Award-Winning New Doc on Floyd Norman, 1st Black Animator to Work for Disney, Now Streaming on Netflix
Photo Credit: Floyd Norman at the board (1956)

Award-Winning New Doc on Floyd Norman, 1st Black Animator to Work for Disney, Now Streaming on Netflix


After a theatrical run in USA theaters that kicked off in the late summer, August 26, 2016, the documentary “Floyd Norman – An Animated Life” – an intimate journey through the celebrated life and career of the legendary animator Floyd Norman, the first African American animator at Disney – is now streaming on Netflix.

Directed by Michael Fiore and Erik Sharkey, the crowd-pleaser recently won the award for Best documentary at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con.

Born in 1935 in Santa Barbara, Noman’s love of animation first came when his mother took him to see Disney’s “Bambi” and “Dumbo.” And by the time he was a high schooler, he knew his goal was to be an animator at Disney studios.

After graduation, with the help of a friend, Norman got an appointment at Disney and he walked into Disney studios, portfolio in hand, for an interview. But instead of getting a job, he was told to go to school, which Norman said later was the best advice anyone had ever given him. He entered the Art Center College of Design and two years later, got a call to go work for Disney. He dropped out of school and started working at the studio the following Monday. He worked on various features including “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Sword in the Stone,” “The Jungle Book,” and several short subjects. He left Disney after Walt died in 1966, and, with Ron Sullivan, formed AfroKids Animation SStudio. Among the other properties they created was the first Fat Albert television special which aired in 1969 on NBC (the later more well-known Fat Albert TV series was made by Filmation Associates, not AfroKids). But starting in the early 1970s, Norman returned to Disney to work on projects like “Robin Hood.”

More recently, he has worked on motion pictures for Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, as a story artist on “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Mulan,” “Dinosaur” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” He continues to work for Disney as a freelance consultant on various projects.

For the longer version of Norman’s story, you’ll have to watch the documentary on his life, “Floyd Norman – An Animated Life,” which is now available to stream on Netflix. You’re invited to take an intimate journey through the life and career of a man known as the Forrest Gump of the animation industry – Floyd Norman. At 80 years old, see how this Disney legend continues to impact animation and stir up his own brand of trouble.

Check out the documentary’s trailer below, and then add it to your Netflix queue:

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