For more than two decades, John Canemaker has created films that charm, enlighten, and touch audiences. His "toons" (featured in everything from "The World According to Garp" to "Pee-Wee's Playhouse") are often daring, frequently hilarious, and always compassionate. Showcasing his wide range of talent and emotional resonance, this collection includes his animation classics: the whimsical "Confessions of a Stardreamer," the astonishingly lovely "Bottom's Dream," the clever and witty "Confessions of a Stand-Up," the enchanting "Wizard's Son," and the wondrously beautiful "Bridgehampton." Also included are selections from Canemaker's collaboarative work including "Behind the Scenes," "The DNA Concerto," early TV spots for Gay Men's Health Crisis, and excerpts from the award-winning documentaries, "What Do Children Think of When They Think of the Bomb" and "Break the Silence: Kids Against Child Abuse." These magical and moving films are enduring treasures of animation that will delight viewers for generations to come.
The visual diversity of these striking personal films reflects John Canemaker's encyclopedic knowledge of animation history: the artist-author draws on the work of John and Faith Hubley, Oskar Fischinger, the National Film Board of Canada, and the Disney tradition of character animation. In "Bottom's Dream," a meditation on "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Canemaker blends pastels, pencil, water color, and cels to evoke the clown's bewildering experiences. He employs similarly mixed media to explore the stream-of-subconscious ramblings of wannabe performers in "Confessions of a Star Dreamer" and "Confessions of a Stand-Up." "Bridgehampton," an evocation of the changing seasons, is a genuine rarity--an independent film the viewer wishes was longer. Canemaker is best known for adapting the look of children's artwork, which he uses to heartbreaking effect in two moving clips from the special "Break the Silence: Kids Against Child Abuse." Unrated: Suitable for ages 10 and older. Mature themes. --Charles Solomon