Embracing Beauty • Day 18 • Animated Short, Borrowed Time

09-28-209Today’s example of beauty is a short film made by writer/directors Lou Hamou-Lhadj and Andrew Coats. While you might not know the names of these artists, you have undoubtedly been exposed to their work. The two have many amazing animated films included in their filmographies, including WALL•E, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Partly Cloudy, Day & Night, Brave, Toy Story That Time Forgot, Toy Story OF TERROR!, Inside Out, Horton Hears a Who, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Rio, and The Good Dinosaur.

Their first film together, Borrowed Time, is the story of “a weathered Sheriff who returns to the remains of an accident he has spent a lifetime trying to forget. With each step forward, the memories come flooding back. Faced with his mistake once again, he must find the strength to carry on.” The short film has been selected for over 50 festivals and has won many awards.

This is a hauntingly beautiful work of animation, effectively demonstrating that animation is not just for kids.

Stay tuned for more examples of embracing beauty, and please share this post with your friends! Let’s help spread beauty all over the internet.

Also, if you have an example of beauty that you want to share, drop me a line at info@thimblerigsark.com and I’ll be happy to include it!

Embracing Beauty • The First Week & Some New

Embracing Beauty • The Second Week & Some New

Embracing Beauty • Day 15 • The Bus Scene from Swiss Army Man

Embracing Beauty • Day 17 • “For the Beauty of the Earth” John Rutter


Embracing Beauty • Day 5 • The Animation of Glen Keane


You know the work of animator Glen Keane, even if you aren’t familiar with his name. Having worked with Disney for many years, Keane’s character animation contribution is a virtual who’s who of the pre-Pixar Disney canon. From his last feature animated position as animation supervisor, character designer, and the directing animator in the hit Disney film, Tangled, to his first job as character animator on The Rescuers, Keane’s fingerprints are found all over some of our favorite Disney films.

But for today’s embrace of beauty, I want to focus on Keane’s most recent contribution to the world of animation, his 2014 animated short, Duet.

If you are a fan of animation, I’d invite you to take a look at more Keane’s work on the various Tumbler accounts dedicated to his art. Here are some beautiful examples taken from theartofkeane.blogspot.com.

You can find another example of beauty in Keane’s work in a video he made with the Opéra national de Paris, called Nephtali, which “uses both film and drawing in order to depict the journey of a ballerina that is drawn towards a higher power.”

Lastly, while not necessarily fitting with our exploration of beauty, Glen Keane talks about the past and future of visual storytelling in this fascinating video, Step into the Page.

Follow Glen Keane on Twitter here, and on Facebook, here.

Stay tuned for more examples of embracing beauty, and please share these posts with your friends each day this month! Remember, this blog doesn’t have any advertising, and I make no money off of getting hits on stories. I just want to counteract the ugliness we see each day with small and huge examples of the beauty that exists in this world!

Also, if you have an example of beauty that you want to share, drop me a line at info@thimblerigsark.com and I’ll be happy to include it!

Past days of Embracing Beauty:

Embracing Beauty • Day 1 • Hyeonseo Lee’s Escape from North Korea

Embracing Beauty • Day 2 • A Teacher’s Story

Embracing Beauty • Day 3 • The Photography of Samuel Zeller

Embracing Beauty • Day 4 • The Top 100 Most Beautiful Songs According to Reddit


Animator Glen Keane’s “Duet”… He Gets It

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.


Dreamworks Animation to make Thimblerig’s Ark Film? I’m BUSTING!

I thought I couldn’t get any more excited than I did last week, when my post What’s Wrong with Christian Filmmaking went viral.  It was an amazing few days, with over 90,000 people having visited my blog in a little under a week, and the article being reposted by actor Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, God is Dead) as well as writer Jefferson Bethke (Jesus > Religion).  What I didn’t realize when it was going nuts, was just how nuts it was going to get.

Thimblerig's Ark Cover ArtOn Sunday afternoon (China time), I received an email from a man named Alex Boese, who said he was a producer at Dreamworks.  Apparently, with the renewed focus on faith-based films brought about by films like Son of God, Noah, God is Dead, and the upcoming Exodus, my article had made the rounds in Hollywood until someone on Facebook shared it with him.  Boese wrote that he read the blog and appreciated what I’d written, but as he was reading, the cover of Thimblerig’s Ark caught his eye.  It’s featured pretty prominently on my blog, and it doesn’t surprise me, as the cover was a fantastic job by seventeen year old up-and-coming artist, Burton Booz.   Intrigued by the cover, Boese went ahead and downloaded the book out of curiosity.  Here is what Boese said in his email:

I asked April, my eleven year old daughter, to give the book a glance, since she is often my barometer for what kids will like and not like.  This was around 7 PM on Thursday night.  When my wife went to get her ready for bed at 8:30, she was so deep into the story that my daughter didn’t hear my wife telling her to brush her teeth.  We let her keep reading, and by 9:30, she’d read the whole book.  She ran downstairs and asked if I could give her the second book.  You should have seen the sad look on her face when I told her there wasn’t a second book yet!  At that point, I knew I’d found something!

Friday morning, Boese took Thimblerig’s Ark up the chain of command at Dreamworks, until it landed on the desk of none other than Jeffrey Katzenberg himself that afternoon.  That’s right – on Friday, March 28 – the day Noah was released in the US –  the CEO of Dreamworks Animation was given a copy of my own version of the ark story, and Boese wrote that Katzenberg “absolutely loved it”!!!

katzYes, you read that correctly.  Jeffrey Katzenberg – who has been responsible for Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and lots more – loved Thimblerig’s Ark.

I’m busting here.  BUSTING!

It’s all a bit of a whirlwind to me, and I don’t claim to understand everything that’s going on at this point, but if I’m reading this correctly, then it seems like Dreamworks – through this Mr. Boese – has made first contact in an attempt to negotiate some sort of deal for the rights for my first novel.  With the apparently success of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, it seems like the world’s most famous floating zoo is no longer seen as a hazardous film investment, and Aronofsky’s film was definitely not family fare!  I’m currently trying to find a good entertainment lawyer to help make sure I do things correctly, and I’ve made a few contacts with a law firm based out of Hollywood called the Iocus, Blague, & Witz Entertainment Group, but we’ll see where it goes.

I wonder if Katzenberg will talk his good friend Mr. Spielberg into directing it?  The way things have been going lately, I actually wouldn’t be surprised.

I’ve put up a copy of Boese’s email on an image hosting website, and you can read in detail by clicking here.  Meanwhile, we’re scheduled to have a Skype conference at 2:00 PM Los Angeles time, which will be about 5:00 AM tomorrow morning for me.


Oh, and by the way… since it appears most people don’t click links…

Thimblerig's Ark April 1


Your Love Never Fails

If Thimblerig’s Ark were adapted into a movie, I would want this song on the soundtrack.  It perfectly captures the theme of the story.

Romans 8:28:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Psalm 136:1-3:

Praise the Lord! He is good.
    God’s love never fails.
Praise the God of all gods.
    God’s love never fails.
Praise the Lord of lords.
    God’s love never fails.