Disney display to transform centre into fairytale land

WITH its recently opened Tim Burton show already a hit, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image has announced it will host a big exhibition of fairytale-themed Disney animation artwork in November.

Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney’s Classic Fairy Tales will feature character sketches, backgrounds and final animation cels from seven Disney films, ranging from the company’s first animated feature, 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to its most recent, Tangled, which opens in the US in late November and in Australia in January.

Given that Snow White was the world’s first animated feature and Tangled will showcase Disney’s attempt to merge traditional hand-drawn animation with computer-generated and 3D forms, the exhibition will also, by default, be a history of the animated feature.

Dreams Come True marks the third big exhibition at ACMI drawn in part or in full from the crowd-pleasing work of Disney.

In 2007, the gallery mounted the exhibition Pixar: 20 Years of Animation, which attracted about 160,000 visitors. Tim Burton: The Exhibition last week passed the 100,000-visitor mark, five weeks into its 18-week run.

Pixar was bought by Disney in 2006 and Burton has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the studio since the 1970s.

”I don’t have shares in Disney,” joked ACMI director Tony Sweeney yesterday. ”We have good relations with all the major studios, but … Disney was the studio that really turned animation into the grand art it’s become. It’s about the range of work and the quality, and the number of people who see Disney as one of the major influences, whether they’re still working with it or they did in the past.”

Melbourne will be only the second city to host the exhibition, which was conceived by Pixar founder John Lasseter as a gift to the people of post-hurricane Katrina New Orleans. It was staged there last year, but Melbourne’s exhibition will feature more than 600 items and be reconfigured for the ACMI space.

”I don’t think there’s anything like this [ACMI] in Los Angeles,” said Roy Conli, the producer of Tangled, who has been in Melbourne this week finalising details for the show. ”We’re the capital of American film, and we should have something as beautiful and stunning as this. It’s a national treasure for you guys.”

Of course, cynics may wonder about the happy congruence between the exhibition – which is drawn exclusively from Disney’s own animation research library – and the imminent release of a new Disney film.

”Certainly, that it comes out two months before the film opens is possibly advantageous,” Mr Conli said. ”But it’s certainly not the driving force behind the exhibition.”

Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney’s Classic Fairy Tales will be at ACMI from November 18 to April 26, 2011.


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