Jan Jaroslav Pinkava
21 June 1963
|Awards||Animated Short Film|
1998 Geri's Game
Jan Jaroslav Pinkava (born 21 June 1963, in Prague) is a Czech British writer and animator. He directed the Pixar short film Geri's Game and served as co-director and co-wrote the story for Ratatouille, both of which went on to win Oscars.
He attended Colchester Royal Grammar School from 1974 to 1982 showing interest and talent in the arts, music, drama and sculpture. (One of his juvenile sculptures 'Big Cat' was acquired by Essex University and put on permanent display outside the library.)
After obtaining an 8mm movie camera for Christmas in 1975, he began experimenting with pixilation, stop-motion plasticine, paper-drawn and cel animation. He had some early prize-winning successes in animation competitions. Most notably, he won the Young Film-Maker's Competition of the Year Award 1980 on the long-running (1969 to 1984) BBC children's quiz series Screen Test for his animated short "The Rainbow". This was hailed in 2001 on Channel 4's "100 Greatest Kids' TV shows" by ex-Screen Test presenters Michael Rodd and Brian Trueman as "the only occasion in the history of the competition where we came across a piece of film that was spectacularly professional", a clip of him receiving the award is shown in the 2007 film Son of Rambow.
He went on to study Computer Science at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where he graduated with first class honours and obtained his PhD, During this time he also represented his university in archery, fencing and hang-gliding competitions, and continued developing his cartoon drawing skills.
After university he turned to a career in computer animation initially in London, with Digital Pictures, who specialised in TV commercials.
His 1997 animated short Geri's Game won the Oscar for Best Animated Short on his mother's birthday, which prompted him to dedicate the award to her long-distance, with a message in Czech and won a string of other awards.
The short film "67 Aluminum Plates" was created during the 1998 Ottawa International Animation Festival by a group of volunteers under the direction of Jan Pinkava. The film is stop motion, filmed in one long day and edited the next. It was shown on the closing night of the festival.
In 2000, he began work as director on Ratatouille, a European-flavoured, ultimate-outsider tale based on his original story. This was to have been his feature film debut and the first Pixar film beyond the terms of the then-expiring Pixar-Disney franchise. In 2005, Pinkava was replaced as main director by The Incredibles director Brad Bird. In an interview given in 2006, Pinkava had "no comment" about this turn of events and for two years staunchly refrained from comment on the genesis of the film. At the time when he was replaced, Pinkava had written the core storyline of the film and created the styling, key characters, and sets. Following his departure from the project, Pinkava initially undertook other duties and then left the company. In the final film, Pinkava is credited for his original story idea and as the co-director. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including a nomination for Pinkava (along with Jim Capobianco and Bird) in the Best Original Screenplay category.
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