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PINOCCHIO: The Making of the Disney Epic


“If there is one animated film that belongs in the fraternity of true epics, that film is Walt Disney’s Pinocchio.” 

– J.B. Kaufman

San Francisco, CA, May 8, 2015—In 1940, Walt Disney released his second feature film, Pinocchio, based on an 1883 Italian children’s book. The film was groundbreaking: it pioneered the latest animation and sound technology of the era and established a blueprint for Disney filmmaking that remains intact today. It became the first animated feature film to win a competitive Academy Award® (winning two), and is now considered one of the finest films ever made. Pinocchio’s impact has easily endured for decades: it enjoys a rare 100% rating on the film website Rotten Tomatoes and lively discourse still surrounds the film today.

To celebrate the film’s 75th anniversary this year, author J.B. Kaufman presents its complete history, from inception through execution. PINOCCHIO: The Making of the Disney Epic (Walt Disney Family Foundation Press; $50, 351 pages), in partnership with Weldon Owen, presents an in-depth exploration of the making of the film. Though this book will be released on May 26, 2015, it is now available for purchase exclusively at The Walt Disney Family Museum and online at waltdisney.org/store.

Academy Award-winning animator and film historian John Canemaker says of PINOCCHIO: “In great detail, J. B. Kaufman reveals the struggles, triumphs, and disappointments encountered by Disney and his staff during the creation of this sacred monster of a film. Woven here is a once-upon-a-time story sure to fascinate and inform readers, an exciting adventure into the inner workings of a one-of-a kind studio and team at its creative peak.” 

Why did Jiminy Cricket’s character almost get left on the cutting room floor? Did the film’s animators get along with each other? How did Pinocchio impact the nascent world of animated cinema? Countless photographs, illustrations, and sketches, many of which are available to the public for the very first time, tell the story. 

To experience the story of the making of Pinocchio, view original concept art, character models, and cel setups from the film at The Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio of San Francisco. While there, discover what it was like to be at The Walt Disney Studios at that time by visiting an animator’s desk, set-up under a multitude of pencil sketches from this Disney classic. Learn more about Walt Disney’s life, work, and legacy—as well as the projects and people he worked with—at waltdisney.org.

Become a part of the wild, legendary ride that was the making of Pinocchio.

J.B. Kaufman is an author and film historian who has published and lectured extensively on Disney animation, American silent film history, and related topics. His previous books include The Fairest One of All and South of the Border with Disney; he is also coauthor, with Russell Merritt, of Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series and the award-winning Walt in Wonderland: The Silent Films of Walt Disney. Kaufman has also presented programs at festivals including the TCM Classic Film Festival; the San Francisco Silent Film Festival; and Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, the distinguished annual silent film festival in Pordenone, Italy, where he contributed to “The Griffith Project” and other retrospectives.

PINOCCHIO: The Making of the Disney Epic
Walt Disney Family Foundation Press | Weldon Owen
May 26, 2015; $50, 351 Pages
ISBN: 978-1—61628-809-9
For more information visit www.weldonowen.com

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The Walt Disney Family Museum presents the fascinating story and achievements of Walt Disney, the man who raised animation to an art, transformed the film industry, tirelessly pursued innovation, and created a global and distinctively American legacy. Opened in October 2009, the 40,000 square foot facility features the newest technology and historic materials and artifacts to bring Disney’s achievements to life, with interactive galleries that include early drawings and animation, movies, music, listening stations, a spectacular model of Disneyland and much more.

Hours: 10am to 6pm, Wednesdays through Monday; closed on Tuesdays and the following public holidays: New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Where: The Presidio of San Francisco, 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94129
Contact: 415-345-6800 | waltdisney.org 
facebook.com/wdfmuseum | twitter & instagram: @wdfmuseum