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The Adam Beckett Project

Adam Beckett was a pioneering experimental animator whose work emerged in the early 1970s, culminating with his contribution as head of animation and rotoscoping for the first Star Wars movie, which hit theaters in 1977.

He was known for his work in abstraction, and his innovative use of the animated cycle. His work mesmerized and confounded viewers then, and continue to do so.

"Infinite Animation" is the title of the monograph I wrote about the life and work of Adam Beckett. This title references his obsessive drawing and re-photography on the optical printer, transmuting a simple image sequence into a cosmic wonder. 

Infinite Animation: The Life and Work of Adam Beckett

A still image showing multiple itierations of a shape; part of "Knotte Grosse" sample reel.

Still frame from "Knotte Grosse", unfinished animation. The existing sample reel demonstrates a significant amount of innovation and research. Here we see multiple iterations of a shape, with movement added in the process of shooting. This isn't computer graphics!

An archived Theatre Vanguard program, 1974; includes "Flesh Flows" by Adam, alongside work by classmates and teachers Jules Engel and Pat O'Neill.ram
Looking at film in archive at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Pamela Turner with film preservationist Mark Toscano

Early days of the project - with film preservationist Mark Toscano at the Academy film archives. Mark worked diligently on the restoration of Adam's films; his commitment to Adam's work was (and is) remarkable.

Related links:

“Expanded Cinema” by Gene Youngblood (influential teacher and thinker, for Adam and many more of us)


Adam Beckett Project


David Berry (friend, classmate, fellow animator) (Beckett Tribute)  (5757 – Behind the scenes on “Star Wars”)


Pat O’Neill ( esteemed experimental filmmaker, friend, mentor and teacher at CalArts)

Richard Taylor  (pioneering visual effects artist, worked with Adam at Robert Abel and Associates)

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