This morning I was led from the Rabbit Room to a short animated piece that was hand-drawn by Glen Keane, a Disney animator for thirty years, who served as animator on several of Disney’s classic animated features, and was also was one of the producers of one of my 11 year old daughter’s favorites, Tangled.
The short film is called Duet, and it’s beautiful.
While I do enjoy animated films, and would love to have Thimblerig’s Ark made into an animated feature one day (hint!), I am admittedly not an expert on the movers and shakers of animation. However, Glen Keane is a name with which I am extremely familiar, and it all comes back to a series of books written for children, the Adam Raccoon books. These were a series of books that illustrated the parables of Jesus, and I loved reading them to my kids when they were little. I’d highly recommend them, and you can find them on Amazon.
When I realized who Glen Keane was, I was amazed that an artist who was an integral part of the Disney revival of the 1980’s and 90’s was also a believer and follower of Christ, and that he was doing exactly what Christians who want to produce entertainment should be doing – excellent and highly visible work at the top of his field, that he ultimately hoped would bring glory to God.
And the best thing, while not being overt, Keane also isn’t silent about how his faith impacts his art. In an article at Christianity Today, Keane said he was inspired by James 1:17 when he was executive producer and animator for Tangled: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Keane also talks about how his faith impacted the stories of Ariel in The Little Mermaid, and Beast from Beauty and the Beast.
Christians are called to do different things with their gifts, and while Keane has been obedient to be a believer and a professional animator with the world’s leading entertainment corporation, others might be called to create more overtly Christian books, or to work in complete anonymity. But, I am personally glad that believing professionals like Keane are out there, continually producing wonderful works of art and impacting the world of animation and entertainment for the Gospel.
If you have read this far, take a moment and pray for Glen, that God would continue to use his gifts and abilities in surprising ways.
Finally, if you are a fan of animation, you might be interested to watch this making of video for Duet, discussing how Keane has adapted to modern technology, while still doing traditional animation.