Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Snookles (1986)

Recently I acquired a 16mm print of a 1986 short film (it's about 2 minutes long) called Snookles. Snookles was animated by Juliet Stroud as a college project for the California Institute of the Arts.

The film has been compared to Bambi Meets Godzilla and it's easy to see why: what starts out as heartwarming goes very, very wrong in the end. At the time this was pretty edgy and stood out. 24 years after Snookles was made it doesn't seem much, but it made an impact among the indie-animation groups back in the eighties and early nineties.

Unlike most CalArts student films (which are often glorified pencil tests) this one was actually inked-and-painted and was shown among film festivals for years. In 1991 it was broadcast on television as part of MTV's Liquid Television. It also showed up on some animation VHS and DVD releases, whether its official or bootleg.

Some people asked whatever happened to Juliet Stroud after graduating from CalArts. A quick look at the imdb shows that she currently works at Disney on their feature films (including the Princess and the Frog). In July I'm meeting with one of the former Disney animators in person, so maybe I'll ask and see if he remembers her.


Anonymous said...

Interesting. Even without ever seeing this film or even hearing about it., I knew what was going to happen at the end. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I saw this at Spike and Mike's Animated Film Festival in La Jolla in the early 90's. What we remember is laughing so hard that we couldn't breathe. There had been music added to the short then which I think made it far more funny than this is. We just went to see the Oscar nominated animated short films at our local art theater and wanted to show this one to our son. Thanks for posting this.

Berkeley Bernie said...

I saw this at CalArts as a pencil sketch rough (without sound as well, if I recall). The animation students worked all year on their projects, and scrambled to get them done in time for the year-end showing. This was one of the best that year.

My recollection is that the original rough was even funnier. It opened with Snookles cavorting over the hills before finding the birdy. The bird stayed in the tree while singing, so Snookles breath incinerated the entire tree as well. Snookles shed a big (awww) tear on realizing what he'd done, then an abrupt change of mood as he returning to happily skipping over the hills. I'd love to see that original.

Bernie Lenhoff
Cal Arts 86

Brubaker said...

Thanks for sharing that, Bernie. Yeah, I'd love to see the original pencil test turn up.

Berkeley Bernie said...

Maybe Julie has it. She's a friend of a friend on Facebook, I'll ask.