Art

Scottsdale-Raised Animator Glen Keane Is Up for an Oscar

Dear Basketball is animated adaptation of Koby Bryant's farewell letter to the sport.
Dear Basketball is animated adaptation of Koby Bryant's farewell letter to the sport. Courtesy of Believe Entertainment Group
Last year, La La Land star and Scottsdale local Emma Stone landed an Oscar for her lauded lead performance as rising star, Mia. On Sunday, March 4, the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film could put Arizona back on the cinematic map. Dear Basketball director Glen Keane grew up in Paradise Valley and attended Brophy College Preparatory.

Keane’s nomination comes after decades working for Walt Disney Animation. And art's in Keane’s blood. His father Bil Keane was a famous cartoonist who helmed The Family Circus, a syndicated newspaper comic.

Keane studied at CalArts, and his animation career began as a Layout Artist for Filmnation's 1973 slate of “Saturday morning” specials My Favorite Martians, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Lassie’s Rescue Rangers and Mission Magic!

After CalArts, Keane began his long career at Disney.

In the '70s, Keane worked as a character animator for The Rescuers and Pete's Dragon. He served as the supervising animator for The Fox and the Hound and then worked on a number of hits that predated the Oscar for Best Animated Film, which wasn't introduced until the 2001 Oscar ceremony. In the '90s, he made some of Disney's most iconic characters come alive as he worked as supervising animator for Ariel, Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and Tarzan.

Keane executive produced Disney's 2010 film Rapunzel, on which he also worked as a character designer and animation supervisor. In March 2012, Keane left Disney to work on his own projects.

In 2014, he teamed up with Google to direct his first short film, Duet, a lyrical romance between two adolescents.

Keane's next directorial project was Dear Basketball, which stars Kobe Bryant reciting a letter he wrote to The Player's Tribune announcing his retirement from basketball. On Sunday, Keane could earn some new hardware for his award shelf, which he could store next to his Annie, which honors his animated contributions to Beast, and Winsor Mccay Award for his lifetime achievements. After all, Los Angeles is Lakers town.

Shortly after Keane's Oscar nomination, it was reported that he'd make his feature-length directorial debut. Over the Moon is a musical adaptation of a Chinese myth. It's scheduled to debut on Netflix in 2020.

Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.