“…animation is art on film.”
Bob Kurtz, founder of the Burbank-based animation studio Kurtz & Friends and former governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, writes, designs, and directs entertainment films and television commercials, including main title animation for Gambit, The Pink Panther, Are We Done Yet?, City Slickers and commercials highlighting Honda’s Crazy-Sensible innovations. Other projects include segments for Steven Spielberg’s Minority Repot and Jurassic Park, the Crocodile anti-smoking films and print campaign for the California Department of Public Health and interactive games for Disney. Kurtz also created The Way Things Work, the 3-screen, 3-D multi-media film for Sony’s San Francisco Metreon complex.
Kurtz is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Emmy for the PBS special Roman City, the Peabody Award for the Lily Tomlin special Edith Ann’s Christmas, the Annie Award for Lifetime Achievement, and over 250 international awards. His films are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles and the ASIFA Archive, Germany. Kurtz was AdWeek’s animator of the year and also recognized as Japan’s Artist of the Year. He has also directed, produced and co-designed animated sequences for HBO’s George Carlin Special.
Bob Kurtz was born in Los Angeles, California and graduated from the Chouinard Art Institute (now the California Institute of the Arts.) “My philosophy is fairly simple-I am a communicator. Therefore the message comes first, then the graphics. I want to stimulate, excite, scare or create laughter. I don’t want a passive audience. I don’t expect a captive audience. It is the film artist’s obligation to reach out and touch that audience; to rediscover and share our common humanity.
“Animation is very closely related to the dance. To be aware of this is to realize the film form is choreography in time, space, sound and light. In our films we try to develop as many styles and approaches as the opportunity provides… My role in these films is writer, director and producer but Kurtz & Friends is far from a one man studio, it is a group effort of incredibly talented and dedicated artists.”
Pssst! What they’ve said about Bob Kurtz…
“Bob Kurtz is, at heart, a great humorist. And even more importantly, a humorist with a great heart. He has an original way of looking at things and exposing life’s absurdities – with hilarious results.” – Lily Tomlin
“Bob Kurtz, who through honesty and artistry, has kept our wonderful medium alive.” – Chuck Jones
“Bob’s my first call. He’s the best.” – Billy Crystal
“Witty and wild, pointed but never bitter, Kurtz’s work is always fun, thoughtful, and finely crafted.” – Harry Shearer
“I thought I had conceived some weird images. Bob made them weirder. I thank him” – George Carlin
“Since the earliest days of television, commercials have consistently offered the boldest graphics, the most fluid animation, the newest technology and the most sophisticated direction on the air. The work of Kurtz and Friends Studio epitomizes this tradition, blending classical animation with cutting edge humor. I still remember being convulsed with laughter when I first saw the Kitty Salmon cat food and Chevron dinosaur’s spots in international programs of short films years ago. Bob Kurtz’s commercials are often more entertaining than the programs they interrupt.” – Charles Solomon (author and animation film critic)