My father in law was a special and talented man, his name is George Brook-Kothlow and he passed two weeks ago after a year of battling cancer. He was 77. If you’ve read the Venice Chronicles you know a little bit about George … and I’d like to tell you a little more about him.
George was a great architect, an artist through and true. He lived and worked in Carmel Valley. The beautiful houses he designed are all around the Big Sur area and stand as the perfect remembrance of his legacy and artistry. He was on the forefront of ecological architecture as he started building houses with reclaimed materials (Often old railroad bridges) more than forty years ago. You can follow this link to Richard Olsen’s blog to learn more about his work as an architect. Here’s below a photo of the entrance to the beautiful home George and Jennifer (his lovely wife and my wonderful mother in law) built and live in.
George also loved Cars and Tennis, I appreciated and bonded with him on both of those passions. I was happy to make the following watercolor of his beloved VW Beetle (the first car he ever owned, still in beautiful conditions) for his birthday a couple of years back.
He was also an incurable optimist, there never was a problem that mattered enough to worry him. His positivism was simply impressive and I always felt I, a natural worrier, could learn a lot from him in that realm. He also loved planes and I sure share that passion too, I loved how he’d grab one of my many books on old planes and read through it for hours. The one silver lining of George battle with cancer in the last year has been that we got to spend more time with him and my mother in law Jennifer. We became closer as a family and I am sure it was an important and ultimately enriching experience for my daughter Fio to feel such closeness to grandpa and grandma and also my sister’s in law Ingrid wonderful family. I only hope that the warmth of his family coming around him gave the difficult last few weeks of his life a little bit of solace.
George I am so happy you were part of my life, we will be thinking of you … always.
Bit of an exciting week for me, I’m trying to be present and enjoy these rather special times. Tomorrow morning at 5:30am they announce the Oscar Nominations – fingers crossed – Then on thursday we are driving down to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. La Luna is screening the night of the premiere in front of Lawrence Kasdan’s new film Darling companion. It’s just fantastic that an animated short would open in front of film like this. It’s an absolute honor to be there in such company with our little film, just like it was at Telluride when we screened in front of Wenders’ Pina. In fact I’d love to see this become a trend and witness more shorts of all types screen at festivals’ premieres.
So there you have it, will I be able to sleep tonight? Hard to tell, but as we’d say in Italy (for break a leg)-”In bocca al Lupo” to us and we would answer-”Crepi!”.
I leave you with a photo of the advance copy of the La Luna storybook I received a few days ago. I’ll tell you more about it soon, but it’ll be available in May, pre-order here.
A couple of weeks back when we were down in LosAngeles for the Animation Breakdown screening of La Luna I sat down for a video interview with David Polland. I enjoyed our chat, he’s very good at making it an informal and relaxed affair. Now if I could only get past listening to my own voice …
We have a great event to benefit the Cartoon Art Museum happening this saturday at Pixar, there might be even some tickets left for purchase if you’re so inclined. Among the many wonderful things Michael Johnson has been organizing to make it a special day at Pixar, we’ll be showing La Luna and I’ll be talking about the making of it. I also just finished this watercolor for the art auction section (which is always an amazing and unique chance to get yourself some original art by many talented Pixarians).
UPDATE – you can bid on-line here on this watercolor and many other pieces by amazing artist such as Ronnie del Carmen, Daniela Strijleva, Pete Docter, Scott Morse, Derek Thompson and more.
And it’s a wrap! One last thing I wanted to share: during the production of La Luna every sunday night at the end of a weekend I’d be like: “YES! IT’S MONDAY TOMORROW!! I CAN’T WAIT!”. I’ve had a lot of great times at Pixar but never before had I this feeling about going to work on a monday, I couldn’t wait to get to work and see one more small piece of this big puzzle coming together. That’s how special making La Luna was for me. I can’t wait till you all can see this short we made … cheers!
Kevin Reher (La Luna’s producer) and Aj Riebli (Production manager) with SupTech Daniel McCoy and I at the Pixar atrium. Kevin and Aj are working behind the scenes to get us the crew and resources we need at the time we need them … all with the goal to finish La Luna within time and budget. It’s a harder job than it sounds, there’s a huge amount of juggling of talent within a studio like Pixar.
The lighting department is responsible for the final look of the movie, they translated Bill Cone’s colorscript beautifully! Lighters are also known to live in dark dark caves, but they are really friendly … they were also an absolute hoot to work with! From left (in first photo): Fonz, Charu, Esdras, Kyoung, Bryan (Lighting Lead) and Mathieu!
One silly anecdote, I found “finaling” a shot with a guitar riff, accompanied by a loud “F$#% YEAH!!!” to be the most effective and satisfying way to final something! I also found I have an innate talent for “air guitaring”.
Steve Bloom and I record temporary gibberish for the story reels. The actors changed but the gibberish and the gesticulating stayed! I am acting as grandpa, can you tell? By the way here‘s an old cartoon I grew up with in Italy, La Linea. Inspiringly goofy stuff.