“He’s like the Forrest Gump of animation.” This isn’t a brand new documentary, but it’s still worth watching if you’ve never seen it. We originally featured the very first trailer for Floyd Norman: An Animated Life back in 2016, after the film premiered at a few film festivals.
The documentary film is about Disney legend Floyd Norman, the first African-American animator at Disney. Described as: “Animator. Storyman. Troublemaker.” After working there for almost all of his life, he was told by Disney to retire, but has refused to do so and keeps on working with the mantra that he’ll “die at the drawing board.”
Floyd has worked on Disney classics like Sleeping Beauty and The Jungle Book and even worked at Pixar on Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc. We’re posting this trailer again four years later, because why not – let’s bring some extra attention to great films about great storytellers that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Hired as the first African-American at Disney in 1956, Floyd worked on such classics as Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians before being handpicked by Walt Disney to join the story team on The Jungle Book. After Walt Disney’s death in 1966, Norman left Disney to found Vignette Films, where he developed the original Fat Albert TV special and produced segments for Sesame Street. He would later work at Hanna-Barbera on many classic cartoons, including Scooby Doo. After Hanna-Barbera, Floyd’s talents took him to Pixar to work on Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc.
On Mr. Norman’s 65th birthday in 2000, Disney HR forced Floyd to retire. Refusing to leave his “home,” Floyd has “hijacked” a cubicle at Disney Publishing, unpaid, for the past 16 years, picking up freelance work when he can.
At 81 he continues to have an impact as both an artist and a mentor. Mr. Norman plans to “die at the drawing board.”
Floyd Norman: An Animated Life is co-directed by filmmakers Michael Fiore and Erik Sharkey (Drew: The Man Behind the Poster). This originally premiered in 2016 at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.