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Unsung Heroes of Animation

Unsung Heroes of Animation

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Unsung Heroes of Animation

By Chris Robinson

Publication date: 2005
Total pages: 256
ISBN: 0 86196 665 1
Price: £ 17.50


Far beyond the Shrek, Toy Story and The Emperor’s New Groove billboards is a hidden little world that contains a variety of voices struggling to be seen and heard through the shouts from Hollywood. They are independent animators or personal filmmakers. These are animated films made with a wide array of techniques, themes and concepts that bear very little resemblance to the cookie cutter world of Hollywood animation.

Unsung Heroes of Animation profiles about 25 animators introducing readers to the artist, their life and work. Each chapter contains stills from the filmmakers’ work along with a detailed filmography and information about finding the works. The title of the book been unabashedly appropriated from Nick Tosches’ Unsung Heroes of Rock and Roll. In his seminal book, he introduces readers to a variety of rock and roll pioneers whose work was either forgotten or overlooked. Chris Robinson does not intend to dig too far into animation’s past as most of the unsung animators are contemporary and have been so thoroughly marginalized that they haven’t even reached a level of being forgotten. You must be first known to be ignored!


When future cinema archaeologists dig deep into the history of the art form that was animation, and its artists, during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, this excellent collection of insightful biographical essays by Chris Robinson, a modern Vasari, will provide invaluable illumination. As Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival, Robinson is the perfect guide, viewing as he does over 1000 animated films a year. His book focuses on a world of little known, fiercely independent contemporary animators. Robinson writes with keen perception and a critical eye; he is sincere, compassionate and always passionate about his subjects, many of whom push the borders of film content and technique wide open. His unfailingly evocative descriptions of the works make one hungry to see them. ‘Let’s end the obscurity here and now’, demands Robinson, whose new book goes a long way toward doing just that.
John Canemaker

Opinionated, provocative, sometimes infuriating but always worth reading, Chris Robinson writes straight from the heart, and with a candour that is as rare as it is valuable. Anyone with even the slightest interest in the best of contemporary art animation can’t afford not to read this collection of essays.
Jayne Pilling, Editor of A Reader in Animation Studies

Chris Robinson’s Unsung Heroes of Animation is a highly commendable project as he gives recognition to exciting talents who are not well known. Moreover he writes in depth, informative essays instead of brief, almost meaningless pieces that fail to capture the uniqueness of the artist and their work. He provides insights, not praise. He also takes risks and includes little known artists who are not universally recognized by the public. When I opened his manuscript I was so delighted with it that I found it hard to put it down. This volume is an important contribution to our knowledge of contemporary animation
Karl Cohen, author of Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators

While other books on independent animation primarily have featured images, Unsung Heroes of Animation also provides a much needed contextual framework for appreciating a range of innovative works. Clearly written and well-researched, the essays in this book add significantly to our understanding of animation art. This collection should find a home in every animation library, and will appeal to anyone seeking animated work that’s beyond the mainstream.
Maureen Furniss, Founding Editor, Animation Journal


Chris Robinson is an author, freelance writer and the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival

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