When the CIA isn’t busy destabilizing other countries, they apparently like to help animation studios create cartoons. At least that’s the premise of an interesting new animation book I just found out about from FPS Magazine. The book, published by Pennsylvania State University Press, is Orwell Subverted: The CIA and the Filming of Animal Farm by Daniel J. Leab. It takes an in-depth look at the making of Halas & Batchelor’s Animal Farm, the first feature-length British animated film, and the CIA’s influence (and interference) during the production of that film. From the book’s description:
Recently, a number of works have been written–notably, those by Frances Stoner Saunders and Tony Shaw–that make reference to the underlying governmental control surrounding Animal Farm. Yet there is still much speculation and confusion as to the depth of the CIA’s interference. Leab continues where these authors left off, exploring the CIA’s dominant hand through extensive research and by giving fascinating details of the agency’s overt and subtle influences on the making of the film.
Leab’s thorough investigating makes use of sources that have been excluded in past accounts, such as CIA papers retrieved through the Freedom of Information Act and material from the Orwell Archive. He also incorporates the testimonials of animators John Halas and Joy Batchelor and, most significantly, the previously unexplored archive documents of Animal Farm producer Louis de Rochemont.