The largest hall in the Kabuki was filled with laughter from people enjoying a very silly film worthy of an Oscar with a grinning face on it. The film is a goofy story free of the body sounds and pointless jokes based on current pop culture that are all too common in animated Hollywood features. Instead this unique looking clay animation was filled with timeless humor that should remain delightful well into the future.

For the Q & A Nick was joined by two of his animators on stage. It took them about five years to create the film including over a year to animate it. The highlight for me was a short video clip showing Nick acting out a series of expressive sequences in one quarter of the screen. Next to it was a rough storyboard sketch. Below it was a preliminary computer generated animatic of the sequence and to its right we saw the finished sequence. I hope it will be on the BluRay of the film.

Nick’s first visit to SF was just after he won his first Oscar in 1991 for Creature Comforts. ASIFA-SF threw a catered party in his honor in a large restaurant on the pier behind the Ferry Building (now a private club). Many of our members were photographed holding his newly acquired heavy hunk of shiny metal.

I’m sorry not every ASIFA member was able to get a ticket to the preview as they were gone in about four hours. Several other film associations were invited to attend the event along with school kids who take part in the SF Film Festival’s programs. A few people did call the festival office and put their name on a waiting list and I know one person who got her ticket that way. If you like to laugh, I hope you get to see Early Man on a big screen with a jovial audience.

Pete Doctor’s 40 minute interview with Nick shot at the Cartoon Art Museum

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