Writer: Stephen Cavalier

Stephen Cavalier

Stephen has two decades experience in the animation, VFX and games industries as an animator/writer/director and is author of the book 'The World History of Animation'. He lives on the delayed 08:13 Brighton to London Victoria. He hasn't got that beard any more so he no longer looks like someone in a documentary about American prisons.

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Articles by Stephen Cavalier...

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Tale About the Cat and the Moon / Pedro Serrazina

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Tale About the Cat and the Moon / Pedro Serrazina

    Portugal / 1995

    This little gem is an atmospheric Latin visualization of a feline love poem. Rendered in stark black and white the visuals start with line drawings of cat prowling over a wonderfully uneven poetic visualization of Porto, the …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Mothlight / Stan Brakhage

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Mothlight / Stan Brakhage

    USA / 1963

    Stan Brakhage was an American abstract filmmaker and perhaps someone who could fall into that modern day category for the uncategorisable – ‘outsider artist’. He had a long and varied career, making films right through from the …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Cinderella / Lotte Reiniger

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Cinderella / Lotte Reiniger

    Germany / 1922

    The Chinese and southeast Asian tradition of shadow puppets was brought to Europe as the far corners of the world were explored and culturally plundered in the last few centuries and this became a popular theatrical attraction, …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Creature Comforts / Nick Park

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Creature Comforts / Nick Park

    UK / 1989

    Creature Comforts is a brilliant and hilarious short which richly deserved to win the 1990 Oscar for best short film. Since then the film has unfortunately suffered, like Pizza Express and Star Wars, from over commercialisation and …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Tom and Jerry: Jerry’s Cousin / William Hanna and Joseph Barbera

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Tom and Jerry: Jerry’s Cousin / William Hanna and Joseph Barbera

    USA / 1951

    The MGM Cartoon Studio studio began in 1930 by releasing Ub Iwerks creation Flip the Frog after the Disney star animator had been tempted away, but neither this series or Iwerks later Willie Whopper was a huge …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / The Fly / Ferenc Rófusz

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / The Fly / Ferenc Rófusz

    Hungary / 1980

    Ferenc Rófusz’s followed his 1974 short A Ko (The Stone) with his masterpiece A Légy (The Fly). Told from the fly’s point of view, the film seemingly utilises rotoscoping in a realistically-drawn style, from presumably photographs or …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Bottle / Kirsten Lepore

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Bottle / Kirsten Lepore

    USA / 2010

    Bottle is a charming and unique short film made with limited resources, proving that it’s great ideas and not big budgets that really count.

    Inspired by Lepore’s impulse to animate a real snowman, Bottle uses mainly natural …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / A Colour Box / Len Lye

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / A Colour Box / Len Lye

    UK / NEW ZEALAND / 1936

    There’s a certain type of abstract animated film that really appeals to me, that I can watch over and over again, because they seem to be overflowing with energy, joie de vivre, artistic spirit, …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Der Fuehrer’s Face / Jack Kinney

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Der Fuehrer’s Face / Jack Kinney

    USA / 1943

    I was recently asked to contribute to a Walt Disney article a magazine was producing. Typing something up for this one evening my thirteen year old son approached and asked me what I was doing. “Walt Disney?” …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Dad’s Dead / Chris Shepherd

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Dad’s Dead / Chris Shepherd

    UK / 2002

    Any psychologist would tell you that true psychopaths are very (sexually) attractive. They will charm your pants off. They learn to mimic emotions and manipulate even the smartest and most aware individuals while not seeing them as …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / The Wizard of Speed and Time / Mike Jittlov

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / The Wizard of Speed and Time / Mike Jittlov

    USA / 1979

    Normally in this list of animated shorts, story is high on my list of qualifying criteria, and myself being a part time writer it’s possibly higher up than it would be for most animators. I make an …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Screenplay / Barry Purves

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Screenplay / Barry Purves

    United Kingdom / 1992

    This week’s film is also in honour of the recent first Manchester Animation Festival, at which Barry Purves presented the prizes.

    Former animator at Manchester’s Cosgrove Hall (on their classic version of Wind in the Willows), …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Inspiration / Karel Zeman

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Inspiration / Karel Zeman

    Czech Republic / 1948

    To coincide with the first Manchester Animation Festival and its screening of the new documentary Film Adventurer Karel Zeman, this week’s short is Inspiration, a fascinating and ingenious work, and therefore a fitting representation of this …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / The Animatrix: Beyond / Koji Morimoto

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / The Animatrix: Beyond / Koji Morimoto

    Japan / USA / 2003

    Influenced by anime, kung fu films and cyberpunk fiction, the hugely successful live action feature The Matrix (1999) and its further episodes Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions (both 2003) were the ultimate in comic book …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Superman: The Mechanical Monsters / Dave Fleischer

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Superman: The Mechanical Monsters / Dave Fleischer

    USA / 1941

    Following Disney’s stratospheric success with their first feature film Snow White, the Fleischer brothers response Gulliver’s Travels had met with contrasting fortunes. Visually lush but emotionally stagnant and excitement free it was bogged down by the blandness …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / The Three Little Pigs / Burt Gillett

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / The Three Little Pigs / Burt Gillett

    USA / 1933

    Of the seventy five Silly Symphonies animated shorts produced by the Walt Disney company from 1929 to 1939, Three Little Pigs was by far the most successful.

    The original Silly Symphonies concept was, as the name suggests, …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Sledgehammer / Stephen R. Johnson

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Sledgehammer / Stephen R. Johnson

    UK / 1986

    In the mid eighties former prog rocker Peter Gabriel’s career was rather on the wane. Earlier, as a result of his insistence of dressing up as various plants, animals and elves while singing for Genesis, his bandmates …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Neighbours / Norman McLaren

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Neighbours / Norman McLaren

    Canada / 1952

    Neighbours is simply one of the great anti war films. Made soon after the end of the World War Two and the beginning of the Korean War, this pixelation classic was inspired by Norman McLaren’s travels to …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Autobahn / Roger Mainwood

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Autobahn / Roger Mainwood

    UK / 1979

    Establishing their studio in London in 1940, married couple John Halas and Joy Batchelor went on to run what was for decades one of the largest and most successful animation companies in Europe. Underpinning their commercial and …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Gertie the Dinosaur / Winsor McCay

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Gertie the Dinosaur / Winsor McCay

    USA / 1914

    Although now over a century old, the draughtsmanship and artistry contained in Gertie the Dinosaur still impress, so we can imagine how audiences at the time, unused to any kind animation except the most primitive caveman attempts, …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / The Big Story / Tim Watts & David Stoten

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / The Big Story / Tim Watts & David Stoten

    UK / 1994

    A simple idea brilliantly realized, The Big Story features an argument between caricatures of a young Kirk Douglas (a reporter) and an old Kirk Douglas (an editor), in the Hollywood style black and white newspaper office they …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Red Hot Riding Hood / Tex Avery

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Red Hot Riding Hood / Tex Avery

    USA / 1943

    As Walt Disney’s animated features achieved success in the early 1940s, they were being pushed aside in the market for theatrical shorts by Warner Bros, who were making some of the funniest cartoons ever made and creating …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Hedgehog in the Fog / Yuri Norstein

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Hedgehog in the Fog / Yuri Norstein

    Russia / 1975

    In 1979 Russian animator/director Yuri Norstein’s debut feature Skazka Skazok (Tale of Tales) was first screened. After initially being quietly released to a few festivals by the Soviet authorities, in the next five years the film would …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / The Hill Farm / Mark Baker

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / The Hill Farm / Mark Baker

    UK / 1988

    The Hill Farm is a beautiful, 18-minute, dialogue-free and funny short; it covers the events of three days and shows how different people use the same hilly countryside in different ways. The farmer cares for the animals, …

  • 100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Quasi at the Quackadero / Sally Cruikshank

    100 Greatest Animated Shorts / Quasi at the Quackadero / Sally Cruikshank

    USA / 1975

    In animation, as in many other art forms, the seventies were a period of many extremes and contrasts. Mammoths from previous decades sunk slowly into their tar pit of complacency, self indulgence and creative stagnation. To fill …