Glen Keane is a Walt Disney animator famous for characters such as ‘The Beast’
17th December 2019 by Will Stewart
MadeGood – Please give me some background on yourself as a film maker, and how you got into film making. Is this film about Glen Keane a typical example of your work?
Ashley Rodholm – Growing up I always wanted to make films. I’d craft videos for high school projects instead of writing papers. I went to school at UC Berkeley for Film Studies, where I learned about all of the master filmmakers and the art behind filmmaking. All the practical knowledge I have about the craft I’ve learned from jobs I’ve had out of college at production & post-production houses. I was lucky to work for 5 years at an amazing creative company called Autofuss, which was later acquired by Google. There I worked on a lot of projects that combine art and technology and I’ve been fascinated by that sort of work ever since.
MadeGood – How did you find out about Glen Keane, and what made you want to make a film about him? Was it easy to get his cooperation, and what was he like as a person?
Ashley Rodholm – For “Step Into the Page” with Glen Keane, I was contacted by the organization The Future of Storytelling. Their goal is to reinvent the way stories are told through new technology, so I was already a big fan. Glen Keane was to be a speaker at an upcoming event and they asked if I would collaborate with him on a film. At the time, Glen had been experimenting with this brand new VR tool called Tilt Brush and was really excited about the possibilities with art, so we decided to focus the film on his creative philosophy and what he saw as the future for this new tool.
MadeGood – He’s a very inspirational person to listen to. The film was made a few years ago now, what (if anything) do you think you took away from your time with Glen Keane?
Ashley Rodholm – As Glen says in the film, he becomes the characters he is creating, absolutely absorbed in the creative process. It’s something that comes across very directly in the film we made together. He often speaks very passionately about his extensive experience in animation, and it was an honour to have been able to make a film that encapsulates the way he looks at art-making and the power of creativity. He was a joy to work with!
MadeGood – Do you think 3d technology as altered the way animation is made, as predicted in the film, not 4 years old?
Ashley Rodholm – Glen Keane is famous for his character “The Beast”, and that film was one of the first to use 3D technology in animation – specifically in the ballroom dance. Now most animated films use 3D animation, 2D cell work is very rare. As for VR, I’m sure animation houses have found it to be a useful tool for the production process.
MadeGood – What are you working on next?
Ashley Rodholm – Most recently, I finished a multi-year project with Google and the British Museum about emerging technologies being used to digitally preserve a large collection of Ancient Mayan artifacts that was previously only stored in the Museum’s archive. Right now, I’m editing a short documentary about a new project by the French artist JR. The project is called “Tehachapi,” about his collaboration with inmates at a California maximum security prison to create a singular work of art about their experiences in jail. Finally, alongside my current editing/directing projects, I’m also writing a narrative feature, and as always looking for more interesting stories that combine art and tech.