Is animation art? One could easily argue "yes" whether it's admiring the cartoons of Chuck Jones and Tex Avery to contemporary works like the Pixar films and Japanese anime. Then there's the work of Argentine Quirino Cristiani, a long-lost pioneer in the world of animation.
Born in Italy, Cristiani emigrated with his family to Buenos Aires at the age of four. As a teenager he developed a love for drawing as well as the politics of the day. In 1917 the twenty-one-year-old Cristiani created the world's first feature-length animated film entitled "El Apostol", a satire praising then-President Hiploito Yrigoyen. Yrigoyen would become the subject of Cristiani's next great film, 1931's "Peludopolis", which was the first sound animated feature and predated Walt Disney's "Snow White" by six years. "Peludopolis" was the pinnacle of Cristiani's career and the great animator would eventually die in 1984.
Though Cristiani's career has been largely forgotten a documentary on his life and accomplishments was recently made. Below is the trailer to the film on Cristiani including footage of the master at work:
(Hat tip: the exceptional Cartoon Brew animation blog).