Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Michael Sporn, Poe and Kickstarter
Michael Sporn has been developing an animated feature about author Edgar Allan Poe and has decided to use Kickstarter to finance the project.
One of the most encouraging things about the increased number of animated features in the last several decades is the content that is not aimed at children or the family audience. Films like Persepolis, Mary and Max, Waltz with Bashir, etc. use animation to deal with adult themes.
Michael Sporn is no stranger to those themes. Even his films that appear to be aimed at children, such as Abel's Island, are really about adult concerns.
As the cost of mainstream animated features continues to go higher, the films take fewer risks. There are more sequels, more adaptations and just more of the same. Even Pixar seems to be falling into established patterns.
Directors like Michael Sporn, working on a shoestring, take more chances than Hollywood. Their continued existence is essential for the health of the animated art form. The only way pop culture changes is by absorbing influences from existing work, but the big studios are all so similar that they've got nothing to absorb that they're not already doing. It's the outliers, people committed to their vision in the face of high odds, that break new ground. When their work comes into being, it affects the creative conversation.
Michael Sporn has been fighting the good fight for decades. He's gravitated towards thoughtful, original films when he could have surrendered to service work. He's consistently given opportunities to artists starting their careers. He's worked with top voice and music talent who are not the usual suspects. And he can do more with a dollar than any producer I know. Large animation studios spend more on catering than Michael gets to make whole films.
I hope that this Kickstarter campaign succeeds and I get to see the completed feature. I have made my financial pledge to make this film a reality and I hope that anyone interested in the artistic growth of animation will throw a few dollars in the direction of this project.