Boing Doc

The very first thought of a documentary was sparked by a UPA Tribute, produced by Tee Bosustow and Marsh Jeffers, at Filmex in Century City, California, in 1978. A two hour screening of the most important UPA films was shown, including home movies of the 1941 Disney strike, with audio comments by Art Babbitt, Bill Hurtz, and Steve Bosustow. An impromptu discussion followed, with Dave Hilberman, Steve Bosustow, Herb Klynn, Bill Hurtz, Jules Engel, and several others. The room was jammed packed …. and no one recored it. But, it did turn the light on for the first time, to do a documentary on UPA.

However, two and a half decades elapsed before production began in earnest in 2003. Out of several early titles, the one that lasted the longest was UPA: Mavericks, Magic, and Magoo. It wasn’t until later that Mike Kazaleh, at little a crew lunch, came up with the final title that stuck, The Boing Heard Round the World. The primary focus in the early days was videotaping former UPA artist and other animation experts, now totaling nearly 200, some of which we put into our Toon in to the World of Animation podcast. We also began doing a series of UPA presentations worldwide, often at international animation film festivals, to bring UPA back into the consciousness of the animation community. They included Paris, Zagreb, Ottawa, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Espinho in Portugal, T?ebo? in the Czech Republic, Emeryville, Palm Springs, Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale, and the Academy of Motion Pictures in Beverly Hills.

Although we’ve had our fair share of early interruptions with limited cash and crew, we’ve started up again to go the distance after a gala 2012 Magoo at the Alex event and a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013. Our focus has shifted now from gathering materials and touting the importance of UPA, down to the nitty gritty of producing the 90 minute documentary, selecting clips from interviews and crafting them into illustrative animated scenes, giving the
inside story, often never heard before, telling why UPA was so instrumental in changing the face of modern animation, and narrowing the scenes down to just the interviews that are the most fascinating and entertaining, to create about 30 scenes, no narrator, just the interviews of passionate UPA artists and animation experts.

We are also clearing out of our production space, full of UPA treasures collected by Steve Bosustow, who was going to do a book on UPA before his untimely death. Many of the items will appear in the documentary and a companion book and DVD, which we hope to publish around the same time as the documentary’s release date. Ultimately all the UPA treasures will be going to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science library and film archives for safe
keeping, as well as being assessable to animation research. Cinzia Bottini, a graduate student from Singapore, doing her dissertation on UPA, says that we have the best UPA collection she’s ever seen. It’s all a slow process, and as much as we all want to finish it, we also want it to honor UPA’s high creative standards.

Tee Bosustow