Goodies from USC’s Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive

King Vidor being interviewed by Arthur Knight at USC

By chance I happened on the site of the University of Southern California’s Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive, which has posted a small number of items of interest in their Online Media listings. These include part 1 of an interview by film critic/historian Arthur Knight (my mentor at USC) with director King Vidor (The Big Parade, The Crowd, Hallelujah! , etc.) (see frame grab above); there’s also a film of a talk by legendary montage specialist and experimental filmmaker Slavko Vorkapich at USC, where he once served as chair of the Cinema Department  (he’s briefly introduced by Bernie Kantor who was one his successors).  In the animation realm, there’s a 1976 audio recording of an interview by a woman unknown with animation pioneer Lotte Reiniger  (The Adventures of Prince Achmed) done in England, where she lived and worked in the years after World War II.

Boris Morkovin at USC 1937

Then there’s what the Hefner Archive mislabels as

a photocopy of an animation course from 1935 led by Boris V. Morkovin, who worked for Disney and wrote the screenplay for “The Three Little Pigs.” [sic]  It appears that this course is one of the first animation classes ever offered at USC.

According to the USC Cinematic Arts website,

Animation instruction at USC goes back to the Spring of 1933, when Cinema Chair Dr. Boris Morkovin lectured on Walt Disney cartoons and had Walt Disney himself to the campus to meet with students.

A transcript of that lecture would indeed be lovely to have, but what’s posted is actually a Disney Studio transcript and summary of the first in a series of classes Morkovin gave at Disney on “Technology and Psychology of the Animated Cartoon (Studio Course),” November 14, 1935. The lecture series is not entirely unknown, and Hans Perk previously posted material on the class from the Disney Studio Bulletin, No. 12 (March 9, 1936) here and here.  Mislabeled or not, it’s still most welcome.

(The 1937 Morkovin photo above is from Michael Goldman’s book, Reality Ends Here 80 Years of USC Cinematic Arts.)

SAS 2013 — Redefining Animation This year’s Society for Animation Studies conference will be held at the University of Southern California (one of my alma maters), June 23-27,  under the theme of “Redefining Animation.” It is being held under the auspices of The John C Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts of USC’s School of Cinematic Art.

There is a bevy of keynote speakers plus a talk by DreamWorks Animation’s CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg at the opening reception. The keynoters include: story artist and animator Tom Sito (“Moving Innovation, A History of Computer Animation”), visual effects supervisor Mike Fink (“Visual Effects Paridiso”), video installation artist Davide Quayola who will talk about his work, game designer Tracy Fullerton (“Dream Worlds: Imagining the Worlds of Walden and The Night Journey”) and robotics designer David Hanson (“Intelligent, Embodied Animation—when art comes to life, literally).

More important are the usual wide range of papers being given by scholars and filmmakers from around the world. I am delighted to be co-presenting a paper with my wife, Victoria, on “Rethinking the Metanarrative of Character Animation.” I am also proud that two of my students,  Maureen Monaghan and John-Michael Kirkconnell, will also be there as well. Some presentations that also caught my fancy include:

  • Rose Bond, “Poetics & Public Projection: Layered History – Redrawn Memory”
  • Donald Crafton, “Inside and Outside the Toon Body: Somatic Integrity Throughout Animation History”
  • Charles daCosta, “Cracking the frame: Oral Tradition as a reflection of non-cinematic animation in sub-Saharan West-Africa”
  • Ruth Hayes, “Quantifying and Visualizing Animators’ Styles of Motion: an analytical and pedagogical tool”
  • Susan Ohmer, “Mass-Production and High Art: Disney and the Courvoisier Gallery c. 1940”
  • Caress Reeves, “Animation as Political Radicalism: Black Animators in the Field”
  • Gunnar Strom, “Industrial Animation: Boring Information or Communication Art?”
  • Reza Yousefzadeh, “Inter-cultural Communication and Subversive Realism:Iranian socially?engaged animation”

Full information on the conference and schedule of events and presenters is found here. For information on the Society for Animation Studies, including membership, go here.