Last week we were given the unique opportunity to visit Pixar Animation Studios in Marin County, California. The sprawling studio has the airy look and feel of a college campus (while we were eating lunch an impromptu soccer game broke out on the green patch of grass in between buildings) and a similarly goofy intellectual vibe. It seems like the kind of place where anything can happen (and often does). Not that the folks at Pixar are content to just keep that magic to themselves. After veteran British director Ken Loach made a desperate appeal for some last-minute editorial supplies, the Pixar editing team saved the day. And even included a little sketch of Mike and Sulley surrounded by spools of film.
To explain: last week Loach put out a call through website Screen Daily, looking for a batch of “film numbering tape,” a tape used to identify sound and picture when cutting film stock. Loach has refused the move to digital and still edits everything by hand. The tape is needed to complete what the filmmaker believes to be his final film, “Jimmy’s Hall.”
Steve Bloom, an editor at Pixar who most recently worked on this summer’s exemplary “Monsters University,” jumped at the chance to help one of his heroes. Bloom sent the studio’s entire stock of numbering tape (amazing that they’d have any, really, given that the studio is so digital), along with a specially drawn picture of Mike and Sulley, in the editing room, with rolls of film piled up around them. Nine Pixar editors, all huge fans of Loach’s, signed a good luck card.
Loach told Screen Daily, “We were delighted to know that Pixar is still in love with the same technology as us. We hope to get to meet them along the way. We’ve had a tinful of tape from a few other friends as well and we’re very grateful.” Loach also sent Pixar a photo of himself and his two editors utilizing the tape, although the photo isn’t quite as cute as the drawling of the two monsters.
Historical drama “Jimmy’s Hall” will, thanks to a little help from the folks who made “Toy Story,” will be out sometime next year.