Abstract animation illustrates Edwin Gerschefski’s modernist composition. Two dots – one blue and one orange – appear most often, sometimes large, sometimes small, sometimes overlapping. When the sounds become more staccato, so do the images: wavy lines become squiggles, short nail-like lines go across the screen in rows. The result is a visual representation of abstract music, lively and spirited in spite of its link to a dance composed to sweat out the poisons of a spider bite. —IMDb
Mary Ellen Bute (November 21, 1906—October 17, 1983) was a pioneer American film animator significant as one of the first female experimental filmmakers. Her specialty was visual music and, while working in New York between 1934 and 1953, made fourteen short, abstract musical films. Many of these were seen in regular movie theaters, such as Radio City Music Hall, usually preceding a prestigious film. Several of her later abstract films were categorized as part of her Seeing Sound series.
A native of Houston, Mary Ellen Bute studied painting in Texas and, subsequently, Philadelphia, then stage lighting at Yale University, focusing her primary interest on the tradition of color organs, as a means of painting with light. She worked with Leon Theremin and Thomas Wilfred and was also influenced by the abstract animated films of Oskar Fischinger.
Bute began her filmmaking career collaborating with Joseph Schillinger on the animation of visuals. Her later films were made in partnership… read more
Ted Nemeth (1911-1986) was an early animation pioneer and cinematographer, who served in the latter capacity on Jim Henson’s short film Time Piece. As Frank Oz recalled in a 2001 FilmForce interview, “Jim would scrape enough money up through commercials and we would go out shooting on weekends with Ted Nemeth, who had an old 35mm rackover camera.”
Early in his career, Nemeth had been working on commercial advertising and documentary projects when, in 1933, he served as camerman on Rhythm in Light, an experimental short by Mary-Ellen Bute, who he would soon wed. The couple, sometimes in collaboration with Norman McLaren (future auteur with The National Film Board of Canada), produced a number of experimental avant-garde animated shorts, between the 1930s and the 1950s. He later provided cinematography for Bute’s 1966 film version of Finnegan’s Wake, which she wrote and directed. Nemeth had a particular keen eye for color, reflected in the tones which adorn Time Piece, but even… read more