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World premiere for Dream on Silly Dreamer

21 January 05

Dream On Silly Dreamer, a new animated documentary which describes the impact of job losses in Disney Studios, is to receive its world premiere in the Tees Valley. The film will be screened as part of the Animex festival, an annual international celebration of animation organised by the University of Teesside. The premiere takes place at The Arc cinema, Dovecot Street, Stockton-on-Tees on Monday 31 January at 8pm. Members of the public are invited, at £2 per ticket.

In 2002, more than 200 artists who worked at Disney’s legendary Feature Animation Department in Burbank, Los Angeles were told by the President of Feature Animation that their services were no longer required, and would be replaced by computers. This meeting came to be known as the ‘Tom Meeting’, after the then president of the feature animation division, Thomas Schumacher, who conducted it. The meeting ended 75 years of animation tradition. Similar meetings took place at Disney’s other animation studios in Florida, Paris and Tokyo. In total, nearly 1,300 skilled artists and craftsmen were fired, as Disney no longer wanted artists to draw for them.

Dream on Silly Dreamer is told in the style of a modern-day fairy tale, paying homage to the classic Winnie The Pooh short films. It features interviews with artists recorded only seconds after the ‘Tom Meeting’.

Audiences can hear what was said at the meeting, reasons offered by Disney and the emotional responses from those affected. A handful of the artists give their side of the story and share their recollections of “the good old days.” Some even question how much they contributed to the job losses.

Tony West, the film’s Producer, and Director Dan Lund will be flying over from the USA to attend the world premiere. Both are former effects animators with Disney. They have worked on several major Disney films, including Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. The day after the ‘Tom Meeting’ Dan began interviewing the shocked animators, which was a personal challenge as he was one of those laid off. Tony and Dan will be available for media interviews / photographs at 12 noon on Monday 31 January, at The Top Floor Gallery, Arc, Dovecot Street, Stockton-on-Tees.

Tony West said: “Both Dan and I are excited to premiere Dreamer at the Animex International Festival of Animation. A number of our colleagues have suggested Animex as a fantastic place to screen Dreamer because of the festival's dedication to the craft of animation and also because of the large number of students who attend Animex. Our film's honest look inside a major animation studio may prove an eye opener to students seeking careers in the business.”

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