Ex-Pixar animator moves Up to Jerusalem

Tim Crawfurd: ‘Lots of potential’ at Bezalel.

311_Tim Crawfurd (photo credit: Courtesy)
311_Tim Crawfurd
(photo credit: Courtesy)
After working at the Holy Grail of animation, Dutchborn animator Tim Crawfurd is moving to the Holy City.
Crawfurd spent 12 years at California’s Pixar Studios, where he worked on blockbuster animation movies such as Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille and Up. As of the next academic year, he will be trying to impart his skills to students at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, where he has joined the staff of the visual communications department.
Crawfurd, who will be one of the guest speakers at the Animix animation festival at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque next week, arrived in Israel with his Israeli wife and their three children last September and recently relocated from Galilee to Jerusalem ahead of taking up a position at Bezalel.
Crawfurd was living in London when his and Pixar’s paths crossed.
“I was working for a 2D animation company there, in 1996, and the work dried up, so I started looking around for something else,” Crawfurd explains. “There happened to be a digital festival at Wembley at that time, and all the big companies – Disney, Pixar and all the rest – were there. I took some of my work and showed it to someone from Pixar. They liked it, and the rest is history.”
Crawfurd attributes Pixar’s impressive track record to date to the personnel higher up the company ladder, singling out the likes of the director and chief creative officer at Pixar, John Lasserter, and director-animator- screenwriter Brad Bird.
“John Lasserter is very good at picking out good ideas. A lot of the success of an animated film depends on that. I also really like Brad Bird. He’s amazing. All the stories around, about how good he is, are absolutely true.”
Even so, Crawfurd says that Lasserter and Bird follow their own individual paths to achieving the best end product possible.
“John picks out the best ideas, but Brad will spend a month or two in his own room, sometimes away from Pixar, and he’ll get a story out. You have the freedom to do that at Pixar.”
Meanwhile, Crawfurd says he has been impressed by some of the animation work he has seen Israel. “I have seen some student films at Bezalel. There was some good stuff, and some notso- good stuff. I think there is a lot of potential there.”