Review: Claydream (Tribeca 2021)

Title: Claydream
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Marq Evans
Starring: Will Vinton, Bill Plympton, Peter Lord
Runtime: 1 hr 36 mins

What It Is: In this documentary, we are introduced to Will Vinton (Vinton) a filmmaker living in rural Oregon. He is seen as the “father of claymation”. From his humble beginnings, he created an empire of clay that saw a cinematic and artistic revolution occur. Who knew though that there was a tale to be told in that clay. One stuffed to the brim with arguments, lawsuits, and oddly enough Nikes. How did Will Vinton’s clay dream turn into a nightmare?

What We Think: This is a very good documentary. It tells its story so well. There was a lot more going on in this than just your standard bio-doc. It’s a court case. It’s a hostile takeover through litigation. It’s a lot of things. Starting as a portrait of a man just trying to make cool stuff. As it sifts through the early part of Vinton’s life we get to familiarize ourselves with the various projects that Vinton crafts out of nothing more than ingenuity and clay. The absolute saga between Vinton and Nike CEO Phil Knight is insane. It made me lose respect for LAIKA Studios…who I love.

Our Grade: B, I think the thing that is interesting about this is that I didn’t know what to expect from this story. I didn’t know about Vinton Productions or what it became. I’m not exactly a connoisseur of claymation films so to be given the information this film provides alongside the intrigue was a nice treat. I think everyone should check this one out. It’s such a great doc and really is something for people who love animation, art, or film. I couldn’t believe the films and projects this small Oregonian company was able to handle. What they were able to accomplish. This film lovingly illustrates the power of an idea.