Video: 100 Masters of Animated Short Films


‘Winsor McCay and his Animated Pictures’ looks at the great animator’s process.

One of Keyframe’s most popular articles from last year was its illustrated guide to 100 masters of the animated short film. Film animation has thrived for over a century, but has never seen quite the level of recognition afforded to live-action feature filmmakers. And while there are plenty of outstanding animated features to celebrate, a list of those films wouldn’t boast nearly as much eye-popping diversity as those represented by this list. Working within the compressed parameters of the short form, some of the most unique talents in the field of animation delivered their inimitable visions with maximum potency in a matter of mere minutes or even seconds. This video attempts to demonstrate that spectrum of brilliance with as much brevity: 100 masters in nine minutes.  Of course such a video can’t possibly do full justice to each of these artists,  but watching this visual roll call of animation heroes proceed, what’s remarkable is how strong a visual impression just a few seconds of each artist can make.

Video: 100 Masters of Animated Short Films

This video would not be possible without the work of some of my old friends at the IMDb Classic Film Board, who first created this list back in 2008. They have since followed up to produce a list of 250 Great Animated Short Films, which can serve as an excellent guide if you’re looking for specific titles to explore any of the artists featured in this video. Suggestions for further viewing are also listed in the list of the 100 masters.  And Fandor has films by several of these featured artists:

Jirí Barta
Émile Cohl
Dave Fleischer
Kihachiro Kawamoto
Winsor McCay
Otto Messmer
Tezuka Osamu
Stephen and Timothy Quay
Wladyslaw Starewicz
Jan Svankmajer

Special thanks to Lee Price, who organized the compilation of both lists, and is currently writing in-depth entries about the 250 Great Animated Short Films on his blog, as well as on Press Play.

Kevin B. Lee is Editor in Chief of IndieWire’s PressPlay Video Blog, Founding Editor and Video Essayist for Fandor’s Keyframe, and a contributor to Roger Follow him on Twitter.

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