Celestial Navigations: The Short Films of Al Jarnow [DVD] [2010]

Al Jarnow occupied a unique and remarkable place in American film history. As one of the most regular contributors to Sesame Street and 321-Contact, writer-director-animator Jarnow used ingenious combinations of stop-motion animation, cel animation and time-lapse photography to make profoundly difficult scientific concepts and processes digestible for millions of children - and did so entirely within the framework of animated shorts. From a claymation segment entitled "The River" that illustrated various ways to cross a body of water, to one entitled "Cubes" that demonstrated conservation of mass with such items as sugar, plexiglass and wood frames, Jarnow set about reinventing educational television in an unusual but remarkably humble way: his films on television seldom bore the stamp of his name. Later on, working from his gingerbread house on Long Island, Jarnow pursued avant-garde filmmaking, which carried him into the circles of such giants as Jonas Mekas and Stan Brakhage. This particular collection presents 45 of Jarnow's shorts, transferred and color corrected from the original prints, as well as a half-hour documentary on the filmmaker's fundamental creative process. Bonus additions include storyboards, photos, a film index, a 60-page book with essays on Jarnow's work, and playlists designed for children and adults.
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Synopsis

Celestial Navigations: The Short Films of Al Jarnow
Al Jarnow occupied a unique and remarkable place in American film history. As one of the most regular contributors to Sesame Street and 321-Contact, writer-director-animator Jarnow used ingenious combinations of stop-motion animation, cel animation and time-lapse photography to make profoundly difficult scientific concepts and processes digestible for millions of children - and did so entirely within the framework of animated shorts. From a claymation segment entitled "The River" that illustrated various ways to cross a body of water, to one entitled "Cubes" that demonstrated conservation of mass with such items as sugar, plexiglass and wood frames, Jarnow set about reinventing educational television in an unusual but remarkably humble way: his films on television seldom bore the stamp of his name. Later on, working from his gingerbread house on Long Island, Jarnow pursued avant-garde filmmaking, which carried him into the circles of such giants as Jonas Mekas and Stan Brakhage. This particular collection presents 45 of Jarnow's shorts, transferred and color corrected from the original prints, as well as a half-hour documentary on the filmmaker's fundamental creative process. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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