By Shirley

This month we are celebrating the movies and I have to confess that the films I am interested in are the animated movies. I have always loved animation. While growing up it didn’t seem remarkable since I still have to meet a child who doesn’t like watching cartoons. I was the kind of child who would wait with anticipation for the “Mickey Mouse Club” to come on the TV but who wouldn’t hesitate to turn it  off if they showed ‘educational’ programs instead of cartoons. I also remember an occasion when my father took our family to the theater to watch the then new “Pink Panther” movie. I was ecstatic thinking we would watch a “Pink Panther” cartoon and was sorely disappointed to discover that the animation part only appeared during the opening credits. My father seemed so proud of himself – “Didn’t I like the movie? Wasn’t it funny?”. I have since watched all the Peter Seller’s Pink Panther movies and enjoyed them, but at the time the movie had been a big disappointment.

As I grew up, other kids seemed to think that their cartoon watching days were over. With the excuse that I was babysitting my sister, who is nine years my junior, my days watching cartoons never finished. Of course, my sister and I had disagreements every time she wanted to watch ‘baby cartoons’ but I was the good sister and cousin who drove a car full of kids to the theater every time a new animated movie opened at the theater. I was also the one who introduced my sister to the Beatles “Yellow Submarine” and she is still a big fan of their music and the movie.

Then, when I went to college, I met two graduate students in the film department at the university. They were working on their thesis and they needed help. They were making a short-animated movie using the old style of animation in which each cel (short for celluloid) has a little change and when they are shown one after the other (24 cels per second) create the effect of movement. The grad students drew the scenes and each cel, and I was one of the people who painted the color on each cel.  It was pretty fun work and I even learned how to photograph the cels to create the animation. Before leaving Brazil, I had the opportunity to watch their short movie when they presented it during a film festival at the Museu da Imagem e do Som de Sao Paulo.

I think I influenced my sister because she started to work on animation when she entered college as well. The difference is that she worked on commercial films and learned how to draw, model and color in the computer. She worked in animation for several years and I remember going to watch Disney’s “Princess and the Frog” in the theater and being the last one to leave the screening room. As the cleaners did their job and wondered why we weren’t leaving, my husband and I waited for my sister’s name to show up in the credits. She was responsible for a room full of animators that were responsible for several scenes which were animated in a studio in Brazil.