The Man Who Walked between the Towers. 2005. USA

Michael Sporn has been a vital creative force in New York animation for 35 years. Prior to opening his independent studio in 1980, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award–winning producer/director worked closely with legendary animation artists Faith and John Hubley, Richard Williams, and R. O. Blechman on commercials, shorts, and feature-length films, including Raggedy Ann & Andy and Everybody Rides the Carousel. Sporn has produced a remarkably diverse range of animation, including feature film titles (Sidney Lumet’s Prince of the City), television specials (HBO’s Lyle, Lyle Crocodile), and even visuals for the Broadway stage (the 1981 musical Woman of the Year). A sensitive interpreter of children’s stories for the screen, Sporn has carefully adapted to animation the unique styles of storybook illustrators such as William Steig, Russell Hoban, Bernard Waber, and Mordicai Gerstein.

Sporn’s own production design—with its varied animation techniques and palette brilliantly choreographed to the music of composers like Caleb Sampson, William Finn, and Charles Strouse, and the distinctive voices of James Earl Jones, Susan Sarandon, and other actors—distinguishes his adaptations of such classic tales as The Red Shoes and The Hunting of the Snark, as well as socially conscious films like Champagne. “Michael Sporn is a poet of animation. His artistry and craftsmanship are first-rate, and he invests each of his handmade projects with keen intelligence, integrity, and heart” (John Canemaker). A special evening with the artist concludes the exhibition on November 12.

Organized by Joshua Siegel, Assistant Curator, Department of Film, and John Canemaker, animation historian and filmmaker.

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