The Time Walt Disney and Salvador Dali Made a Movie

Destino (Spanish for destiny) began as a storyboard by Disney studio artist John Hench and the famous surreal artist Salvador Dalí in late 1945 and 1946 – the pair worked on the project for eight months, but production ceased not long after due to financial woes in The Walt Disney Company (then Walt Disney Studios).

Hench put together 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.

Fast forward to 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 Monféry 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 – and follows the love story of Chronos and the ill-fated love he has for a mortal woman named Dahlia.

Dali spoke of the film, by saying it is “A magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time…Entertainment highlights the art, its possibilities are endless.” 

Walt Disney’s words about Destino were simple and succinct… “A simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”

Watch Destino below, and feel free to share your thoughts!

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