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Claydream – Watch the trailer for the documentary about claymation animator Will Vinton

Altitude has announced that the documentary Claydream is being released in the UK on Altitude.film and other digital platforms from 21 November.

A little hunk of clay goes a long way in this fascinating and hugely entertaining look at the life and career of pioneering animator Will Vinton in Marq Evan’s acclaimed film CLAYDREAM, where youthful ambition in freewheeling 1960s Portland comes face-to-face with the corporate behemoth.

Known as the father of “Claymation”, and poised to become the Walt Disney of the modern age, Will Vinton revolutionised the animation business during the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. Winning the 1974 Oscar for Best Animated Short film, Closed Mondays proved a pivotal stepping stone which allowed Vinton to push the boundaries of stop-motion filmmaking using plasticine clay. Earning an additional four Academy Award nominations, Will Vinton Studios would go on to become a household name as the creator of the iconic advertising campaigns behind the California Raisins, Domino’s The Noid, and the digital M&M characters. But after 30 years of being the unrivalled king of clay, Will Vinton’s carefully sculpted American dream began to crumble after the entrance of an at-first promising outside investor. Like an entrepreneurial David vs. Goliath story, CLAYDREAM explores Will Vinton’s rise to fame and eventual demise under the foot of Nike’s Phil Knight.

After winning an Oscar in the mid-1970s, Vinton looked set for a glittering career – he made the first full-length claymation feature film, collaborated with Hollywood megastars and set up a huge studio employing over 300 animators. But he hadn’t reckoned on death threats from former friends, claymation falling out of fashion, and business deals that would see him lose everything. Like Altitude’s recent release KURT VONNEGUT: UNSTUCK IN TIME, this is a revealing, warts-and-all look at a notable, unorthodox and game-changing artist.

Utilising a wealth of archive footage, interviews with everyone concerned in the compelling story, and plenty of examples of Vinton’s extraordinary animations, CLAYDREAM is a bittersweet, must-see examination of the often fraught relationship between art and commerce, the creator and the accountant. It’s a profoundly moving portrait of a complex man driven by burning ambition, whose groundbreaking, painstaking claymation technique remains influential to this day.

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