Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Was a Limo Driver for Bruno Bozzetto

Once upon a time, back when I was a fan of animation, animation meant 2D animation for the most part.  Certainly not 3D animation. And in those days, perhaps 1977,  I used to attend various international animation film festivals, or at least, would see collections of animation from those festivals.  And although I was not working in animation (1), I was a member of ASIFA. I remember having posters about animation festivals from Zagreb and Sofia on my wall at RAND. People must have thought I used to go there to visit Soviet Intelligence and pass secrets or something.

As a member of ASIFA, I heard that Bruno Bozetto of Milan, Italy was coming to this country to speak at UC Santa Barbara and needed a ride from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara and back again.  As an alumnus of UCSB, and a fan of Mr. Bozzetto, I volunteered to be his escort both ways in my old, red, un-air-conditioned, Chevy Impala.

Mr. Bozzetto having his picture taken with his limo driver.  Just kidding!

This was a very long time ago. It must have been sometime between 1977 and 1978.  I am pretty sure his film Allegro non Troppo (1976) was out by then.  

I remember driving him both ways, I have an image of him in my head. I remember a few things from his talk. That he had a small animation studio in Milan, Italy, and that they mostly made a living doing commercials. I remember him describing a system whereby the Italian government would sponsor short animated films, but that one of the requirements was that they had to be about 11 minutes long no matter how well the idea fit into that length. These films showed as short subjects at movie theatres in front of the main feature, I think. Just like we used to do in this country in the early days of film.  I think he went on to say that this is how his film Allegro non Troppo got made.

A portion of Allegro non Troppo on Youtube:

An alien spacecraft litters an alien planet with a soda pop bottle and starts off a whole cascade of evolutionary doom.

Marching to their inevitable destruction!

I dropped him off at the end of a very long day somewhere in Los Angeles, said goodbye, and went home. I always wondered how he was but had no way to get in touch with him, and besides, I doubted that he remembered me.

Then one day, somehow, I saw his name on a post that Tom Sito, now a professor at USC, had done. So I gathered up my courage, and sent him a friend request

Hi Michael! I remember your driving and my...
Bruno Bozzetto
3:59am Feb 14

Hi Michael! I remember your driving and my friend Roberto, the music composer, trying to tell you a joke in english:) Nice to hear you again!


Mr. Bozzetto's Studio on the Internet

Allegro non Troppo at IMDB

Article about Mr. Bozzetto in an Italian magazine (in English)

Bruno Bozzetto at IMDB



1. Of course essentially no one was working in 3D animation back then.


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  4. "Allegro non Troppo" would make a terrific double bill with, "The Gods Must be Crazy," which also featured a central Coke bottle trope.

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