Friday, November 21, 2008
I got word from George Griffin that Freude Bartlett passed on. She was a very important person in the animation world of the 1970's. When independent animation was popping up randomly all over the country, Freude put together Serious Business Company in Berkeley to distribute these films. I hope her signifigance will be appreciated.
All this was the decade before vcrs, a period when public libraries were especially well funded. Libraries were buying 16mm prints of odd films like mine for prices of $150 and up, sometimes multiple prints. There were library magazines that reviewed the available short films. Because of library screenings and art museum programs, an audience developed for independent animation, concurrently with numerous people bursting on the scene unaware of one another.
The picture above was taken by her husband Scott Bartlett, whose "Off On" was a ground breaking independent short film. Freude's hair was flaming, flaming red. She had a wonderful voice and laugh. It's just how I remember her looking. I think Freude means joy in German.
Freude encouraged many independent filmmakers, and would try to organize dinners when visitors came to town, some of which I went to. I never felt at ease with Freude, but I admired her. Her hair was a little scary, and I don't think she liked my work as much as some of her other filmmakers. I don't know. You'd think since we both lived in Berkeley we would have gotten to know each other better.
Eventually her company went bankrupt. Libraries were using their funds to buy vhs copies of "Star Wars" instead of 16mm prints of "Fun on Mars." I never saw Freude again, after I left Berkeley.
Another distributor who deserves credit for distribution of these films in the early days is Ron Epple, who passed on quite a few years ago. His company, in Champaign Illinois, was called Picture Start. Without distribution, these 70's animations would never have been seen. Even though it seemed like small revenue at the time, it was a largess compared to internet animation, where no cash changes hands.