Tale of animator’s troubled epic comes to MTSU Mar...

Tale of animator’s troubled epic comes to MTSU March 18

An Oscar-winning animator’s decades-long effort to bring his handcrafted “masterpiece” to the screen is the subject of a documentary and Q-and-A session planned for MTSU’s Keathley University Center Theatre on Tuesday, March 18.

Kevin Schreck

Click on the poster to see a full-size version.

Filmmaker Kevin Schreck will discuss his documentary “Persistence of Vision” after the free 6 p.m. screening, which is open to the public.

A searchable campus map with parking notes is available at

Schreck combined interviews with key animators and artists, rare archival footage and animated sequences to tell the story of animator Richard Williams’ quest to complete and release his hand-animated feature “The Thief and the Cobbler.”

Williams was part of the team that won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for the 1988 live action-animated comedy “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” Williams also received a Special Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences “for animation direction and creation of the cartoon characters.”

Williams had begun work in 1964 on “The Thief and the Cobbler,” an animated epic inspired by tales of the Arabian Nights.

He spent more than 20 years on the project, completing only 20 minutes’ worth of film, but the success of “Roger Rabbit” helped him finally get a production deal for “The Thief and the Cobbler.”

His film went over deadline, however, and the company that insured “The Thief and the Cobbler” took it away from him in 1992 and finished it with other animators for international release.

Another film company then purchased “The Thief and the Cobbler,” changed it extensively and released it in 1995 under another title.

This compilation of images from Oscar-winning animator Richard Williams’ unfinished feature, “The Thief and the Cobbler,” is part of a documentary, “Persistence of Vision,” to be screened and discussed March 18 at MTSU.

Schreck, who became fascinated by animation as a child, discovered “The Thief and the Cobbler” while he was in college and sleuthed out its history, noting in several interviews that he found the film’s backstory and its creative process as intriguing as the film itself.

“Persistence of Vision” is an award-winning documentary and was a major selection at dozens of 2012 and 2013 international film festivals.

You can learn more about the film at its Facebook page at You can watch the “Persistence of Vision” trailer below.

The March 18 screening and discussion is part of MTSU’s ongoing Distinguished Lecture Series. It’s sponsored by MTSU Student Programming and Events and the Department of Electronic Media Communication in the College of Mass Communication.

For more information on the screening, email EMC professor Marc Barr at

— Gina E. Fann (