Sunday, October 13, 2013
While reading David Bossert’s book, Remembering Roy E. Disney I was reminded about a Disney movie I’d heard about but never watched, Destino.
When Dali came to America he wrote back to friends that he was excited to be in America and in contact with the three great American Surrealists, The Marx Brothers, Cecil B. DeMille and Walt Disney.
In 1945/6 Walt Disney asked Salvador Dali to collaborate with the Disney Studio to make an animated short. Dali was happy about the idea and for eight months worked with John Hench on making a short based on the song originally to be in The Three Caballeros, Destino (Destany).
Destino is a love story between Chronos (Time) and a human woman. Dali was at the studio every day 9-5 working with John Hench to make this cartoon but it was shelved after Dali told Disney he had yet another direction to take the story, adding Baseball as a metaphor for life. After eight months and tens of thousands of dollars Disney decided it was time to drop the project. By the time they stopped the project there were many pictures. Some were made by Dali and some by Hench. Hench became do adept at drawing in Dali’s style that at times Dali could not even tell who drew which picture. The 150+ Dali original and Dali inspired John Hench work was put into the “Disney Morgue” in 1946.
The “Disney Morgue” was the studio basement where all art and movie props were stored. This basement was were these items sat until the early 1970’s when Dave Smith was hired to create the Disney Archives. Dave said the original Disney Morgue was wet, sometimes flooded with rain water and had large signs saying “Beware of Spiders”.
In the 1990’s Roy E. Disney wanted to revisit an idea his Uncle Walt had back in the 1940’s, Fantasia. While working on it he remembered the Dali artwork in the Archives. Roy E. Disney became excited about the idea of completing this unfinished film. He talked to David Bossert about making and they worked together to bring it to completion.
John Hench was still working at the Disney Studio in his early 90’s when the Destino project was brought back to life. The new team working on Destino brought John Hench in and asked him about the original project. They set up the original storyboards and asked John Hench to help complete the story and return the story to the original direction. The idea was to complete as it was intended.
Disney had a studio in Paris at the time Destino came back into production. Dominique Monfery from the Disney Team in Paris was asked to direct Destino. He was even able to use notes written by Dali’s wife Gala. These notes show that Dali actually had about 40 different story lines for Destino.
Here is what WikiPedia says about Destino:
Destino (the Galician, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian word for "destiny") was storyboarded by Disney studio artist John Hench and artist Salvador Dalí for eight months in late 1945 and 1946; however production ceased not long after. The Walt Disney Company, then Walt Disney Studios, was plagued by many financial woes in the World War II era. Hench compiled a short animation test of about 17 seconds in the hopes of rekindling Disney's interest in the project, but the production was no longer deemed financially viable and put on indefinite hiatus.
In 1999, Walt Disney's nephew Roy E. Disney, while working on Fantasia 2000, unearthed the dormant project and decided to bring it back to life. Disney Studios France, the company's small Parisianproduction department, was brought on board to complete the project. The short was produced by Baker Bloodworth and directed by French animator Dominique Monfréy in his first directorial role. A team of approximately 25 animators deciphered Dalí and Hench's cryptic storyboards (with a little help from the journals of Dalí's wife Gala Dalí and guidance from Hench himself), and finished Destino's production. The end result is mostly traditional animation, including Hench's original footage, but it also contains some computer animation.
The six-minute short follows the love story of Chronos and the ill-fated love he has for a mortal woman. The story continues as the woman dances through surreal scenery inspired by Dalí's paintings. There is no dialogue, but the soundtrack includes music by the Mexican composer Armando Dominguez. The 17 second original footage that is included in the finished product is the segment with the two tortoises (this original footage is referred to in Bette Midler's host sequence for The Steadfast Tin Soldier in Fantasia 2000, as an "idea that featured baseball as a metaphor for life").
Destino premiered on June 2, 2003 at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in Annecy, France. The short film was very well received; it won many awards and was nominated for the 2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Destino was released theatrically in a very limited release with the film Calendar Girls.
In 2005, the film was shown continuously as part of a major retrospective Dalí show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, titled The Dalí renaissance: new perspectives on his life and art after 1940.
The film was also shown as part of the exhibition Dalí & Film at Tate Modern from June to September 2007, as part of the Dalí exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from October 2007 to January 2008; at an exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art called Dalí: Painting and Film from June to September 2008; also at an exhibit at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2008. In mid-2009, it had exposure in Melbourne, Australia at the National Gallery of Victoria through the Dalí exhibition Liquid Desire, and from late 2009 through April 2010 at the Dayton Art Institute in Dayton, Ohio, in an exhibit entitled Dalí and Disney: The Art and Animation of Destino.
As of 2012, the film is featured in the "Dalí" exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France.
The Disney DVD "True-Life Adventures, Volume 3" has a trailer for Destino, and mentions a forthcoming DVD release. In 2007, the True-Life Adventure series was suspended and those titles previously announced were moved to the Walt Disney Treasures line. Destino was subsequently scheduled for release on November 11, 2008.
From the January 20, 2008 press release:
Destino began in 1946 as a collaboration between Walt Disney and the famed surrealist painter Salvador Dalí. A first-hand example of Disney's interest in avant-garde and experimental work in animation, Destino was to be awash with Dalí's iconic melting clocks, marching ants and floating eyeballs. However, Destino was not completed at that time. In 2003, it was rediscovered by Walt's nephew, Roy E. Disney, who took on the challenge of bringing the creation of these two great artists to fruition. In addition to the completed Destino, this exciting addition to the Walt Disney Treasures line also includes an all-new feature-length documentary that examines the surprising partnership between Dalí and Disney plus two new featurettes; "The Disney That Almost Was", an examination of the studio's unfinished projects; and "Encounters with Walt", which addresses the surprisingly diverse group of celebrities and artists who were attracted to Walt Disney's early work.
A June 2008 press release for the Walt Disney Treasures line revealed Destino was being excluded from a 2008 Treasures release. According to Treasures host Leonard Maltin, the film was still likely to see an eventual DVD release, yet not necessarily within the Treasures moniker.
Destino was made available as a special feature on the Fantasia & Fantasia 2000 Special Edition Blu-ray released on November 30, 2010.