Tribute to Bill Moritz

Bill Moritz's death is a deep and profound loss to our community in animation and visual music, both here in Los Angeles, including USC and CalArts, and around the world. He has in so many different ways been our spiritual leader, a creative genius, a brilliant and humble man whose dedication to the artform helped create and build the field. His impact is beyond measure, and he undoubtedly deserves more credit than he has yet received for his vision, commitment, and generosity. His contributions are on every level, as an artist and filmmaker, teacher and professor, historian and scholar, friend and great spirit. Like a shaman, he could see the future and help bring it about with love and joy. He was a giver, perhaps the most generous person I have ever met.

The first time I met Bill in person was many years ago, just after James Whitney's death. We talked at length about James' film Lapis and its transcendent qualities, as an embodiment of the collective energy shared between all things in the universe. Bill then gave me a book of poetry and a ceramic candleholder made by James. These were treasures that he gave me, and I will always feel blessed to have been able to share in their special energy as a fellow traveler on the path of the universe. I was literally touched.

Bill was the authority, whenever we were in doubt about any film or color-sound instrument, almost anywhere and at anytime in history, especially the most rare and obscure, or delicate, he always knew the details. He was our 'rock', our 'reference point,' our 'home.' He opened his expanding universe of light, music, and the transcendent in art to all of us. The sensitivity, support, and love he exuded inspired everyone, and he changed our lives and made them better. He gave us something rare: a sense of magic and wonder, and empowered others with his energy. How many of us here were helped by him? Over the past 40 years he has brought a great many people together.

As you know, Bill dedicated a great deal of his life to studying the life and work of Oskar Fischinger and so we celebrate the achievement of the publication of his extraordinary book, Optical Poetry.

But more than that, we celebrate Bill's beautiful and extraordinary life. It continues in all of us, because his energy and spirit are inside and around us now, and they will continue to be there, and live and grow. His memory will be in us forever, and his books and films will continue to nurture and inspire us. In all these ways, Bill is immortal. And we will always love and honor him.

Vibeke Sorensen, Artist and Professor
Founding Chair, Division of Animation and Digital Arts
School of Cinema-Television
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2211 USA

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