/4.00 p.m. – WORLD ANIMATION CLASSICS: John and Faith Hubley

4.00 p.m. – WORLD ANIMATION CLASSICS: John and Faith Hubley

Cinema Rotunda

28th November (Thursday)
4.00 p.m.

John and Faith Hubley

John and Faith Hubley make an incredibly influential married tandem in the history of independent American animation. John, born in 1914, gained his first professional experience in the field of animation at Walt Disney Studios, where he was one of the co-producers of, among others, Snow Write and Seven Dwarfs and Fantasia. Made redundant from work for his participation in a workers` strike, together with a few colleagues from the studio, he established an independent company United Productions of America, which revived the profile of American animation by breaking with the aesthetics and philosophy of Disney`s films. His trouble he had in the first half of 1950s caused the accusations from the McCarthy`s Committee and, in turn, resulted in his losing his job at UPA. In 1955 he married Faith, born in 1924, and the same year they established their own independent studio – Storyboard Productions. Up to a certain moment they were able to maintain the studio thanks to commissions, at the same time making their own original films. According to the legendary artistic agreement they entered into, they committed themselves to making at least one independent, serious animated film annually. In this way, until John`s death in 1977, they managed to create twenty one films, seven out of which received Oscar Award nominations, and three brought the Hubleys their Academy Awards. These were: Moonbird – 1959, The Hole – 1962 and A Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Double Feature – 1966.

The Hubleys` approach, in both their shared works as well as individual ones (Faith made films long after her husband`s death, inspired especially by various primitive cultures and their simplified artistic vividness), is characterized by never fully satisfied need for new solutions, questioning – at that time dominating the American mainstream animation and immensely profitable – film clichés. The artists were particularly successful in the field of music animation as well as children`s films, which could also satisfy adult viewers. Often the starting point for film making was a soundtrack recorded early in a documentary mode, and the characteristic feature of their films was, rare at that time, moving close to borderlines of convention and film genres. In their independent artistic work, the Hubleys never yielded to the temptation of commercialization, dominating in the American cinematography, including animation. They also handed this attitude down to their children, which can be proved by the work of Emily, the Hubleys` daughter, who, after her father`s death, worked with her mother at the family Hubley Studio for years. At present, Emily has been collaborating with Jeremiah Dickey. In 2010 Emily Hubley was a member of the jury during our festival`s ANIMA competition and showed her feature film debut The Toe Tactic (2009).


ADVENTURES OF AN */ PRZYGODY AN *, reż./dir., scen./script John Hubley, Faith Hubley, muz./music Benny Carter, USA 1957, 10’

The film was made in co-operation with James Johnson Sweeney, the curator at the Guggenheim Museum. It is a funny animated variation about opining oneself to new thoughts and ideas. Curious about the world, a star * has many adventures with her father (in the shape of a blue lump), at first tired of life and lacking in imagination. However, thanks to his child`s enthusiasm, the Father regains his youthful energy and creativity.

TENDER GAME / MIŁOSNE GRY, reż./dir., scen./sript John Hubley, Faith Elliot, muz. Oscar Peterson Trio, USA 1958, 6’

A love story in a park to the rhythm of jazz music by Oscar Peterson`s trio and Ella Fitzgerald`s singing. In the landscape covered with mist and autumn colours, a relationship and liking between a man collecting leaves and a young florist develops.

MOONBIRD/ KSIĘŻYCOWY PTAK, reż./dir. John Hubley, Faith Elliot, USA 1959, 10’

An Oscar-winning story about two boys who, in the middle of the night, set off on a journey to find a moodbird. This animation was inspired by a secretly recorded conversation between the Hubley`s little sons, who started to tell each other an invented story before going to bed. The original recording was used in Moonbird.

THE HOLE / DZIURA, reż./dir. John Hubley, prod. Faith Elliot, USA 1962, 15’08’’

Two construction workers start to discuss accidents and the logic behind misfortunes striking people. Finally, their conversation moves to a hot topic during the cold war – the question of a nuclear war, which may be broken out by accident. The narration of the animation (the second Oscar in the Hubleys` career) is inspired by an improvised conversation between Dizzy Gillespie and George Matthews.

A HERB ALPERT AND THE TIJUANA BRASS DOUBLE FEATURE, reż./dir. John Hubley, prod. Faith Elliot, muz./music Hrb Alpert, USA 1966, 5’17’’

An Oscar-winning animation considered a herald of modern music video films. A variation on the topic of two Herb Albert`s pieces: Spanish Flea and Tijuana Taxi. In the first part a Spanish fly will recover a pasture for a donkey and a hen, taken over by a newly built hotel complex, whereas in the second one a crazy Mexican taxi driver, ignorant of the city`s plan, will try to take a music band to the airport.

OF MEN AND DEMONS / O LUDZIACH I DEMONACH, reż./dir. John i Faith Hubley, muz./music Quincy Jones, USA 1968, 10’

The gods of fire, rain and thunder unite their forces to make the lives of fishing village inhabitants miserable. Idyllic life in harmony with nature will be shattered by the elements. However, it soon turns out that the gods need to fight once more, this time with machines, new buildings and factories built by the dwellers. They, on the other hand, flee out of the town, to the bosom of nature. This time evil demons` activities will have disastrous consequences for nature.

URBANISSIMO, reż./dir. John Hubley, prod. Faith Elliot, muz./music Benny Carter, USA 1968, 6’

A funny animated allegory about a “city” devouring its surroundings. A farmer, crafty in his own opinion, dreams about abandoning his life in the country and moving to a bustling city. Benny Carter wrote the Urbanissimo piece for the film with the help of a well-known jazz trumpeter, Maynard Ferguson.

VOYAGE TO NEXT / PODRÓŻ DO NASTĘPNEGO, reż./dir. John Hubley, prod. Faith Hubley, muz./music Dizzy Gillespie, USA 1974, 9’30’’

A philosophical parable about the need for co-operation and understanding between people, told by Mother Earth (Maureen Stapleton) and Father Time (Dizzy Gillespie).

TIME OF ANGELS / CZAS ANIOŁÓW, reż./dir. Faith Hubley, prod. Faith Hubley, muz./music William Russo, USA 1987, 9’30’’

An animated interpretation of three Latin American poems. Each is recited in Spanish and English, and the whole is integrated with the music accompanying the film.

TALL TIME TALES / OPOWIEŚCI WYSOKIEGO CZASU, reż./dir. Faith Hubley, prod. Faith Hubley, muz./music Don Christensen, USA 1992, 8’

With the use of collage of various stories and scenes (reminiscences of an elderly man`s childhood interlard with spontaneous African dancing and scenes with dinosaurs) Hubley creates an animated treatise on experiencing the time – the sleeping, linear, historical, biological, reversible time. Inspired by primeval cultures from all over the world: Egypt, Africa, Australia, North America and South America.

NORTHERN ICE, GOLDEN SUN / PÓŁNOCNY LÓD, ZŁOTE SŁOŃCE, reż./dir. Faith Hubley, USA 2001, 6’30’’

The last film in Faith Hublay`s individual output is a lyrical, visual masterpiece on ecology. The starting point is an unusual connection between the Inuit people and the land they occupy as well as their ability to adapt to the surrounding environment.