Belvision’s ink & paint staff working on PINOCCHIO IN OUTER SPACE (1965)
(Click on picture above for larger image.)
While everybody was in Anncey last week, French filmmaker Philippe Capart was in Los Angeles and handed me a copy of his new documentary, “BELVISION: The Goldmine At The Bottom Of The Corridor” (that’s the english translation).Even though it was in French (no subtitles) I could tell this is a superb work, documenting the history of a pioneering Belgium studio that first animated Tintin, Asterix, Lucky Luke, not to mention Bozo The Clown, The Smurfs, the feature Pinocchio In Outer Space and even a pilot for The Flintstones (if my video card wasn’t broken I’d display some grabs from the clips in the documentary – man, the French “Flintstones” look cool – I’ll try to update this post with an image when I can).There are interviews with key surviving personnel, as well as Fred Ladd, Norm Prescott and Larry Harmon. But the highlights are the vintage behind the scenes film clips (apparently Belvison shot behind-the-scenes footage for most of their productions) and scenes from classic French animated TV films and commercials… stuff we American rarely see.
I remember seeing their limited Tintin animations on (U.S.) TV in the early 1960s – it got me interested in the character, whose exploits were being serialized in CHILDREN’S DIGEST (anyone remember that publication?).I don’t know where anyone could see this documentary, but I assume Philippe will be submitting it to animation festivals. I understand it ran on Belgium television a few months ago. Hopefully someone will translate it and air it in the U.S. someday. It’s a fascinating chapter in animation history and I highly recommend this film.