In 2009, Bob Dylan saw some of Jeff Scher’s films. Both the singer and the filmmaker/animator are also painters. In fact, their styles are quite similar.
Dylan commissioned Scher — who grew up in Westport in the 1960s and ’70s and, after showing his works at the Museum of Modern Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Pompidou Centre, has returned to live here — to make a Christmas video.
Scher rotoscoped the video from a couple of generations of home movies, many shot in Westport. The boy is his son Oscar. The doors he closes at the end were based on home movies Scher shot at the little playground behind Earthplace.
Here’s the video, with Dylan singing — I kid you not — “The Little Drummer Boy”:
Paul Simon saw Dylan’s video. The next year, he hired Scher for his own Christmas song.
Wanting something different, Scher used small objects animation to visually support the song. He shot on a light box with a camera aimed down from overhead. The color bits were made by projecting the black and white onto color paper and re-filming.
Simon’s video is a bit more ironic than Dylan’s. Another Christmas miracle.