Jiri Trnka as John knew him

An article written by John Halas in 1980 on the legendary Czech animator Jiri Trnka (1912-1969). JIRI TRNKA AS I KNEW HIM It was April 1947. I arrived through a devastated Germany in Prague with my young Hungarian nephew who by chance had been found in an orphanage in Buckinghamshire among refugees from Central Europe. After putting him on a train at Prague Central Station for Budapest, I proceeded to my appointment in the studios of Kratki Brothers, the new Czechoslovakian animation unit in the centre of the city. I was greeted by Eduard Hofman, the head of the studio »

Encounter With Moholy-Nagy

In 1980 John Halas wrote this memoir essay about his time in the Mühely - the Hungarian Bauhaus. Thanks to Vivien Halas for allowing us to reprint it here. All the stills are from the film A Memory of Moholy-Nagy that John produced in 1990. ‘MÜHELY’ founded in Budapest soon after the collapse of the 'BAUHAUS', was reputed to be at the time the only establishment which carried on the 'BAUHAUS' tradition. There are two possible translations of 'MÜHELY' into English. The first is "STUDIO'; the second 'WORKSHOP'. In the specific period, in the context of the function it fulfilled »

Art and Animation - A History of Halas & Batchelor - Part 6

This post continues Roger Manvell's history of Halas & Batchelor, written for the 40th anniversary of the studio and re-edited by Paul Wells for the book Halas & Batchelor Cartoons: An Animated History in 2012. Here are links to parts one, two, three, four and five. This part covers the second half of the sixties. Two special productions in the field of entertainment involved the unit in a new kind of undertaking. The first was a wholly live-action film, The Monster of Highgate Pond (1961), sponsored by the Children’s Film Foundation, which specialises in producing entertainment for younger children. »

Art and Animation - A History of Halas & Batchelor - Part 5

This post continues Roger Manvell's history of Halas & Batchelor, written for the 40th anniversary of the studio and re-edited by Paul Wells for the book Halas & Batchelor Cartoons: An Animated History in 2012. Here are links to parts one, two, three and four. This part covers half of the sixties. Into the 1960ies Projects for further full-length animated films, including ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (the latter already having been produced in feature-length puppet form by Trnka in Prague in 1959) were abandoned because of the pressure of other work, including sponsored public relations »

Art and Animation - A History of Halas & Batchelor - Part 4

This post continues Roger Manvell's history of Halas & Batchelor, written for the 40th anniversary of the studio and re-edited by Paul Wells for the book Halas & Batchelor Cartoons: An Animated History in 2012. Here are links to parts one, two, and three. This part covers the production of Animal Farm (1954). The film was remastered in 2014 for its 60th anniversary and is available on DVD and Blu-ray. To make Animal Farm (1954) alongside their normal, and expanding sponsored work, Halas and Batchelor became the largest animation studio in Western Europe with a creative and technical staff of »