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Few films came to embody the neon futurism of the 198os like TRON, yet for director Steven Lisberger it's a movie rooted in the psychedelic movement of the 1960s in which he grew up. An only child whose parents died when he was young, Lisberger admits to having spent his formative years ”more committed to the fantasy world than to reality." By the time he went to art school hisexperiments with LSD had turned his fascination with animation into a spiritual calling, a quest to visually represent the endless inner dimensions that he and his friends had spent so many twilight hours exploring.

Hunt down his Cosmic Cartoon from 1973 on YouTube and you'll find a 10-minute animated hallucination in which cities alternately melt and are reborn from stars, cosmic children soar through unformed space and a naked woman pulses with light as she dances on a shimmering ocean shore. There's no dialogue, just a psychotropic synth soundtrack and as the final image fragments into a series of kaleidoscopically rotating cells, a single word in the lower screen serves as a lone closing credit: ‘Boston'.

“I think a huge part of what made Lisberger Studios so experimental was that it wasn't started in LA," explains the director. “The fact that we were outsiders meant that we were crazy and naive enough to follow ideas that would have been shot down in a Hollywood environment. It was great being somewhere we didn't have to conform to industry expectations, and where we could pursue whatever was in our heads and think it was brilliant even when it wasn’t.”
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