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Los Angeles, March 5, 2006 – John Canemaker and Peggy Stern won the 2006 Academy Award for their animated short subject, THE MOON AND THE SON: An Imagined Conversation. The 28-minute film, which explores Canemaker’s troubled relationship with his Italian immigrant father, will air on HBO/Cinemax on Father’s Day 2006.

In his acceptance speech, Canemaker said, “Peggy and I thank the Academy for this great honor. And also for your faith in hand-drawn animation, which still can pack an emotional wallop.” He also thanked his students and colleagues at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

This is the first Academy Award for Canemaker, who has been making personal and sponsored animated films since 1975.  He is director of the animation program at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, and an internationally recognized animation historian.

John Canemaker and co-producer Peggy Stern hold their Oscar statuettes after winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Short in Hollywood on Sunday, March 5, 2005.

New York Times article on John Canemaker 2/26/06

Charles Solomon wrote an insightful profile of John Canemaker and his use of animation to express emotion. Solomon observes, "'The Moon and the Son' raises his work to the top rank in the field of independent animation." For the full text of the article, Click Here!


 New York, Jan. 31, 2006 – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated The Moon and the Son for Best Animated Short Film.  This is the first Academy Award® nomination for animator/writer/producer John Canemaker and co-producer Peggy Stern. (Click here to read the official press release, PDF file. May take several seconds to load.)

Bold Use of Animation Conveys Emotional Depth

NEW YORK -- John Canemaker and Peggy Stern's new production The Moon and the Son, an autobiographical 30-min. animated film, featuring the voices of actors Eli Wallach and John Turturro with an original score by Ron Sadoff, had its world premiere at the Museum of Modern Art on January 5, 2005. The Moon and the Son explores the difficult emotional terrain of father/son relationships as seen through Canemaker's own turbulent relationship with his father. read more!
Click here for the full press release pdf file!


The Moon and the Son
is one of eight films on the ‘short list’ of candidates for nomination in the Best Animated Short Film category for the 78th Academy Awards.  The official nominations will be announced at the end of January, 2006.


The Moon and the Son
has been nominated for the 2006 ANNIE Award by ASIFA Hollywood, one of the most prestigious industry awards for animation. The ANNIE Awards ceremony will be held in Glendale, California in February, 2006.  For more information:


The Moon and the Son has been selected for official screening at film and animation festivals around the world:

Annecy International Animation Festival, France

Rhode Island International Film Festival

Telluride Film Festival

Fantoche Animation Festival, Baden, Switzerland

Los Angeles International Short Film Festival

Ottawa International Animation Festival

International Young Cinema Festival, Fundão, Portugal

International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, Germany

Chicago Film Festival

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival

London Film Festival

Berlin Short Film Festival

Margaret Mead Film Festival, New York

CPH: DOX Copenhagen Festival of Documentary and Animated Film

Golden Horse Film Festival, Taiwan

Denver International Film Festival

AniMadrid, Spain

I Castelli Animati, Italy

International Trickfilm Festival, Stuttgart, Germany

Sedona International Film Festival


ANIMATION Magazine – July 2005
“Blood Ties,” by Charles Solomon

“John Canemaker is best known as an author and teacher, but his new short, The Moon and the Son, confirms his place among the most compelling independent animators working in America…A brave, intensely personal examination of the artist’s difficult relationship with his father, Moon has screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and been accepted in competition at the 2005 Annecy Festival.”

Animation World Magazine – July 2005
“Annecy 2005: Animation Coming of Age?” by Philippe Moins

“[Canemaker] moved us to tears with his film/confession, The Moon and the Son, about his difficult relationship with a choleric father, caught in the grip of the Mafia.  Rarely has a film of this kind been so successfully achieved.” 

Animation World Network – July 2005
“Fresh From the Festivals” by Taylor Jessen

“Animated shorts are a personal art form. The Moon and the Son is really personal . . . a devastating colloquy that mines the content of the animator’s childhood even as it matches the form of his childhood drawings . . . stylistically it’s completely liberated and roams freely between whatever media gets the point across quickest – still photos, stock footage, home movies and camcorder video as needed. There’s a potpourri of traditional non-digital techniques, applied to media ranging from cels to rough paper.”

FILM/TV/dvd #554 (Belgium) July 2005
“Annecy ’05: Jury Ignores Strong Autobiography” by Luk Menten

“One veteran towered above the entry: the American John Canemaker with The Moon and the Son. Nevertheless, the jury passed by this strong and courageous autobiographical work. . . But most of all, John Canemaker with his The Moon and the Son – An Imagined Conversation (2004, 28’) was left out in the cold. This documentary animation film is about the in 1995 deceased father of Canemaker, with whom the author, his mother and his brother had a very difficult relationship. The film rises well above the dealing of a personal trauma and becomes a touching film for a big audience.”

FIPRESCI – The International Federation of Film Critics – June 2005
“The Animation Film Feast [at Annecy]” by Luis Salvado

“ . . .Other already famous filmmakers reveal new facets of their talent; in 2005 it was time for the rediscovery of John Canemaker, a leading animation historian whose filmmaking talents, already evident in a lot of small and mainly experimental films, exploded with the autobiographical The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation, a cathartic experience in which animation is used as a way of communicating thoughts and emotions, sometimes in an abstract manner, about the turbulent relation of the author with his father, in a movie which is simultaneously devastating and redemptive.”

TELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL, Leonard’s Journal, September 2005
“A Cinematic Celebration,” by Leonard Maltin

“Best of all, [at the Telluride Film Festival] I had the privilege of introducing a film by an old friend. John Canemaker is one of the world’s leading animation scholars, with many books to his credit (including the newly-reissued Winsor McCay from Harry N. Abrams). He also has an impressive resumé as a filmmaker and teacher, having taught at NYU for many years. His latest work, a 28-minute short called The Moon and the Son, is his most personal work ever—and his most brilliant. HBO will air it next year and in time it will be available on DVD; wherever and whenever you have a chance to see it, please do. John has mined his personal history to make a uniquely moving story about a son trying to come to terms with his father and understand the life he led. Eli Wallach and John Turturro provide the voices for this eloquent short subject.”

Telluride Daily Planet, September 2, 2005
“32nd Telluride Film Festival: Film art for art sake, leading the Industry into the future”
By Susan Viebrock

“Among the shorts [festival director Bill] Pence describes as "must-sees": "Spacer, "Nine" and "The Moon and the Son."

"'The Moon and The Son' is a wonderful film by animator John Canemaker," said Pence. "Following its screening, which runs for only 28 minutes, are essential animations discussed by Leonard Maltin and Canemaker. This should be an exciting show."

"’The Moon and the Son’ is a colorful, moving, ultimately devastating plea from a boy to his late father. The uniquely American theme is about the possibility of redrawing one's own life. The voiceovers are Eli Wallach and John Turturro.”

Storyboard (DC Film Society), October 2005
“The 32nd Telluride Film Festival
By Nancy L. Granese

The Moon and the Son is Canemaker’s personal story about coming to terms with his violent, edgy father. Without sliding into self-serving pity, the film--a short, really--deals frankly with Canemaker’s difficult childhood, his repugnance toward his father, and their eventual reconciliation. I’ve made it sound too hokey, but in fact, it was a very powerful film.”

The Ottawa Citizen – September 19, 2005
“Spotlight Shines on Ottawa,” by Steven Mazey

“His film is only 28 minutes long, but in those 28 minutes, veteran American animator John Canemaker displays a depth, imagination and creativity that puts most recent Hollywood feature films to shame.

The Moon and the Son [is] Canemaker’s striking film about his troubled relationship with his Italian-American father…Featuring the voices of actors John Turturro and Eli Wallach as son and father, Canemaker’s film artfully mixes his own simple color drawings with home movies and still photographs of his family from the 1950s and later.  Presented as an imagined conversation between the filmmaker and his late father, The Moon and the Son tells the story of the father’s difficult life, which included imprisonment for arson when Canemaker was growing up.

Canemaker recalls his father’s furious temper and the resulting dark cloud that hung over the family while the filmmaker was growing up.  But he also tries to understand the background that caused some of his father’s unhappiness.  It’s a sensitive and heartfelt work, and if some of the other 154 films at this year’s festival approach that calibre, it’s going to be a memorable festival.”

Xpress, Ottawa, Canada, September 22 to 28, 2005
“Welcome to Their Nightmare and Ours: Animation Festival offers a Fantastic Walk on the Wild Side,” by T.S. Warren

“The animated art form is often deeply personal, sometimes profound.  A fine example is veteran American animator John Canemaker’s domestic nightmare, The Moon and the Son, the filmmaker’s reminiscence of his difficult relationship with his hot-tempered father.  In this unflinching 28-minute film given voice by Eli Wallach and John Turturro, animation has been aimed like an arrow at the secrets in old family photos and home movies.”

Chicago Tribune, October 20, 2005
“`Weather Man' brings down curtain on Chicago film fest,” by Michael Wilmington, Tribune movie critic

“Shorts: Animation Nations * * * (Various countries and directors). A fine program of sophisticated cartoons, highlighted by one highly personal work: John Canemaker's autobiographical "The Moon and the Son," which candidly and imaginatively tells the painful story of the animator's relationship to his angry father and splintered family, with father and son voiced movingly by Eli Wallach and John Turturro.”

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