John Canemaker Up for an Oscar

We hung out last night with some friends I’ve known for a few years here in Seattle and had a little more fun than I should have on a week night. I’m gazing at the world through bleary eyes this morning. Oscar nominations came out yesterday, and as anybody who followed my old blog knows, I do a lot of talking every year abou the animated short category. This year is going to be particularly special to me as John Canemaker was nominated for his short The Moon and the Son: an Imagined Conversation. When we went to Visionfest to speak last year I was really intimidated by the idea of speaking at the same event as John. In case you don’t know who he is, he’s an animation historian as well as an NYU professor and long-time filmmaker, and he wrote one of Scott’s favorite books Nine Old Men. Those are the kind of credentials I get tongue-tied over. We met John the night of his screening at the dinner held for the speakers and took the opportunity to sit in the empty seat next to him. He was pleasant but reserved, so it was a staggering surprise to watch his short and discover how personal and revealing it was. Producing this film about his relationship with his father must have been hugely cathartic, and he disappeared before the end of the screening. I really did love the film.

I caught up with him the next day before he left, got pictures and struck up a conversation, and ended up telling him about the short on my grandfather I’d been thinking about doing. Before I knew it I was pulling out the laptop and taking him through the diary and the photographs my grandfather kept in a Japanese prison camp, and even went through some of the boards I’d done. He told me I had to do it, and every time I lose my motivation, I remember that. It motivated me enough to film my grandfather’s long-time friend and fellow POW last November to fill out some of the details of their experience. I’ll be rooting for John’s win this year for a stunning piece of work and a terrific person whose encouragement meant a lot to me.

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter

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