Disney animator Floyd Norman gets a documentary in Geena Davis’ film festival, a poster by Drew Struzan
Drew Struzan’s art has given us the iconic posters for Back to the Future, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, The Muppet Movie, and so many other beloved films.
He also recently did some pro-bono poster artwork for the documentary Batkid Begins, and now his art is on the poster for another documentary, Floyd Norman: An Animated Life, about the Disney animator, the first African-American artist to work at the studio long-term.
Earlier this week, news broke of the next opportunity you’ll have to see Floyd Norman: It will screen at Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival, in Bentonville, AR next month. The festival created by the Thelma & Louise actress champions women and diverse voices in media.
But if you don’t live in Arkansas, you can hope to see the feature-length doc in a few months. Michael Fiore, who made the film with Erik Sharkey, told HitFix his production company is aiming for some kind of release this summer.
How did Fiore and his team get the legendary Drew Struzan’s art on their one-sheet? That is thanks in part to Sharkey’s connection with Struzan — Sharkey directed the 2013 documentary Drew Struzan: The Man Behind the Poster.
While making their documentary about the Disney animator, the filmmakers introduced Norman to Struzan, and “the two artists became fast friends,” Fiore told HitFix via email.
For Norman’s 80th birthday in June 2015, as a birthday gift, Struzan created an illustration of Norman. Fiore said he and Sharkey “felt that this illustration captured the true spirit of the Disney legend,” so they asked Struzan if they could use it for their official poster. “Struzan graciously granted permission,” Fiore said.
Check out the poster below, and continue reading on for more about Norman and what Sharkey said about his interest in making a documentary about the longtime animator.
Norman started working at Walt Disney Productions in the mid 1950s, while Walt Disney was still alive and running the company. Norman earned a “troublemaker” reputation at Disney when he would share his opinion about corporate through drawing gags he would post around the studio. “He did it in a way that told the truth about the high ups at Disney but had people laughing,” Fiore said. At age 65, Norman was force-retired from Disney. He could never accept retirement, so he continued to find ways to go back to the studio to work on projects as a freelancer or consultant.
Among his long, long list of credits are Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, Robin Hood, Mulan, and some Pixar films, including Toy Story 2, and Monsters, Inc.
Sharkey learned about Norman and his incredible career from a friend who works at Disney. Sharkey found the animator “instantly likeable and a great storyteller with a rich history and life. I thought it would make for a great documentary,” he told HitFix via email.
Watch a teaser for Floyd Norman: An Animated Life below.
Floyd Norman: An Animated Life premiered earlier this year at the Santa Barbara Film Festival — in Norman’s hometown. The doc will screen on May 6 at the Bentonville Film Festival.