Adam Beckett Project

"Life in an Atom"

Filmmakers Travis Wade Ivy and Helder King Sun are endeavoring to produce and co-direct a documentary focusing on the life and work of the legendary deceased animator Adam Beckett. Beckett was an eccentric animator, and aspiring visual effects artist during the 1970's. He was part of a very productive era, visually stimulating experimental animation was flourishing at that time. Adam Beckett joined the CalArts Experimental Animation program, and there produced seven films in three years.

His films consist of drawn animation loops; geometric and organic shapes metamorphosing, with a great deal of complex optical printing techniques that elevate the original shapes, the microcosmic, to new worlds, the macrocosmic. Adam Beckett went on to graduate, after which he put his animation talent and his optical printing skills to work on a film called Star Wars. He developed animated lasers and explosions for this film, which were not used; a pyrotechnic effect was instead chosen. Adam was crushed by this rejection and a downward spiral began, exacerbated by a love lost. Adam Beckett tragically died in a fire at his Val Verde, California home on March 6, 1979.

This documentary project aims to resurrect Adam Beckett's too-short life. To gather his friends and family together in remembrance, to piece together the mysteries of his life, and to present to the public his work: complex, intense, erotic, hallucinogenic animated masterpieces that cannot be allowed to deteriorate any further. These films are powerful messages from an experimental mind/being. They are works of art from a bygone era that resonate still today, and should be exhibited rather than forgotten.

Interviews of his friends, family, faculty and colleagues shot on Super-16mm film will be optically intertwined with "lost" 35mm footage from Adam's unfinished masterpiece, "Life in an Atom." Newly discovered animation sequences, original artworks, and other memorabilia will be shot on 35mm film. This documentary promises to be an intriguing look at a long-overlooked artist, in a style inspired by and remaining true to Adam's. The footage will be conformed for release on 35mm film, and also packaged as a DVD featuring the documentary plus all of Adam Beckett's short films, in a restored state. Running audio commentary by renowned animation scholars will be provided on the disc. The documentary will be screened together with retrospectives of Adam's work at film festivals, art galleries, and theatrically world wide.

Adam Beckett PortraitAKB small imageAdam Beckett's NotebooksStill from Adam Beckett's Film Dear Janice