Sunday, January 29, 2006


the first time I met elfriede fischinger was at one of
june foray's parties in summer 1980. in case some of
you don't know about the FISCHINGER case, here
are some details -
produces in germany in the late 20s/early 30s a series
of abstract animated shorts with classical music. close
contacts to some of the BAUHAUS artists. leaves
germany in 1936, works in hollywood for paramount,
MGM. in 1939 has plans for a 'filmkonzert' with leopold
stokowski, sketches for bach's TOCCATA. stokowsky
pitches the idea to DISNEY and FANTASIA is born.
fischinger is hired, works for a short time at the disney-
studio. leaves, frustrated because of artistic different
views of the project. (I understand him so much!)
he works through the war years for the guggenheim-
fund, with orson welles and several museums in the
US and europe. produces several abstract animated
shorts as well as a few stop motion commercials.
he dies in 1967 in los angeles.
very early in my student years I got to know his films.
incredible ideas, computer animation done by hand
70 years ago. and I always admired his artistic integrity,
to leave disney because he didn't like what they did
with his toccata ideas.
so, elfriede, his widow, and me and my wife had lots
of things to talk about. we met several times in her
home in the hollywood hills, filled with all the
memories of a lifetime. it was like a dream, to meet
oscar through his wife's memories, anekdotes, family
photographs and of course his movies. I will never
forget these moments. elfriede spoke in a mixture
of her german home dialect 'hessisch' and english.
and she was the sweetest grandma in the world. how
patient she showed us a lot of the animation for the
abstract 'STUDIES'in the mid 20s. I actually touched
some original drawings. some years later she gave
all his artwork to the frankfurt-filmmuseum where
you can admire it now. I admired her so much about
taking care of his life-work she had helped to
achieve. she continued to attend festivals around
the world with his films and - kept him alive.
I bought from her flawless technicolor 16mm prints
of most of her husbands movies. and I still watch them
once in a while. - here is to you, - oscar + elfriede !
his movies had a tremendous influence on my work,
more than disney. through my student years and even
later I did a lot of abstract animation. next to oscar
fischinger's work I admired LEN LYE and NORMAN
looking back I am happy that I did not grow up as
a complete disney freak. all the surrounding different
art influences were way more important for my
work, - and they still are.

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