Mark is not only one of the best animators in the business (Beauty & The Beast, Roger Rabbit, The Lion King, etc.), but one of its greatest historians. With this film he combined two great passions to create one remarkably entertaining film. We asked Mark himself to introduce the film. Here’s what he has to say:
You are invited to see and hear a miracle! A little film that took 15 years to complete, which was given up for dead quite a few times, but eventually decided to exist: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s The Cat!
I love listening to dance band records of the 1920s, and when I heard the Harry ReserÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Syncopators’ 1927 recording, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Cat,Ã¢â‚¬? it triggered a vision. A vision of a cat, not just any cat, but a feline spirit, wild, raucous, mischievous, yet sweet. The music literally wrote the story, not a note or a beat of the original recording was altered. Scenes sometimes had to be started, then torn up and re-done because they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite Ã¢â‚¬Å“syncÃ¢â‚¬? right. Sometimes I would re-do a scene because the concept wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t funny enough, or the layout was wrong. I wound up doing all the drawings because there was no money to pay anyone else, and I was the only animator who really understood this cartoon. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s doubly hard to do all the drawings in a scene yourself, then when the test is shot, step OUTSIDE yourself and become a tough director.
Greg Ford was the Ã¢â‚¬Å“CatÃ¢â‚¬?Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s angel, taking on the difficult task of inking and painting the cartoon. Greg worked hard to be invisible along with Kim Miskoe, color director, Rose Eng and Ã¢â‚¬Å“IgorÃ¢â‚¬?, two of the last cel inkers in the USA, artists both, and so many others. So step into my little world, the world of 1920s pop, and the free interpretation of it as seen by my Ã¢â‚¬Å“third eye.Ã¢â‚¬? ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a dance band Ã¢â‚¬Å“fantasia,Ã¢â‚¬? made with nothing but love!
Mark and his producer Greg Ford have provided an extra incentive for viewers: anybody who purchases It’s the Cat through April 30 will automatically be entered into a drawing to win an original production cel from the film. We’ll keep you posted on that. In the meantime, take a look at It’s The Cat, a work of pure cartoon joy.