Feathers Fly in For The Birds Controversy
A bit of animation controversy was recently stirred up over at RottenTomatoes.com. The issue is creative theft – and whether or not Pixar borrowed from a CalArts student. Stevie Wermers (now Stevie Wermers-Skelton), who recently worked as a visual development artist on The Princess and the Frog, was a first year student at CalArts Back in 1993 when she produced Small Fry, a 2D short about birds on a wire. I’ll let Stevie explain the rest…
I made a student film at Cal Arts shown at the producers show attended several representatives from Pixar and Disney. My film won first place among over fifty other student films presented at the show. Pixar and Disney both cast votes for the best films of the show so I believe they have to have seen and enjoyed my film. A few years later I watched Monster’s Inc. and to my stunned surprise (Ralph Eggleston’s) For the Birds came on as a short before the film.
I’m not sure why this issue arose now, 10 years after the release of the Pixar short, but it’s interesting nonetheless. You’ve probably read about the Lion King/Kimba the White Lion controversy, and I don’t doubt creative theft, intentional or not does occur. That being said, there’s only so many truly original ideas out there, and I repeatedly see unintentional animated doppelgangers pop up all around the world. The audience at RottenTomatoes voted 2 to 1 in favor of Pixar – what’s your take? Sour grapes or a creative crime?
For the Birds