Pioneering Disney animator Floyd Norman visits Pittsburgh tomorrow for screening, talk | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pioneering Disney animator Floyd Norman visits Pittsburgh tomorrow for screening, talk

Point Park University’s animation program presents An Evening with Floyd Norman, honoring the 81-year-old animator, writer and cartoonist who worked on such Disney classics as Sleeping Beauty and the original The Jungle Book.

Tomorrow night, Sat., Nov. 12, Point Park screens the documentary Floyd Norman: An Animated Life, directed by Michael Fiore and Erik Sharkey. The film will be shown in the George Rowland White Theater in the University Center at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A with Norman moderated by Point Park Cinema Arts professor Jonathan Trueblood.

And earlier tomorrow, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Norman gives a lecture on animation at the Center for Media Innovation that is free and open to the public.

Norman began his career during the 1950s as an assistant to comic-book artist Bill Woggon in his home city of Santa Barbara, Calif. His first break came when Walt Disney Productions hired him in 1956 as an in-betweener, providing transitional frames to maintain the smoothness of the animation on Sleeping Beauty.

In the 1960s, Norman's return to work on One Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone made him the first African-American artist to have a long-term relationship with Disney. Walt Disney himself promoted Norman to story artist beginning with Jungle Book.

Following Disney's death in 1966, Norman pursued other projects, such as his partnership with Leo Sullivan on Vignette Films, Inc. He was later part of production companies for animated television shows, like Hanna-Barbera and Ruby-Spears.

Before his forced retirement at 65, Norman worked as story artist on several more notable films for Walt Disney Animation Studio and Pixar, such as Mulan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc.

Norman was named a Disney Legend hall-of-famer in 2007, and this past year was appointed to the education and outreach committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

At 10 a.m. tomorrow, Norman teaches a master class for animation students at Point Park.