Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
The greatest animated feature you’ve never seen, Richard Williams’ years-in-the-making The Thief and the Cobbler is the subject of this fascinating documentary. Williams, a Canadian director/producer, went to the UK in the 50s where he established a successful production company producing animated commercials and movie title sequences. From as early as 1964 he ploughed the profits into his pet project, a feature inspired by the Arabian Nights. He assembled a team of young artists – and brought in legendary Hollywood craftsmen to teach them – and devised kaleidoscopic, mind-bogglingly complex visual sequences. After his award-winning contributions to Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988, Williams finally had a studio budget to realise his vision – and that, legend has it, is where the unmaking of the masterpiece began. Kevin Schreck’s film leaves the way open for other interpretations. Showcasing Williams’ dazzling visuals and the labour that went into them, Schreck provides a valuable portrait of a remarkable artist and the fabulous world he inhabited for 25 years.