John Canemaker, professor and director of animation studies in the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television in the Tisch School of the Arts, won an Oscar in the Best Animated Short Film category for his autobiographical film The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation. The 78th Annual Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2005 were presented on March 5, at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
John Canemaker, professor and director of animation studies in the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television in the Tisch School of the Arts, won an Oscar in the Best Animated Short Film category for his autobiographical film The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation. The 78th Annual Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements were presented on March 5, 2006 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
In all, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts faculty and alums garnered three Oscars out of a total of five nominations. In addition to Canemaker, Oscar winners were: Philip Seymour Hoffman 89 Drama Department, Best Actor for Capote; and Ang Lee, 84 Kanbar Institute of Film and Television’s Graduate Film Division, Best Director for Brokeback Mountain. The other nominees were: Felicity Huffman, 88 Drama Department, Best Actress for Transamerica; and Tony Kushner, 84 Graduate Acting Program, Adapted Screenplay for Munich.
The Moon and the Son, produced by Peggy Stern, features the voices of actors Eli Wallach and John Turturro, with an original score by Ronald Sadoff, director of Film Scoring in the Music Department in Steinhardt.
“Peggy and I thank the Academy for this great honor,” said Canemaker, in his acceptance speech from the podium of the Kodak Theater. “And also for your faith in hand-drawn animation, which still can pack an emotional wallop. I want to thank my brother and sister, Tony and Kathleen Cannizzaro, my talented life partner, Joseph Kennedy, Sheila Nevins, Jackie Glover at HBO, Ron Sadoff’s music, and David Mehlman’s wonderful editing. And all my students and colleagues at NYU Tisch School of the Arts,” he added.
The Moon and the Son explores the difficult emotional terrain of father/son relationships as seen through Canemaker’s own turbulent relationship with his father. The film breaks new ground professionally and personally for Canemaker, who has won acclaim for his sensitive portrayal of difficult themes through animation. At nearly 30 minutes, it is his longest personal film, and employs a variety of animation techniques literally drawing understanding from its dark subject matter.
“I made this film to resolve long-standing emotional issues I have with my late father. I wanted to find answers to our difficult relationship, to understand the reasons he was always a feared figure in my childhood, why he was always angry and defensive, verbally and physically abusive, and often in trouble with the law,” said Canemaker.
Canemaker is a well known animator, animation historian, independent filmmaker, and author whose creative work has won international honors. He has created high profile work for a number of commercial projects, including: the 1989 Academy-Award winning short You Don’t Have to Die; the Peabody-Award winning television special Break the Silence: Kids Speak Out About Abuse; the feature film The World According to Garp; and the PBS special What Do Children Think of When They Think of the Bomb? He has also written nine books on the art and history of animation.
For over a decade, Canemaker and Sadoff have accumulated an extensive history of collaborations through their students. Over one hundred scores have been composed for student animation films. In addition, since 1992, Canemaker and Sadoff, in tandem with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, have produced live shows featuring Tisch student films, accompanied by Steinhardt student scores at the Walter Reade Theatre.