Experts Available to Talk About Walt Disney’s ‘Fantasia’

Nov. 13 is the 75th anniversary of the film “Fantasia”

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” will celebrate its 75th anniversary on Friday, Nov. 13. Film, music, and psychology experts at the University of California, Riverside are available to speak about the importance of the film, how it played a role in the emergence of animation and classical music, and the role films play in a child’s education and imagination. The statements below provide an example of what our experts can touch on; however, they can speak on other aspects of the film.

Derek-Burrill(1)

Derek Burrill

Derek Burrill, associate professor of media and cultural studies:
Derek.burrill@ucr.edu
Office: (951) 827-1261

“Fantasia” certainly was an important film, particularly as one of the first experimental uses of animation for the general public.

The film was super polarizing, too, because film lovers loved it, but classical music lovers hated it! It enunciates the low/high culture divide that still plagues our aesthetic debates in the U.S. But, now, it’s considered a classic and a masterpiece.

It’s the third work in Disney’s classical cannon, so if you consider that, it’s a crazy risk and experiment. In a lot of ways, it introduced Americans to classical music in an approachable manner, and fits into Disney’s calculated cultural branding and imperialism.

Tim Labor

Tim Labor

Tim Labor, associate professor of music and media and cultural studies:
Tim.labor@ucr.edu
Office: (951) 827-5703

The importance of “Fantasia” is especially keen in the presence of new entertainment technologies for simulating environments, spaces, and humans. As market-driven things, market acceptance of new methods of old storytelling are essential to their promulgation.

The issue of “Fantasia” is not just a question of the popularity of ballet. By omitting sound and (especially) dialogue tracks in animation, the Disney artists didn’t just promise what animation could become. They stated what the combination of simulation and narrative convention were already doing: redirecting the show.

Rebekah Richert

Rebekah Richert

Rebekah Richert, associate professor of psychology
Rebekah.richert@ucr.edu
Office: (951) 827-4804

“Fantasia” encapsulates one of the aspects of movies that we all love: the opportunity to engage in whimsy and fantasy. There is a lot of focus in research and on parenting blogs and websites on educational media and whether or not children learn academic skills from watching shows or playing interactive games. The anniversary of “Fantasia” is a good time to remember the value of fun, play, imagination, and creativity and to remember that film is a way for us to share in these experiences together.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-5893
E-mail: mojgan.sherkat@ucr.edu
Twitter: mojgansherkat

Additional Contacts

Derek Burrill
Tel: (951) 827-1261
E-mail: Derek.burrill@ucr.edu

Tim Labor
Tel: (951) 827-5703
E-mail: Tim.labor@ucr.edu

Rebekah Richert
Tel: (951) 827-4804
E-mail: Rebekah.richert@ucr.edu

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