Alligator Planet Supplies Animation to Two Oscar Shortlist Documentaries
December 7, 2009

Alligator Planet Supplies Animation to Two Oscar Shortlist Documentaries

San Francisco, Calif. - Animation producer Alligator Planet is proud to have contributed animated sequences in two of this year’s contenders for the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. The films, “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” and “Under Our Skin” are two of the 15 films selected by the motion picture academy for further consideration as one of five possible nominees in this category.
“The Most Dangerous Man in America”
Alligator Planet’s Eli Noyes worked with producer-directors Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
at Kovno Communications to bring to life key moments in the story of the Mr. Ellsberg’s
acquisition and distribution of the documents known as the Pentagon Papers. The sequences
were visualizations of several of Ellsberg’s activities in 1971 when he copied and delivered the
top secret documents to Ben Bagdikian, then an editor of The Washington Post.
The animated sequences illustrate parts of the Pentagon Papers story that could not have
been covered with archival footage or re-enactment. They also happened to be moments in
the film that, in hindsight, were humorous, and needed a light touch.

“Our story is a political thriller, very tense and political,” says Mr. Goldsmith. “The two scenes
we gave Alligator Planet had some humor in them. Eli’s work heightened that humor without
trivializing it. His animation was sparse and spare, and at the same time clever and pointed.
Audiences, without exception, love it.”

Eli Noyes adds, “My combined experience in documentaries and animation was an asset
when it came to designing and directing sequences for these films. There are many ways
animation can help documentary filmmakers tell their stories. In the case of ‘The Most
Dangerous Man,’ I worked to find a way to represent characters in the film without making
them too ‘cartoony’, or representational. Since much of what took place was clandestine, I
referenced film noir lighting to contribute to the suspense.”

“Under Our Skin”
“Under Our Skin”, another shortlisted film, brings attention to the spread of Lyme Disease in
the US and around the world. Mr. Noyes, with artist Catherine Margerin, animated a number
of sequences for the film. "Eli understood the fine line we needed to walk to balance science
and whimsy in animation," says Andy Abrahams Wilson, the film's director. "You lean too far
in one direction and the film loses credibility or appeal. Eli and his team found the perfect
balance, communicating complex information in a visually interesting and accessible way."

Noyes, adds, “With ‘Under Our Skin’ we had multiple tasks, from representing spirochetes in
the bloodstream, to what I call ‘Op Ed’ animation, where we visualized the political and
economic issues at play in the medical profession’s response to Lyme disease and its
treatment. Again, the art direction and animation needed to be respectful, yet beautiful to
watch, in keeping with the care and detail Andy has put into his film.”

Alligator Planet, a full service animation production entity, was created in 2003 by award-winning
animation director Eli Noyes, producer Ralph Guggenheim and CFO/COO Alan Buder.

Academy Awards nominations will be announced Tuesday, Februay 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT.