Runaway Success of 'Ryan'
Image courtesy NFB of Canada
film producer Marcy Page (M.A., '84) walked the red carpet
between Leonardo DiCaprio and Hillary Swank at this year's Oscars. Then,
along with her fellow co-producers, cheered wildly when their film "Ryan"
received the Oscar for best animated short film.
"It was quite a thrill," says Page, who has worked at the
National Film Board of Canada since 1990 as a director and producer
of animated films, including the Academy Award-nominated "My Grandmother
Ironed the King's Shirts." But "Ryan," a film that walks
a line between documentary and animation, has been "a runaway train,"
The 13-minute film profiles Ryan Larkin, one of the pioneers of Canadian
animation, who 30 years ago was nominated for an Oscar himself. He now
begs for spare change on the streets of Montreal. How did he get there?
The film offers commentary from Larkin himself, prominent animators
and artists who once worked alongside him, and the waitresses, mission-house
caretakers and homeless people who occupy his present life.
In the animated world of "Ryan," these voices speak through
strange, twisted, broken and disembodied 3-D generated characters. Ryan's
animated character, for one, is literally not all there. In the film,
the view from the back of his head reveals the process of decay taking
place within his brain, a metaphorical depiction of his state of decline.
interest in animation started at Sonoma State, where she learned to
combine her artistic talents with film. At SFSU she continued her work
in animation by developing her own interdisciplinary major, receiving
encouragement and support from former instructors Fred Burns, John Fell
and John Teton. During the early years of her career, Page taught animation
at SFSU and the California College of the Arts while working as a freelance
animator in the Bay Area.
Assistant Professor Martha Gorzycki, the cinema department's animation
coordinator, says that Page's commitment to producing independent films
that use innovative styles of animation and creative storytelling "is
a tremendous gift to the international community of animators."
"Ryan," she says, "is not only a new experiment in documentary
filmmaking, it also paves the way for furthering imaginative uses of
the relatively young world of 3-D computer animation."
Most of the distribution of "Ryan" has been done in Canada
through the educational market, festivals, and DVD sales, which have
been particularly successful. While an animated short typically sells
around 500 copies, "Ryan" has sold more than 4,000. The DVD
will be available for sale in the United States in August. The film
will premiere on the Sundance
film channel in October.