Destino (the Galician, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian word for "destiny") was storyboarded by Disney studio artist John Hench and artist Salvador Dalí for eight months in late 1945 and 1946; however production ceased not long after. The Walt Disney Company, then Walt Disney Studios, was plagued by many financial woes in the World War II era. Hench compiled a short animation test of about 17 seconds in the hopes of rekindling Disney's interest in the project, but the production was no longer deemed financially viable and put on indefinite hiatus.
In 1999, Walt Disney's nephew Roy E. Disney, while working on Fantasia 2000, unearthed the dormant project and decided to bring it back to life. Disney Studios France, the company's small Parisian production department, was brought on board to complete the project. The short was produced by Baker Bloodworth and directed by French animator Dominique Monfréy in his first directorial role. A team of approximately 25 animators deciphered Dalí and Hench's cryptic storyboards (with a little help from the journals of Dalí's wife Gala Dalí and guidance from Hench himself), and finished Destino's production. The end result is mostly traditional animation, including Hench's original footage, but it also contains some computer animation.
The six-minute short follows the love story of Chronos and the ill-fated love he has for a mortal woman named Dahlia. The story continues as Dahlia dances through surreal scenery inspired by Dalí's paintings. There is no dialogue, but the soundtrack includes music by the Mexican composer Armando Dominguez. The 17 second original footage that is included in the finished product is the segment with the two tortoises (this original footage is referred to in Bette Midler's host sequence for The Steadfast Tin Soldier in Fantasia 2000, as an "idea that featured baseball as a metaphor for life").
Now I can smile and say
My heart was sad and lonely
In knowing that you only
Could bring my love to me
This heart of mine is thrilled now
My empty arms are filled now
As they were meant to be
For you came along
Out of a dream I recall
Yes you came along
To answer my call
I know now
That you are my destino
We'll be as one for we know
Our destiny of love.
Destino premiered on June 2, 2003 at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in Annecy, France. The short film was very well received; it won many awards and was nominated for the 2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Destino was released theatrically in a very limited release with the film Calendar Girls.
In 2005, the film was shown continuously as part of a major retrospective Dalí show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, titled The Dalí renaissance: new perspectives on his life and art after 1940.
The film was also shown as part of the exhibition Dalí & Film at Tate Modern from June to September 2007, as part of the Dalí exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from October 2007 to January 2008; at an exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art called Dalí: Painting and Film from June to September 2008; also at an exhibit at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2008. In mid-2009, it had exposure in Melbourne, Australia at the National Gallery of Victoria through the Dalí exhibition Liquid Desire, and from late 2009 through April 2010 at the Dayton Art Institute in Dayton, Ohio, in an exhibit entitled Dalí and Disney: The Art and Animation of Destino.
As of 2012, the film is featured in the "Dalí" exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France.
Home video release
The Disney DVD "True-Life Adventures, Volume 3" has a trailer for Destino, and mentions a forthcoming DVD release. In 2007, the True-Life Adventure series was suspended and those titles previously announced were moved to the Walt Disney Treasures line. Destino was subsequently scheduled for release on November 11, 2008.
- “Destino began in 1946 as a collaboration between Walt Disney and the famed surrealist painter Salvador Dalí. A first-hand example of Disney's interest in avant garde and experimental work in animation, Destino was to be awash with Dalí's iconic melting clocks, marching ants and floating eyeballs. However, Destino was not completed at that time. In 2003, it was rediscovered by Walt’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, who took on the challenge of bringing the creation of these two great artists to fruition. In addition to the completed Destino, this exciting addition to the Walt Disney Treasures line also includes an all-new feature-length documentary that examines the surprising partnership between Dalí and Disney plus two new featurettes; "The Disney That Almost Was", an examination of the studio's unfinished projects; and "Encounters with Walt", which addresses the surprisingly diverse group of celebrities and artists who were attracted to Walt Disney's early work.”
- ―January 20, 2008 press release
A June 2008 press release for the Walt Disney Treasures line revealed Destino was being excluded from a 2008 Treasures release. According to Treasures host Leonard Maltin, the film was still likely to see an eventual DVD release, yet not necessarily within the Treasures moniker.
Destino was finally made available as a special feature on the Fantasia & Fantasia 2000 Special Edition Blu-ray released on November 30, 2010. A standalone DVD of the short and documentary was also made available as an exclusive item for sale at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.
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