R.I.P. Frédéric Back

Posted on Thursday 26 December 2013

man_who_planted copy


We lost one of the most respected and beloved artists in the world of animation.

My single source of inspiration, Frédéric Back passed away in the morning of Christmas eve.
That morning, I woke up with an early phone call to hear the devastating news.  In the past several months, his declining health has been a heavy concern over the hearts of animation community.
For many years since I was first introduced to one of his master pieces The Man Who Planted Trees, I had been a huge fan of his work.  It was only back in 2010 when I first met him in person through Sketchtravel project, thanks to our mutual friend, animation historian Charles Solomon.
We all know of his incredible craft as an animator and painter, his ability to bring poetry to his storytelling.  But when I met him in person, it was him as one beautiful human being  who touched me beyond his craft.
I have never met anyone as giving and loving as Frédéric Back.   He truly believed in the well-being of nature and all living things.   He believed in the role of artists beyond entertainment or business.  
“Do not hesitate to give your talent if you have the ability to bring light to the world of darkness” 
Frédéric told me with such conviction.   I still remember I was completely overwhelmed by the bright sparkle in his eye..
A few years after my first visit, I took my 5 month old son to Montreal.  It was my son’s first travel experience.  I wanted my son to meet Frédéric more than anyone else in the world so he could remember who inspired his father.   
That is also when I decided to make “something.”  Something beyond my comfortably paid job which eventually lead to the project The Dam Keeper with Robert Kondo.  It was my dream to show the film to Frédéric to respond to his generosity.
We finished The Dam Keeper too little too late.  By the time I sent the DVD to Frédéric, he was already fading away.   That is my big regret. 
If every artist shared even a small part of Frédéric’s soul, I am certain the world would be in a much better place.
We may not be able to become Frédéric Back.
But it is not too late that we follow his path as artists.
Rest in Peace, Frédéric.
僕にとって心の師であるアニメーション界の巨匠フレデリック・バックさんが24日の朝亡くなられました。スケッチトラベルというプロジェクトを通じて知り合ってから本当に良くしていただきました。 多くの手紙のやり取りをしたり、悩んでいる時に励ましの言葉をいただいたり、、たった数年でしたが、大事な事を沢山教えていただきました。
バックさんはアニメーターとしても歴史上に残る巨匠でしたが、本当に彼がすごいのは彼の人間としての大きさでした。 僕はあれほどに寛大で,素直で、純粋に世界の全ての生き物を愛する勇気を持っている人と出会った事がありません。

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