Nearly two years in the making, DREAM ON SILLY DREAMER marks the sad, final chapter of the now extinct hand-drawn art form that was the cornerstone of Walt Disney Feature Animation. Building on the rich seventy seven year history of an American icon and paying homage to the Disney classics, Dan Lund and Tony West tell the revealing tale of how that storied icon came to a crashing, albeit untimely, end.
“Documenting myself and my friends losing our jobs, while it was happening, proved to be the most difficult exercise in film making I have ever experienced,” said Lund, the film’s director. DREAMER represents Lund’s fourth directorial effort and is by far his most personal work to date.
First time producer, Tony West says, “Producing DREAMER has been a dream come true but also came with great professional sacrifice.” West faced “one of the most difficult choices of my life,” shortly after he was laid off by Walt Disney Feature Animation. “I had a very lucrative job offer from a major animation studio in Canada,” West remembers.
“But after nearly fifteen years of animating for Disney, if they didn’t want me, I was ready to try something new. I’ve always wondered exactly what a producer does, now I know. And I love it!” West chose the path of most resistance, turned down guaranteed employment and jumped headlong into the producer’s responsibilities on DREAMER. He has never looked back.
Using guerilla-style film making techniques to their finest, Lund began interviewing coworkers and colleagues the day after they were told they were to be fired. Charged with energy and raw emotion, audiences will listen in utter disbelief to the finest artists and animators in the business, as they desperately try to make sense of their unbelievable situation and their inevitable fate.
Original, whimsical animation has been seamlessly woven into the narrative fabric of the documentary. “The animation was our humble attempt to honor the incredible legacy that we were all lucky enough to be a part of,” says Lund. In addition, the animation serves to keep the mood of DREAMER light even as events unfold and the story becomes ominous and the outcome uncertain.
“Throughout the entire process we’ve tried to recapture the spirit of the ‘good old days’ and remember what we once had,” the duo adds. “When things at Disney got really bad, it became clear that all of the good memories were being lost and were in danger of being forgotten,” says Lund. “This was our celebration, our valentine to an era that ended all too soon, for all the wrong reasons.”
not all fairy tales have a happy ending. No matter how much we wished
On March 25, 2002, more than 200 Disney artists working at the studio’s legendary Feature Animation Department in Burbank, were told that their services were no longer needed by the company. It took only one uncomfortable gathering with the president of Feature Animation, now dubbed “The Tom Meeting”, to kill 75 years of a beloved animated tradition. A similar series of events soon played out at Disney’s other animation studios in Paris, Tokyo and Florida. Doors were closed for good and in total nearly 1300 skilled artists and craftsmen were fired. The company, best known for it’s handcrafted animated features, no longer wanted artists to draw for them.
DREAM ON SILLY DREAMER is the new animated documentary, from director Dan Lund and producer Tony West, that tells this tale. It features interviews recorded only seconds after the now infamous “Tom Meeting”. You will hear what was said, the reasons offered by the company and feel the emotional responses from those being affected at that moment in time. In this documentary , you will meet a handful of these artists, hear their side of the story and share in their recollections of “the good old days”.
One of the most surprising revelations comes as we see the artists, who did nothing but give their all to the studio, question how much they may have contributed to this sad state of affairs.
as a modern-day fairy tale, DREAMER pays homage to the classic Winnie
The Pooh shorts. An artist’s sketch book becomes the viewer’s
window into this documentary realm with original, animated vignettes
helping to tell a side of the story that the world has never heard.
This film will touch anyone who has ever dreamed, believed in fairy
tales, wished upon a star or shared in a special Disney moment.
Copyright © 2004 Dan Lund & Tony West . All Rights Reserved.