One of the highlights of last year's Doc NYC Film Festival was a film called "Persistence of Vision," that tracked the seemingly endless work by Canadian-born animator Richard Williams, on his never-truly-completed animated feature that would end up being released as "The Thief and the Cobbler." Now, watch a clip from the movie and come by the 92nd Street Y in New York City on Friday for a special screening of "Persistence of Vision," followed by a Q&A with director Kevin Schreck hosted by yours truly.
All this week at the 92nd Street Y, there will be programming devoted to "Persistence of Vision" and its truly unique subject. It starts tomorrow with a screening of Robert Zemeckis' daffy masterpiece "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" (timed to its 25th anniversary), hosted by animator and screenwriter Richard Gorey. Williams and his London studio did the work behind the animated sections of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?," which is both a testament to Williams' talent. Then on Thursday, which is also Williams' 80th birthday (!), a collection of his shorts, commercials, and title sequences (like the memorable one he did for the goofy spy spoof "The Liquidator") will be screened, culminating in his 30-minute short "The Little Island;" that night will be hosted by animator Michael Sporn.
And then, on Friday night, there will be two screenings of "Persistence of Vision" – a 7 pm screening (hosted by Cartoon Brew principle Amid Amidi) and then a 9 pm screening, hosted by me. Both will feature a post-film discussion with Schreck and will be really, really fun (promise). It will be a great conclusion to this mini-Williams retrospective and if you are a documentary or animation nut, it's more or less required viewing.
The clip Schreck has provided is a great encapsulation of the movie, as you see Williams talk about how epic the movie has to be, while admitting that the entire project amounts to "the mammoth ego trip of Dick Williams" (you can say that again). You can also see glimpses of the dizzying animation that made people so excited about the project in the first place. "Persistence of Vision" is a compulsive, profound look at a failed masterpiece, and one that is simultaneously galvanizing and incredibly depressing.
Additional information and tickets for the entire Richard Williams retrospective can be found here.