About this project
'The Ascent of Man' animated short we have produced based on Bruce McCall’s work can be seen at http://www.MyDamnChannel.com/BruceMcCall
A longtime contributor to the New Yorker, Bruce McCall is a renowned humorist and illustrator whose best-known work draws on the big-shouldered hubris of the middle 1920s and the early 1950s to create a future paradise where the skies are filled with zeppelins and every car has wings. He's a wry observer of contemporary life and a witty writer. http://brucemccall.com/
Our animated film, LOVE IN THE TIME OF DENDUR is based on McCall’s New Yorker cover that depicts two mummies (the Egyptian, wrapped-in-cloth kind) having their photo taken by another mummy at the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
From the writer, Jeremy Diamond: "This illustration got me thinking about the story behind these “tourist” mummies and the events leading up to this photo being taken. I came up with a love story that has the couple awakening from their ever-lasting slumber and hitting the town as classic New York tourists / love-birds - taking in a ballgame (and catching a fly ball!), enjoying the ambience of Central Park (on roller blades!), shopping on Fifth Avenue (and buying lots of stuff they really don’t need!), hitting Times Square (and not looking any weirder than any of the other weirdos there) and taking in a romantic view from the top of the Empire State building before returning to their eternal rest (with souvenirs!). This short film takes place over the course of one day, and by the end we come to realize that a] these mummies love each other, b] they are treated like any other New York tourists insofar as no one pays any attention to them, and c] unfortunately, they are not next to each other in the display cases where they reside at the Met, so this was indeed an extra special day for them.
At first reluctant to alter Bruce's illustrations, which are so amusing, well-executed, and complete in and of themselves, we realized that we could contribute to his vision and become after-the-fact collaborators / co-conspirators without requiring us to dismantle or change the drawing, the tone, or the "message". His memorable style and figures lend themselves to becoming animated characters without losing any of their distinct McCall-icity, and there is a kineticism inherent in his art that begs for actual movement. Every one of his illustrations contains a unique and intriguing story that is open to further elaboration beyond the borders of the work itself. Our goal is to explore their narrative possibilities while still remaining firmly rooted in The World of Bruce McCall."
Taking a 2-dimensional image – already rich with meaning and humor – and bringing it to life while creating a narrative behind it is the challenge and fun of this project. We were thrilled that Bruce showed our first piece based on his fold-out New Yorker Cover ‘The Ascent of Man’ at the TED conference (http://www.ted.com/speakers/bruce_mccall.html).
To produce an animated short on Bruce’s vision requires a team of animators to create the many background images and new artwork that clearly aren’t in the original illustration. We must also set the animation to music as these mummies don’t speak!
LOVE IN THE TIME OF DENDUR is the 5th in this series and, while these shorts have won accolades, this is not a commercial enterprise. So we need your help to finance them!
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