I’ve never been a great Salvador Dali fan, although I do appreciate his value as an artist. However, I saw something very compelling today that – while not altering my impression of his paintings – has changed my mind as to his work. I was privileged to attend a presentation by Roy Disney, introducing a short animated feature film, begun in 1946 as a collaboration between Messrs. Dali and Walt Disney. The collaboration never bore fruit until a few months ago, when the completed piece, 57 years in the making, was presented at select Film Festivals (just recently winning best animated Short at the Melbourne International Film Festival). It was shown tonight to members of the Producers Guild, who had been invited to attend a screening of Disney’s new Feature, Brother Bear (but more on that later).

The Dali/Disney Short was presented twice, with some comments in between by Mr. Disney. I’m glad for the second viewing, as I was able to really explore some of the more obscure “morphing” sections of the piece.

Fragments of the original unfinished film “Destino” along with story boards, sketches and an original score were painstakingly put together by a team assembled by Disney’s nephew Roy Disney after they were discovered in the studio’s vaults. The result was beautiful.

For more info, click on any of the following links:

This one…

…and this one even has video clips!

As to the “Main Event”, namely “Brother Bear”, it was another Disney home run. A beautifully told story, with lovingly textured traditional animation, and content that will be sure to make a parent proud to take their kid to the movies. It’s a story filled with ancient lore, Spirits, Shamans, Totem, animals that talk, and even a healthy tribute to Strange Brew, that cult fave Canadian export. I wonder if all that non-Christian content will get as roundly criticized as the Harry Potter books…

[update 11/26/2009: The final version of Destino can be found on YouTube, by entering the word “Destino” (strangely enough!) in the search box. I cannot embed the video here, however, as I believe it is an unauthorized posting]