jerry levitan + josh raskin: i met the walrus.

The official full version of the Oscar-nominated animated short film “I Met The Walrus” is finally up online. A combination of pop culture history, narrative animation, musical iconography, and commentary on the social implications of war (which, predictably and depressingly, is equally relevant today) “I Met The Walrus” is an animated portrayal of a remarkable encounter with one of the world’s greatest artists.

In 1969, the film’s producer, Jerry Levitan, then 14-years old, tracked Lennon to Toronto’s King Edward Hotel after hearing a rumour that Lennon had been spotted at the Toronto airport. He headed to the top floor of the hotel, and after getting a tip from a friendly maid who asked him “You are looking for the Beatle?”, Levitan managed to sneak his way into Lennon’s hotel room and, old skool reel-to-reel tape recorder at the ready, convinced Lennon to do an interview with him.

The resulting 40-minute chat was edited down to 5-minutes for “I Met The Walrus” and serves as the soundtrack, with director Josh Raskin saying “I just wanted to literally animate the words, unfurling in the way I imagined they would appear inside the head of a baffled 14-year-old boy interviewing his idol.”

That is precisely what he accomplished – in spades. With on-point pencil illustrations by James Braithwaite and computer animation by the amazing Alex Kurina, the film is a seamless and stunning integration of narrative with visual. It’s like a school boy’s doodle brilliantly come to life. Plus there’s an undeniable Canadian tilt to the entire project that I like. Jerry Levitan is Canadian, the interview took place in Toronto, the film was created by Toronto animation production company Electric Company and premiered here in 2007.

More than that, I feel that Canada holds a political place in the world – a mindful, measured, anti-war stance – that Lennon would have agreed with.

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