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100 Masters of Animated Short Films, Part One: Disney, Barta, Cohl and Beyond

100 important directors of animated short films.

By Lee Price November 16, 2011

Part One – Part TwoPart ThreePart Four

The art of animation on film may very well have begun with Émile Cohl and works like "Fantasmagoria" (1908)

The art of animation on film may very well have begun with Émile Cohl and works like “Fantasmagoria” (1908)

(Cross-posted at 21 Essays.)

This list of 100 important directors of animated short films was assembled in late 2008 to serve as a complement to “Brief Encounters,” a proposed list of 250 great short films (both animated and live-action) which was to be developed by the folks at the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? website. Unfortunately, that 250-film list was never published. Temporarily left without a home, this list of “100 Important Directors of Animated Short Films” was eventually adopted and first published at Kevin B. Lee’s Shooting Down Pictures blog in August 2009.

The “100 Important Directors of Animated Short Films” list was not intended to be comprehensive. These were simply 100 directors whom we felt were important and deserving of increased recognition by film lovers. For each director, we selected three “highly recommended” movies. In addition, we included a category of “TSPDT 250 Greatest Shorts” to highlight any of these directors’ films which were tentatively slated to place on the abandoned Brief Encounters list.

As it exists now, this list is a snapshot of the opinions of a small number of film enthusiasts at a moment in 2008. It can’t claim to be any more than that. However, it was fun to assemble and the goal of bringing these names to wider public attention remains important. I’ve recently floated the idea of revising the list through an exercise on the IMDb Classic Film message board sometime in summer 2012.

This project was facilitated on the IMDb Classic Film message board by Lee Price (lee-109 on IMDb boards). Project team: Lee Price, Robert Reynolds (Illtdesq), Jorge Didaco (jdidaco), Bill Kamberger (bkamberger), and Rob Tomshany (RobT-2), with additional input from animation fans on the IMDb Classic Film message board.

Mikhail Aldashin
1958 –
Born Tuapse, USSR
Key production country: Russia
Highly recommended: The Other Side (1993), Christmas (1997), Bukashki (2002)

Alexander Alexeieff and Claire Parker
Alexander Alexeieff (1901 –1982); Claire Parker (1906 – 1981)
Alexander Alexeieff born Kazan, Russia; Claire Parker born Boston, Massachusetts
Key production country: France
Highly recommended: Night on Bald Mountain
(1933), En Passant (1943), The Nose (1963)

Tex Avery
1908 – 1980
Born Taylor, Texas
Key production country: USA
TSPDT 250 Greatest Shorts: Blitz Wolf (1942), Red Hot Riding Hood (1943), King-Size Canary (1947), The Cat That Hated People (1948)
Other highly recommended shorts: Lucky Ducky (1948), Bad Luck Blackie (1949), The Legend of Rockabye Point (1955)


Frédéric Back
1924 –
Born Saarbrücken, Germany
Key production country: Canada
TSPDT 250 Greatest
Shorts: Crac (1981)
Other highly recommended shorts: All Nothing (1980), The Man Who Planted Trees (1987), The Mighty River (1993)


Joseph Barbera and William Hanna
Joseph Barbera (1911 –2006); William Hanna (1910 – 2001)
Joseph Barbera born New York City, New York; William Hanna born Melrose, New Mexico Key production country: USA
Highly recommended: The Night Before Christmas (1941), Mouse in Manhattan (1945), The Cat Concerto (1947)


Garry Bardin
1941 –
Born Chkalov, Soviet Union
Key production country: Soviet Union
Highly recommended: The Coiling Prankster/Fioritures (1988), Grey Wolf & Little Red Riding Hood (1990), Adagio (2000)


Jirí Barta
1948 –
Born Prague, Czechoslovakia
Key production country: Czechoslovakia
Highly recommended: The Vanished World of Gloves (1982), The Last
Theft (1987), The Club of the Laid Off (1989), Disc JockeyThe DesignA Ballad About Green WoodThe Pied Piper of HamelinClub of the Discarded

Walerian Borowczyk 

1923 – 2006
Born Kwilcz, Poland
Key production country: France
TSPDT 250 Greatest
Shorts: Les Jeux des Anges (1964), Rosalie (1966), Dom/House (1958), Les Astronautes (1959)
Scherzo Infernal (1984)


Charley Bowers
1877 – 1946
Born Paterson, New Jersey
Key production country: USA
TSPDT 250 Greatest Shorts: Now You Tell One (1926)
Highly recommended: Egged On (1926), There It Is (1928), It’s a Bird (1930)


Bruno Bozzetto
1933 –
Born Milan, Italy
Key production country: Italy
Highly recommended: Life in a Tin (1967), Baeus (1987), Grasshoppers (1990)


Konstantin Bronzit
1965 –
Born Leningrad, USSR
Key production country: Russia
Highly recommended: At the Ends of the Earth (1999), The Goddess (2003), Lavatory-Lovestory (2007)


Robert Cannon
1909 – 1964
Born Ohio, USA
Key production country: USA
Highly recommended: Gerald McBoing Boing (1951), Christopher Crumpet (1953), The Jaywalker (1956)


Ivo Caprino
1920 – 2001
Born Oslo, Norway
Key production country: Norway
Highly recommended: Karius og Baktus (1954), The Steadfast Tin Soldier (1955), The Seventh Father in the House (1966)


Robert Clampett
1913 – 1984
Born Detroit, Michigan, USA
Key production country: USA
TSPDT 250 Greatest Shorts: Porky in Wackyland
(1938) Highly recommended: A Corny Concerto (1943), Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943), The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (1946)


Émile Cohl
1857 – 1938
Born Paris, France
Key production country: France
Highly recommended: Fantasmagoria (1908), The Automatic Moving Company (1910), The Hasher’s Delirium (1910), and The Puppet’s NightmareDrama at the Puppet’s HouseThe Magic HoopThe Boutdebois BrothersTransfigurationsLet’s Be SportyJapanese FantasyThe Happy MicrobesModern EducationThe Living FanSpanish Clair de LuneMonsieur Clown Among the LilliputiansComic MutationsAffairs of the HeartFloral Frameworks


Richard Condie
1942 –
Born Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Key production country: Canada
Highly recommended: Getting Started (1979), The Big Snit (1985), The Apprentice (1991)


Arthur Davis
1905 – 2000
Born Yonkers, New York, USA
Key production country: USA
Highly recommended: The Little Match Girl (1937), Dough-Ray Meow (1948), Bowery Bugs (1949)


Walt Disney
1901 – 1966
Born Chicago, Illinois, USA
Key production country: USA
TSPDT 250 Greatest
Shorts: Steamboat Willie (1928)
Highly recommended: Alice’s Wonderland (1923), Plane Crazy (1928), The Skeleton Dance (1929)


Borivoj Dovnikovic
1930 –
Born Osijek,
Croatia, Yugoslavia
Key production country: Yugoslavia
Highly recommended: Curiosity (1966), Krek (1968), An Exciting Love Story (1989)


Paul Driessen
1940 –
Born Nijmegen,
Gelderland, Netherlands
Key production country: Canada
Highly recommended: Cat’s Cradle (1974), Spotting a Cow (1984), The Boy Who Saw the Iceberg (2000)


Michael Dudok de Wit
1953 –
Born Abcoude, Utrecht, Netherlands
Key production country: Netherlands
Highly recommended: The Monk and the Fish (1994), Father and Daughter (2000), The Aroma of Tea (2006)


Piotr Dumala
1956 –
Born Warsw, Poland
Key production country: Poland
Highly recommended: Walls (1988), Wolnosc nogi (1989), Franz Kafka (1992)


David Fine and Alison Snowden
David Fine (1955 – ); Alison Snowden (1958 – )
Key production country: Canada
Highly recommended: Second Class Mail (1985), George and Rosemary (1987), Bob’s Birthday (1993)


Hans Fischerkosen
1896 – 1973
Born Bad Kösen/Saale, Germany
Key production country: Germany
Highly recommended: Das Blaue Wunder (1935), Weatherbeaten Melody (1943), The Snowman (1944)


Oskar Fischinger
1900 – 1967
Born Gelnhausen, Germany
Key production country: Germany
TSPDT 250 Greatest Shorts: Motion Painting No. 1 (1947) Highly recommended: Studie Nr. 7 (1931), Komposition in Blau (1935), Allegretto (1936)

Part One – Part TwoPart ThreePart Four

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