The meteoric rise and dramatic fall of “Father of Claymation” Will Vinton is the subject of this fascinating portrait of one of cinema’s unheralded innovators.
Though he may never have achieved the name recognition of his career idol Walt Disney, artist and entrepreneur Will Vinton left an indelible mark on the field of animation. Inspired by the freedom and experimental spirit of the 1960s counterculture, Vinton’s early forays into Claymation (a term he coined and trademarked) got off to an auspicious start when he took home an Oscar for the short “Closed Mondays.” Soon, he’d started his own Will Vinton Studios. By the 1990s, the studio had hundreds of employees at its sprawling Portland, Oregon campus and was churning out inspired, era-defining content for film, TV, and advertising (including the iconic, Motown-singing California Raisins). But at the height of the studio’s success, a series of ill-conceived business ventures threatened the studio’s survival and did much to obscure Vinton’s achievements in the decades to come. With CLAYDREAM, director Marq Evans provides a much-needed corrective, molding an admiring yet clear-sighted portrait of a complex artist whose outsized ambitions may have been his career downfall, but whose achievements deserve to be duly acknowledged and celebrated.
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