Animation &Animation Artifacts &Commentary &Independent Animation 21 May 2013 05:11 am

Tissa’s Nidsummer Night Dream

- From 1983-85, Tissa David teamed with three other friends in Holland to begin work on an animated version of Mendelssohn’s Midsummer’s Night Dream.

This film would introduce several animated characters from Shakespeare’s play over a live action orchestral performance of Mendolssohn’s music. These characters chased each other around the orchestra until, eventually, the animation took over, and the orchestra melted away. The tympanist, himself, melded into Bottom.

This film was completely animated by Tissa, including all inbetweens and layouts. She was the film’s director, though in all the time she worked on this film, she never once described her role to me as such. She was just making a film she loved with several extraordinarily talented friends.

Kalman Kozelka was a brilliant cameraman who shot the entire film in a home built multiplane camera. It’s unjust to call it simply photography, because every scene involved seven to ten exposures with mattes and special lighting. Half of the scenes combined live action with the animation, and all of the scenes involved multiple levels with back and front lighting.

Ida Kozelka-Mocsary, Kalman’s wife, designed all the character coloring and colored all the cels . She worked closely in helping Kalman to prepare everything for the photography including mattes.

Richard Fehsl was the brilliant designer who colored and, in many cases, animated the Bg’s. All of these Bg’s were painted with dyes on frosted cels under rather delicate inking.

All four took story credit.

I have a good handful of the overlarge cels and artwork from the film. Here are a few of those cels along with a number of representative frame grabs from the film.

__________________(Click any image to enlarge.)

__________________Titania, the drawing and the cel.



__________________Three of Richard Fehsl’s Bg elements. These were back lit
__________________and front lit and combined with other Bg levels.

At times, Fehsl’s Backgrounds animated.


___I have so much more art from this film, that there’ll surely be more posts to come.

This video (vhs) can still be located – used copies – on Amazon here.

The film features a live-action orchestra with Shakespeare’s characters running wild over the footage. Eventually, the picture opens to an animated woods. It was photographed by Kalman Kozelka, color styled by Ida Kozelka-Mocsary, and Bg designs by Richard Fehsl.

The film aired on the BBC in 1983 and was released on VHS by Goodtimes Video.

(click any image to enlarge.)
Bottom chases Titania in the woods.

At one point the instruments of the orchestra take on an animated life of their own.

The dark coloring loses some of the emotional delicacy of the drawing,
but is appropriate within the context of the film.

Titania catches Bottom in her arms.
Three cels from a sequence.

Titania dances with Bottom’s stool. (He’s brought it into the woods
when he transformed from the tympanist to the animated character.)

2 Responses to “Tissa’s Nidsummer Night Dream”

  1. on 21 May 2013 at 10:34 am 1.Richard O'Connor said …

    You can sort of tell from the crappy VHS that there is miraculous artwork hidden below the layers of tape noise and compromised color signal, but for the most part the video is practically sihouette. These scans are just fantastic.

  2. on 23 May 2013 at 1:48 am 2.Swinton Scott said …

    Thanks for posting these drawings by Tissa David, they are great. Always nice to see other styles of animation.
    I always thought animators should be able to draw in any style that was put in front of them, or at least try. THese drawings are great!

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