Home

 

NEWS!

 

The Beckett Project needs you! The iotaCenter is gearing up for production on the Beckett DVD. This project will cost around $7000. To donate visit www.iotacenter.org. Donations are made through PayPal. Also - email them (info@iotacenter.org) to let them know your donation is to be used for the Beckett Project.

Upcoming DVD! Plans are underway to release a DVD of the complete works, with extras, of Adam Becketts animations. Target date - 2010

Restored prints of Adam's work are available at Canyon Cinema!

Dear Janice (1972) and Early Animations or Quacked Jokes (1969), two of Adam's earliest works, have now been restored, thanks to the The iotaCenter, The National Film Preservation Foundation, and the Academy Film Archive. Mark Toscano at the Academy Film Archive did an excellent job - Dear Janice is clear and colorful again! Early Animations or Quacked Jokes was never released for public screening but will be on the upcoming DVD. Not a single work, it is a series of experiments as he explores possibilities offered through animation. Thanks Mark!

The long-feared lost animation Life in the Atom has been found! This film, shot in 35mm, was never finished but those who saw the work in progress said it was his magnum opus. It was discovered by Beth Block, a friend of Adam's who worked in the early 1980s to secure and save Adam's work. Work on this film spanned several years, and was still in progress when he died. In addition to the 35mm reel there is a 16mm pencil test, somewhere - we hope - of additional footage. We are looking for this AND the drawings.

Robert Russett Interview with Adam Beckett, November 1974, as printed in the first edition of Experimental Animation: An Illistrated Anthology, by Robert Russett and Cecile Starr. (PDF) Reprinted with the kind permission of the authors.

Please contact me if you have more information as regards his work, the location of drawings, films, his influences, or artists that he has influenced. Also, contact me (ptturner@vcu.edu) if you are interested in Adam's work and would like to contribute to the Adam Beckett Porject. (Note: Donations to the iotaCenter are tax-deductible.)

Dear Janice
Dear Janice (1972) - restored!

Early Animations - still

Still from Early Animations or Quacked Jokes (before restoration)

Adam Beckett Project

Following is an overview of information about the animator Adam Beckett, whose work I am currently researching, as a research associate at The iotaCenter.

The iotaCenter is the premiere organization for visual music, and as a non-profit organization relies on donations to fund special projects. If you would like to contribute to the work being done for the Adam Beckett Project you can donate at the iota website, and specify that your donation be used for this project.

Adam Beckett

Adam spent most of his life in California, except for 2 years at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and a year with his family in India. He also traveled with the free-spirited group The Hog Farm, who received media attention for their role as food and security providers at Woodstock. He continued his undergraduate studies at CalArts, enrolling there the year it opened, 1970.

He is consistently described, by those who knew him, as a unique, gifted, and truly brilliant individual and artist. His works influenced many emerging filmmakers at CalArts, in the Los Angeles area, and beyond due to the success of his work in numerous festivals internationally.

Adam developed a unique technique that involved creating a loop of images that continued to evolve with each loop cycle. In this way a series of drawings, say 12, would be shot, modified and re-shot, so that by the end of the film, the original drawings no longer existed. This was augmented with phasing of the imagery, changing the area of view, and other sophisticated use of the optical printer, which he learned from the master, Pat O'Neill, while at CalArts. This technique, and the wonderful mind and imagery that Adam brought to his film, resulted in truly remarkable, distinctive body of work.

In 1974 he began his independent animation company, Infinite Animation, where he continued to produce his own work. In addition to his animation, he taught at CalArts and worked in the film industry, most notably at ILM, as head of Animation and Rotoscoping on Star Wars.

Although his work is now over thirty years old, Adam's work continues to be shown and those who have been fortunate enough to see his work still refer to him as an influence.

Preservation and Research Project

The iotaCenter is working to preserve Adam's films and is supporting the research into his life and work. In 2006 Adam's family through a Deed of Gift, transferred their collection of Adam's animated films to The iotaCenter. This work is now safely housed in The Academy Film Archive in Hollywood. This deposit includes all of the original elements for “Sausage City” and “Heavy-Light”, plus many elements and prints - over 600 pieces in all!

Thank you Julie, Evan and Deirdre!

- Pamela Taylor Turner

Evolution of the Red Star

 

Heavy-Light

 

Flesh Flows

 

Filmography

Independent animations

  • 1969/1970 "Early Animations or Quacked Jokes" (restored/not released)
  • 1970/1971 "The Letter (Un Lettre a une Ami) with James Gore
  • 1972– “Dear Janice”
  • 1973 - “Evolution of the Red Star”; “Heavy-Light”
  • 1974 – “Flesh Flows”; “Sausage City”
  • 1975 – “Kitsch in Synch” ( produced at CalArts while teaching)

Works never completed:

  • "Life in the Atom" (35mm)
  • "Knotte Grosse" (received 1974 AFI grant)
  • remake of "Dear Janice"

Commercial and commissioned work

  • 1974 - Animation Tournee title sequence
  • 1975 – “Visions” festival title sequence
  • 1975 – contributed to Hubley TV series “Everybody Rides the Carousel”
  • 1977 – Animation and rotoscope head Star Wars
  • 1978 – animator on “Piranha”
  • 2000 – honorary technical advisor credit on “The Cell”

Awards

Evolution of the Red Star

  • 1973 – Sinking Creek Film and Video Festival
  • 1974 – Washington National Student Film Festival, Brooklyn Independent Filmmakers Exposition, Vanguard International Competition of Electronic Music for Film, Humboldt Film Festival

Heavy-Light

  • 1973 – Sinking Creek Film and Video Festival
  • 1974 – Athens International Film Festival, Humboldt Film Festival

Flesh Flows

  • 1973 – Sinking Creek Film and Video Festival, 10th Chicago International Film Festival (Hugo trophy)
  • 1974 – Humboldt Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, 13th Foothill International Independent Filmmakers' Exposition, Orange Coast Film Festival

Sausage City

  • 1974 – Humboldt Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival

Kitsch in Synch

  • 1975 – Best Sound Score, Cinemedia, Marin County Fair

 

 

All six of his released films (from 1972 - 1975) are distributed through Canyon Cinema - newly restored prints are now available, including Dear Janice!

 

 

 

The-Letter

The Letter (Une Lettre a une Ami) - 1971, with James Gore

AB-KR

 

Self Portraits: Adam Beckett and Kathy Rose

(Image from a sketchbook.)

 

 

 

 

Images courtesy of Adam Beckett family and The iotaCenter.

Please do not copy text or images without permission.

 

Back to top