Jamie Caliri

Jamie CaliriJamie Caliri isn’t an illustrator, animator or graphic artist, he’s the director of two of my favorite recent short animations.

If you haven’t seen Dragon, the wonderful, essentially wordless, animated ad for United Airlines in which a father tucks his son in bed and flies off on the back of a bird to meet with knights at a round table, defeat a fire-breathing dragon and bring home the rewards, you’ve missed the most beautiful 64 seconds of animated television in recent memory.

You can see the ad here on the United Airlines site, along with a fascinating “making of” video that shows how Caliri and his talented crew of artists, animators and artisans created animated magic out of stage sets and puppets that were essentially paper cut-outs.

There is a larger format version of the ad (worth it) here on Caliri’s site, as well as a comprehensive list of the creative team and some large production stills.

Caliri is also responsible for the end titles for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, which was certainly the best part of that movie and one of the best short pieces of animation in several years.

I didn’t care that much for the movie (although the production design is nice), but I’ll pick up that DVD just for Caliri & company’s beautiful end titles.

Link via Drawn!


4 Replies to “Jamie Caliri”

  1. Yeah, that ad is a thing of beauty, gotta agree with you there. And the making of is worth the watch, it’s lovely to get a peek inside the thoughts of the creator(s). And in this case, rather enlightening as to how they do it.

    I wish more ads were like that, beautiful works in themselves that please the mind and the eyes, rather than a kick in the neo-cortex like most advertising is nowadays …

    And hey, whilst digital animation is really growing, there is something about the feel that analog work gives that is unbeatable in it’s own way.


  2. Yeah. Until I saw the “making of” video, I thought it was made by manipulating the cut-outs digitally. I didn’t realize it was actually multi-plane mineature stage sets.

    It’s a masterful little piece of story-telling, as well. A heroic drama in 60 seconds.

    And I agree with you about the appeal of non-digital work (as much as I enjoy well-done digital stuff).

  3. Jamie’s work is amazing. At college we would watch his Lemony Snickets credits and United Airlines Ad over and over again. In India where I am from, the popularity of a title sequence before a film is just catching on so title sequences’ are something that we love to devour by the score.
    I also find the entire Hand-made cut out effect extremely appealing. Lotte Reiniger is another director animator who followed an extremely tiresome style of using paper cut outs of human figures which had as many as 30 attachments to do her animations. This is a link to her work on Jack and the beanstalk:

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