Fine Arts Films

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Fine Arts Films is a production studio based in Northern England and Hollywood. It was founded in 1955 by animator John David Wilson as a means to preserve the notion of animation as an art form.


The company's first production was Tara, the Stonecutter, which won high praise and many awards including the New York Golden Eagle, the London Film Festival Award, and the Edinburgh Film Festival Award. The next production was the groundbreaking animated music special Petroushka (based on Stravinsky's ballet) for NBC's "Sol Hurok Music Hour". It was noted for being one of the first animated shows ever aired on television and for being what could be called the first music video. Stravinsky himself conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Fine Arts Films sought to raise the bar on children's entertainment by creating educational and illuminating shorts, many of which aired all of the country in schools during class. These shorts also aired as part of NBC's show "Exploring" and went on to win the Peabody Award. Wilson additionally has seven Golden Eagle Awards for this work.

Wilson was given the chance by Australian television to set up shop in Melbourne. He later returned home to the United States to work on his only feature film, Shinbone Alley,[1] based on the hit Broadway musical of the 1950s. Shinbone incorporated the talents of some of the original cast, including Eddie Bracken as Archie the cockroach, Carol Channing as mehitabel, and John Carradine as Tyrone T. Tattersol. The film was honored with the Grand Prize Golden Phoenix Award at the 1970 Atlanta Film Festival, besting 900 films, including live action features, for the top spot.

One of the studio's more notable achievements was for the 1960 Seattle World's Fair. The film, Journey to the Stars, used cutting-edge technology, and was seen by over seven million people. It was the first 70mm Fulldome presentation, a precursor to IMAX.

Other noteworthy credits include opening titles and many music videos for "The Sonny and Cher Show", the animated opening sequence for Grease, an animated trailer for Billy Wilder's Irma La Douce, and the ABC-TV half hour animated special, Stanley, the Ugly Duckling. He directed "The Seventh Brother" for Family Films, Fox Network-TV's "Peter Pan and the Pirates", "Fraggle Rock", "Muppet Babies", "Jem", and "The Specialists" for MTV.

Film Highlights[edit]

Television Highlights[edit]



Home Video & Commercial Video Release[edit]

  • Video Gems a home video company released at least two anthologies of short-form animation films by John Wilson. These include: John Wilson's Mini Musicals also known as The Fantastic All-Electric Music Movie. The second known release on home video was titled John Wilson's Animation Wonderland.
  • Animation Wonderland was released on VHS in the early 1980s under the Video Gems label.

It includes over 15 animation shorts by John Wilson that were produced for NBC TV in the US. The video is over 100mins in length. The animation works included were Casey at the Bat - Gulliver's Travels - The Salty Sea - The Early Birds - The Tinder Box - Voyage to the Moon amongst many other notable sorts based on famous children stories and folklore.

  • John Wilson's Mini Musicals or The Fantastic All-Electric Music Movie is another home video anthology of John Wilson's animation released under the Video Gems VHS label. Included are 16 short-form animation music videos that were originally produced for the Sonny and Cher Show and broadcast on CBS TV from the early-to-mid-1970s. Some of the music videos were animated to the popular songs of the day. Many features renditions by Sonny Bono and Cher. Included on this video release are two music videos for Joni Mitchell songs "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Both Sides Now". Another short form animated music video features a Sonny and Cher cover of Bad, Bad Leroy Brown and "Higher Ground". All 16 animated music videos were produced and created under John Wilson's Fine Arts Films.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Shinbone Alley.". IMDB. 
  2. ^ Beck, Jerry. The animated movie guide. p. 247. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 

External links[edit]