70 years old | Animator Jan-Eric Nyström made Finnish film history at the turn of the 1990s, when the Animac program he developed was introduced in Disney films.

Disney has inspired Jan-Eric Nyström’s life from childhood to retirement.

Animation industry great legends are the Nine Old Men group, nine masters whose work Walt Disney the quality of the cartoons was based on 40 years, from the studio’s first long It’s snowing (1937).

Especially two of them were Jan-Eric Nyström friends: Frank Thomas (1912–2004) and Oliver Johnston (1912–2008). Retired, they published a book The Illusion of Life (1981), valued as one of the best animation textbooks.

On its cover is a photograph of the authors taken by Nyström.

“I took that picture in secret when I first visited the Disney studios in 1976. At the gate, my SLR camera was recovered, but there was still a small Minox in my pocket. They asked for a picture in their book, but had to get permission from the studio. That, too, took place, and later I got a picture in the studios. ”

For on the trip, Nyström met Oliver Johnston for the first time. Frank Thomas was familiar from the Zagreb Animation Festival, and Nyström had received an invitation to visit.

“Frank and Ollie sat there in the rooms next door. I was in correspondence with them for 30 years. They also visited me in the village in 1985. ”

In all Nyström has visited Disney seven times, most recently in 1993. The 1989 visit is a small piece of Finnish film history. That’s when Nyström was invited to show Disney his computer program Animac.

“In the mid-80s, I connected a camcorder to a Mac and came up with a way to get hundreds of drawings into the machine’s memory that way. The computer was able to display them at different speeds and in different order. So with my program, I was able to see the drawings in motion immediately. ”

Before such systems, the animator could only check the functionality of the movements of his drawings by roughly slapping them back and forth. Otherwise, possible errors and clumsiness were only revealed when the filmed films were developed. Animac saved time and effort.

There are others there were entrepreneurs, but Nyström also agreed to hand over the source code of Animac, which resolved the matter. Over time, Disney bought it for all of its animators and used it About the beauty and the beast (1991) To Pocahontas (1995).

Animac is long overdue. Since then, computer animation and digital effects have been developed, especially in America. Many do not remember that a small piece of the early development of technology came from Finland.

Nyström the road to Disney connections left early. As a child, he went to watch animated compilation shows. Aku Duck was his biggest favorite. “Snippets, the hodari and the French were our family’s Sunday ceremony. ”

Nyström started drawing his own primitive animations, “scribbles”, at the age of ten. The hobby of chemistry made me interested in films and photography. At the age of 15, he acquired his first film camera of his own, with which he made both cartoon and piece animations.

1970s at the beginning Nyström applied to study at the Ateneum in the line of camera art but could not enter. Years later, he lectured on the techniques and history of animation at the University of Art and Design (now Aalto University), which continued its film education.

Nyström sent Kidnappingshort (1974) for the prestigious Zagreb Animation Festival in Yugoslavia. It was not chosen, but Nyström went to the festival nonetheless. There he went to chat in the cinema lobby with Frank Thomas.

Kidnapping the Albert worm, who appeared as the protagonist, became Nyström’s Animato logo, which he still uses.

The handprint of animator Jan-Eric Nyström appears in many Finnish films. He did his hardest tricks in the Winter War movie: “Streaks of light from ammunition and flames from the cannons of Russian fighters.”

Self-taught Nyström has been working with animation since 1973.

He has animated thousands of TV commercials, opening and closing texts, and tricks and animation for 150 feature films. He collaborated for a long time as a documentary filmmaker Juho Gartzin with and did Aki Kaurismäki the original subtitles of the films About a match factory girl (1990) Le Havreen (2011).

Hollywood performances come to mind from special effects, and you don’t immediately think that they are in almost all films, even Finnish ones. Nyström mentions the most laborious feature film for himself Pekka Parikan Winter War (1989).

“I did 25 animation tricks, light streaks of ammunition and the mouth flames of the cannons of Russian fighters. The fighters were one-and-a-half-meter radio-controlled models. It was important to get the rhythm of the shooting right and snippet the traces towards them when they were left behind, for example, spruces. ”

Although Nyström developed the use of a computer in animation, the characters he has animated by hand. Today, it is done digitally. Nyström stopped making ads in 2008 and retired in 2014. He compares the old craft imprint a little wistfully to the current digital mass production.

But the hands have not been left idle. Now Nyström builds miniature trains like Walt Disney once did and proudly bears the nickname on the steamer. The trains are so big that they can accommodate.

“Ollie Johnston was also an avid garden hunter. A fly in Puri when I got to ride his train. I started building the first steam locomotive in 2000. I did it on a 1/8 scale according to 20th century drawings. ”

Jan-Eric Nyström

  • Born in 1951 in Helsinki.

  • As an animator in the Film Department of the General Staff during conscription in 1974.

  • Made animations, tricks and texts for thousands of TV commercials, hundreds of documentaries and about 150 feature films.

  • Directed by a short animation Kidnapping (1974) and documents Breidablick (2011) and Ballongmannen (2016) for Yle FST.

  • Invented the Animac program, which was used in Disney studios from 1989 to 1994, among others.

  • Collaboration with Juho Gartz 1988–2009. Among other things, the script, description and animations Eadweard Muybridge -hair (2007), which was awarded Best Documentary at the Fox Days.

  • Original texts for Aki Kaurismäki’s films 1990–2011, Juhaan (1999) also intermediate text extensions.

  • In cohabitation, no children.

  • Engaged in the construction of miniature trains. Will present its steam locomotives in Hyvinkää at the Finnish Railway Museum on 11 September, weather permitting.

  • Turns 70 on Saturday, July 24th.

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