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Watch: 5 Gobelins Shorts That Pay Tribute To Women Animation Pioneers

Among the highlights of every Annecy animation festival are the daily screening intros created by Gobelins animation students. This year, in celebration of the festival’s focus on women animation artists, the mini-shorts paid tribute to women animation pioneers.

The shorts aren’t intended to be literal biographies, but rather to evoke the life and accomplishments of each artist. The five artists honored with films were Mary Blair, the Disney Studio’s most influential woman art director; Evelyn Lambart, first Canadian woman animators; Claire Parker, co-inventor of the pinscreen animation technique; Lotte Reiniger, director of the first European animated feature; and Alison de Vere, the first woman to win an award at Annecy.

Mary Blair
Directors: Michiru Baudet, Cécile Carre, Viviane Guimarães, Fanou Lefebvre, Léni Marotte

Mary Blair is hired to work in Walt Disney’s gigantic and rigorously maintained garden. As he welcomes her and invites her to get to work, she starts producing plants magically. Although he is amazed, Walt cannot refrain from correcting and toning down Mary’s work behind her back…

Evelyn Lambart
Directors: Simon Anding, Elena Dupressoir, Lucas Durkheim, Paul Regnier, Diane Tran-Duc

Tribute to Evelyn Lambart, first female Canadian animator and Norman McLaren’s collaborator.

Lotte Reiniger
Directors: Hadrien Bonnet, Nicolas Capitaine, Charlène Chesnier, Céline Desoutter, Samuel Klughertz

Germany, 1936. Lotte Reiniger, prodigal creator of marvelous universes in paper cut, finally chooses to confront herself to the reality of the outside world.

Claire Parker
Directors : Alix Arrault, Jules Durand, Arina Korczynski, Margo Roquelaure, Ines Scheiber

In a castle full of hedgehogs, an engineer is trying to satisfy her king, who wants her to create an unusual machine. After being thrown away for her failure, she finds an hedgehog on her head which gives a brilliant idea. She presents her new invention to the king, astonished : she reveals a pinscreen made out of hedgehogs and their spines.

Alison de Vere
Directors: Adrien Calle, Leïla Courtillon, Martin Hurmane, Nathan Otaño, Jules Rigolle

Alison is giving birth to a creature, who runs away when faced with the oppressing stares of huge statues surrounding them. Alison then runs after her creation, to be finally confronted with the eyes of the crowd.

  • Pedro Nakama

    These are fantastic! If this is student work we have a lot of outstanding animation to look forward to in the future.

  • RobotDavid

    Woa. These are beyond lovely.

  • I saw these Earlier, very cool. I’m always excited to see the work of Goblin’s students. But Can anyone please tell me why Evelyn Lambart’s story was so dark? what was it about?

  • ….Well that was ridiculously awesome :)

  • L_Ron_Hoover

    I don’t understand why Walt Disney was murdering Mary Blair’s plants/work and why Norman McLaren was trying to kill Evelyn Lambart. Maybe I’m missing something about their histories together. Can anyone here give me an education?

    From a third person point of view it just looks like they demonized the men and victimized the women for the sake of the “feminist” theme. It confuses me.

    • CaramelleComplx

      I think you’re mistaking “feminism” with plain old sexism. Tell me, if the Lotte short were to reverse the roles (female depicted as demonic and men being victimized) would feel the same way you are now? why is it such a fuss when a woman antagonize a men, it natural and okay; but when a man( i’m not talking about men in general/ or crudely: “all da menz” but just ONE man)antagonize a woman, it’s considered blasphemous and looked down upon, even if it is just a short film.

      • L_Ron_Hoover

        I agree with you, which is why I put “feminist” in quotes.

        I knew the artist’s point was to be feminist but it reads more demonizing of men in animation, which to me makes the women their illustrating look weak. The theme is oddly forced and insincere to me.

  • Lizbit

    Beautifully creates curiosity about these people. Lovely!

  • Joseph Patrick

    Honoring the finest people animation had to offer!

  • Tomm

    I love them all
    But especially the lotte one

  • optimist

    Unfortunately the conceit of the Mary Blair piece is totally ass-backwards and shows the filmmakers know nothing in-depth about Mary Blair’s career at the Disney Studio. Walt was far, far from a spoiler who didn’t allow her unexpurgated vision to come to the screen-in fact the opposite was true-he continually harangued his animators about why they were prone to watering her work down. It bugged him no end. There were guys at the studio who grumbled about how impossible (in their view) it was to adapt Blair’s art to Walt’s satisfaction, but without Walt she wouldn’t have been there in the first place. He deserves a hell of a lot of credit for her opportunities-which he was happy to provide her, and she was thrilled to take advantage of. Read Canemaker’s books! “Behind her back”? Tosh.

    • DarylT

      It bothered me as well. Very annoying.

    • Zapad

      I don’t have any knowledge of the situation but I didn’t get that feeling from the animation at all. On the contrary, I got the feeling that once confronted with a character who doesn’t bring as much to a project when reigned in, who obviously had something special to create but not in the same format, the studio actually gave her the opportunity to flourish in her own way. It was meeting a novel situation and adapting to it once it was obvious it couldn’t be solved in the more usual way. And the comment below the animation is purely a description of the animation, not the actual real life situation.

  • Matthew Koh

    I’m somehow disappointed to the fact that Joy Batchelor is not featured.

    • Nathan Otaño

      We were able to portray only 5 womens (we had a list of 7 or 8 name if I remember), Batchelor was on that list.
      But were a class of 25 people doing only 5 films, it’s kind of an homage to all womens in animation. Sad we couldn’t portray all of them.

  • Hankenshift

    Cute. Although Gobelins is in the top 9 or 10 animation schools in the world, I do wish they focused a bit on Character Animation.

  • I see you’re point here in seeing Walt in this film as representing the studio as opposed to one man.

  • It does seem like these pieces were trying to paint these women into a corner they had to figure out how to overcome the obstacles.

  • These are simply gorgeous! I found them to be very inspirational. I agree with Viviane, that Disney is meant to represent Walt Disney Studio. The portrayal of Norman McClaren is slightly strange but like Amid said, the shorts aren’t to be taken literally. Actually I thought the spidery Norman was cool. It seems like he doesn’t notice Evelyn much. Lotte and Alison are my favourites but they’re all amazing.

  • A fantastic collection of shorts!

  • CaramelleComplx

    These shorts are quite a keeper! I wish there more like these. ;)