Breckenridge Film Festival showing ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with behind-the-scenes discussion
IF YOU GO
What: “Beauty and the Beast” Then & Now
When: 2 p.m. 1991 version; 5:30 p.m. Behind the Scenes discussion and 2017 version, Sunday, Sept. 24
Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge
More information: BreckFilmFest.org
When I was a kid, movie night meant one thing — opening the cupboard below the TV and choosing which VHS cassette to pull out of its place. And right there, front and center of the row, were the Disney movies, with their bright, colorful, puffy casings — you know the ones. While the choice varied, my sister and I kept a small handful in fairly short rotation, one of which was the classic “Beauty and the Beast.”
This Sunday, the Breckenridge Film Festival is giving children of the ’80s and ’90s the chance to relive that VHS-cassette nostalgia by showing the original 1991 version of “Beauty and the Beast” on the big screen. Not only that, they’re taking it one step further by showing the 2017 live-action remake that very same evening. And the cherry on top — two members of the creative team who worked on the films will be on hand for discussion, to answer questions and to offer a unique demonstration.
RISK AND REWARD
Don Hahn has a number of Disney credits on his IMDB resume. His producer’s list starts with “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and goes on to include “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “The Emperors’ New Groove,” among others. And when the opportunity came to revisit “Beauty and the Beast” for the live-action remake, he took it.
“It’s great, it’s humbling. It’s wonderful when the audience likes the movie,” Hahn said. “The original one was kind of a phenomenon. People gravitated toward it, the Academy nominated it for best picture — it had such a great following.”
Remaking a beloved film always comes with its risks, but Hahn believes that the result was worth the effort.
“It was just a perfect situation where everybody came together to tell the story,” he said, citing the “love and respect” that cast and crew had for the original, which contributed to the newer film’s success.
While the new film closely follows the original story, it doesn’t duplicate it. The new one, Hahn said, elaborates on the backstory of Belle, played by the incomparable Emma Watson.
“It will be a chance for the audience to compare the two,” he said.
MAGIC AND MORE
Before the showing of the remake, Hahn will be joined by former Disney animator Aaron Blaise. In addition to “Beauty and the Beast” — in which he was the lead animator of the Beast’s character — Blaise’s Disney animation credits include “The Rescuers Down Under,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” “Pocahontas” and “Mulan.”
Blaise will give a live demonstration to the audience of hand-drawn animation technique. Many of today’s Disney and Pixar films are done completely generated, through computer programs, but Blaise will show everyone how it used to be done.
“It’s like watching a magic show,” Hahn said of witnessing this technique.
In addition to the demonstration, Hahn and Blaise will share stories of the making of the films, with behind-the-scenes tidbits of successes and failures, and the process of developing stories, characters and designs.
Howard Cook, Breck Film Fest programming committee chair and professor of animation at CU Denver, will also be on hand to facilitate discussion of old and new technology, and the changing landscape of animated films today.
GRAB YOUR POPCORN
As far as Hahn knows, Breckenridge is the only film festival showing the two versions of the film with the animator demonstration, “so hopefully it makes it a little more special.”
Hahn is no stranger to Breckenridge, having vacationed in Summit County off and on for the past several decades, particularly during a stint living in Boulder. Having the film festival offered an opportunity for a win-win situation to have a vacation and share his part in a creative project with a wider audience.
Whether you’re experiencing “Beauty and the Beast” for the first or the 50th time, Hahn recommends making time to come by for one or the other, or even both.
“It will be a chance to watch the film with a couple of the guys who made it,” he said.
He also hopes people come with questions.
“Bring them along,” he said, “and we’ll do our best to answer them.”
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