First Animated Documentary – ‘Ryan’ by Chris Landreth

Ryan Larkin, 1943-2007Some claim that Winsor McCay’s Sinking of the Lusitania (1918) is the first animated documentary just because it is an animation about something that really happened. I disagree with that notion as in my opinion it is merely a reenactment of true events done by animation. Chris Landreth’s short animated film Ryan (2004), on the other hand, is in my opinion, the very first animated documentary – or docu-mation as coined by THIN AIR. It is a recorded conversation turned into animation, between the director and the subject of the film, Ryan Larkin, an animation pioneer who passed away this year.


You can read Larkin’s obituary here and a tribute here.

2 thoughts on “First Animated Documentary – ‘Ryan’ by Chris Landreth”

  1. If your requirements for true animated documentaries are that of “real” sound bites, you should check out the animated documentary by Australian Dennis Tupicoff, “His Mother’s Voice” (1997). It uses a radio interview of a mother recounting the loss of her son and animates it twice with two very haunting takes.

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