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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Destino (begun 1945 released 2003) directed by Dominique Monfrey for the Walt Disney Company, story by Salvador Dali and John Hench

Destino is a short animated cartoon released in 2003 by The Walt Disney Company. Destino is unique in that its production originally began in 1945, 58 years before its eventual completion. The project was a collaboration between American animator Walt Disney and Spanish painter Salvador Dalí, and features music written by Mexican songwriter Armando Dominguez and performed by Dora Luz.

(the Galician, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian word for "destiny") was storyboarded by Disney studio artist John Hench and artist Salvador Dalí for eight months in late 1945 and 1946; however, financial concerns caused Disney to cease production. The Walt Disney Company, then Walt Disney Studios, was plagued by many financial woes in the World War II era. Hench compiled a short animation test of about 18 seconds in the hopes of rekindling Disney's interest in the project, but the production was no longer deemed financially viable and put on indefinite hiatus.

In 1999, Walt Disney's nephew Roy Edward Disney, while working on Fantasia 2000, unearthed the dormant project and decided to bring it back to life. Disney Studios France, the company's small Parisian production department, was brought on board to complete the project. The short was produced by Baker Bloodworth and directed by French animator Dominique Monfrey in his first directorial role. A team of approximately 25 animators deciphered Dalí and Hench's cryptic storyboards (with a little help from the journals of Dalí's wife Gala Dalí and guidance from Hench himself), and finished Destino's production. The end result is mostly traditional animation, including Hench's original footage, but it also contains some computer animation. The 18 second original footage that is included in the finished product is the segment with the two tortoises.
The finished product was meant to be part of the canceled film Fantasia 2006 but when the short was completed after the film's cancellation, Destino, as well as three other completed segments (The Little Matchgirl, One by One, and Lorenzo), was changed to a short subject.
Destino premiered on June 2, 2003 at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in Annecy, France. The six-minute short follows the love story of Chronos and the ill-fated love he has for a mortal female. The story continues as the female dances through surreal scenery inspired by Dalí's paintings. There is no dialogue, but the sound track features a song by the Mexican composer Armando Dominguez.
The short film was very well received; it won many awards and was nominated for a 2003 Academy Award for Animated Short Film. Destino was released theatrically in a very limited release with the film Calendar Girls. As of 2010, Disney has confirmed releasing the short with "their next feature release as a short," but Destino was never attached to any of Disney's releases in 2008 or the following year.
The film was shown as part of the exhibition Dali & Film at Tate Modern from June to September 2007, as part of the Dali exhibit at the LA County Museum of Art from October 2007 to January 2008, and at an exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art called Dalí: Painting and Film from June to September 2008 as well as at an exhibit at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 2008. In mid-2009 it has had exposure in Melbourne, Australia at the National Gallery of Victoria through the Dali Exhibition 'Liquid Desire,' and from late 2009 through April 2010 at the Dayton Art Institute in Dayton, Ohio, in an exhibit entitled Dali and Disney: The Art and Animation of Destino.
From the January 20, 2008 press release:
Destino began in 1946 as a collaboration between Walt Disney and the famed surrealist painter Salvador Dali. A first-hand example of Disney's interest in avant garde and experimental work in animation, Destino was to be awash with Dali's iconic melting clocks, marching ants and floating eyeballs. However, Destino was not completed at that time. In 2003 it was rediscovered by Walt’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, who took on the challenge of bringing the creation of these two great artists to fruition. In addition to the completed Destino, this exciting addition to the Walt Disney Treasures line also includes an all-new feature-length documentary that examines the surprising partnership between Dali and Disney plus two new featurettes; "The Disney That Almost Was," an examination of the studio's unfinished projects; and "Encounters with Walt," which addresses the surprisingly diverse group of celebrities and artists who were attracted to Walt Disney's early work.

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