, 1918), and Jeux interdits (Forbidden Games) (René Clément, 1952).
  2. Superman (Dave Fleischer, 1941), Porky’s Pig Feat (Frank Tashlin, 1943), Moznosti dialogu (Dimensions of Dialogue) (Jan Svankmajer, 1982), and detail of a German poster for Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel)(Josef von Sternberg, 1930).
  3. Blowup (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966), Skazka skazok (Tale of Tales)(Yuri Norstein, 1979),  Orphée (Orpheus) (Jean Cocteau, 1950), Tol’able David (Henry King, 1921), and Little Nemo (Winsor McCay, 1911).
  4. The Skeleton Dance (Ub Iwerks, 1929), Anchors Away (George Sidney, 1945), Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939), The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Lotte Reiniger, 1926), and Fallen Idol (Carol Reed, 1948).
  5. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (Mervon LeRoy, 1932), Screen Play (Barry Purves, 1992), Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954), Ryan (Chris Landreth, 2004), and Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943).

— Harvey Deneroff

I can be contacted at: 1-404-917-9530 or harvey [at]

1 Comment

One Comment so far ↓

  • Tom

    Harvey, I found your article on the Multiplane Camera (March 4, 2008) very interesting particularly in regard to its early use by Lotte Reiniger. I thank you for it.

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