Association International du Film d'Animation
(International Animated Film Association)
October 2008
by Karl Cohen




October 2008

SF INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL TO SHOW “SITA SINGS THE BLUES” WED. NOVEMBER 13 Nina wrote me that it is going to be the opening night film at the festival. In Sept. she was in Israel to attend festival screenings, but she came home early due to illness and missed going to Athens.

The festival is also flying in Gene Deitch from Prague to talk about his long career. He will also present ASIFA-SF a different program at SF State on Thurs. Nov. 20. It will be on his work adapting short stories into animated cartoons.
They are also showing an impressive surprise by Bill Plympton, a mature sophisticated work in a new artistic style. It is a well-constructed, powerful work of art and not like his previous features!

SCOTT KRAVITZ WORKED ON AN EXCELLENT UNITED AIRLINES SPOT Using stop-motion animation and paper puppetry, California-based director Jamie Caliri and his team that included Scott Kravitz, placed dimensional cardboard puppets in miniature sets that were shot frame by frame. In the ad a woman places her “heart” in her husband’s pocket as she leaves on a flight to Europe. I saw it several times during the Olympics.

"BYE-BYE, BIN LADEN" MIGHT BE COMING TO A THEATER OR DVD STORE NEAR YOU Professor Scott Sublet from the theater department at San Jose State has made a feature using animation students from the school. I was told “Look for it soon, it’s an over the top anti-war film called, Bye-Bye Bin Laden. (Its working title was We Bombed in Bagdad.) It's beyond anything you might imagine. It includes Bin Laden hosting a sing-along game show. The film has been picked up by Cinequest, the people who have run the Cinequest Film Festtival for the last 18 years.”

NIK AND NANCY PHELPS’ TRAVEL PLANS Nancy, our chapter’s international board member, has been invited to attend a festival in China in November as our representative, all expenses paid. She says, “Xiamen is said to be very beautiful -- the Mediterranean of China with beaches and palm trees.” In Sept. Nik and Nancy went to Russia to take part in the Krok Animation Festival, but Nancy had to leave early to lecture at a university in Switzerland. The couple has also accepted an invitation to Anima Budapest/Vienna to give a presentation in late November/early December. The festival starts off in Budapest for four days and then they fly everybody to Vienna for another four days. Nancy says, “Should be lots of fun.”

Nancy also sends a Halloween tip for photographers in the Bay Area. She heard that “sales of copies of the shoes Sara Palin wore for her acceptance speech and Sara Palin wigs are skyrocketing. I bet there will be a lot of them at the Castro on the Big Night!”


BELIEVE IT OR NOT THERE IS TALK OF MORE SEQUELS PDI/DreamWorks is likely to make at least one more Madagascar sequel and a sequel to Kung Fu Panda is planned. Both will be made in Stereo 3-D says The Hollywood Reporter.

SEE ART FROM THE TOTORO FOREST PROJECT CHARITY AUCTION The Cartoon Art Museum is showing original works that were auctioned off in September at an event held at Pixar. Nearly 200 animators, fine artists, cartoonists and illustrators provided art inspired by Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro. The exhibit will be on display through February 8, 2009. The money raised went to The Totoro No Furusato National Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting Japan's Sayama Forest near Tokyo.

EVENT AT PIXAR TO SUPPORT THE CARTOON ART MUSEUM SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11 The event starts with a reception and viewing of Pixar’s halls full of pre-production artwork. Guests can enter Pixar at 5PM. Hors d'oeuvres and wine served from 5:30-6:30PM. Presentation at 6:30PM hosted by Dr. Michael B. Johnson, lead, Moving Pictures Group at Pixar; Angus MacLane (Directing Animator of Wall·E), Jeremy Lasky (Director of Photography on Toy Story 3, Finding Nemo, Cars, and Wall·E), and Derek Thompson, (story artist for Wall·E), as well as a sneak-peek at Pixar’s upcoming short directed by Angus MacLane. Behind the scenes footage about making Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Wall·E will be shown.. From 8 to 8:30 there will be dessert, coffee and the opportunity to talk with artists. Tickets: museum members $150, non-member $200. Save money and become a member. 415-227-8666, ext. 300 to purchase tickets. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

KARL COHEN AWARDED THE 2008 ASIFA PRIZE BY THE ASIFA INTERNATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS On the opening night of the Ottawa International Animation Festival in Sept. I was surprised by the announcement that the award was going to be presented by my close friend Marcy Page and Deanna Morse (ASIFA-Central). The physical award turned out to be a wonderful color drawing by Nick Park of Wallace and Gromit.

The award is given to a person who embodies the goals of ASIFA in their activities: to promote opportunities for professionals in animation to share information and network globally, having a concern with sustaining and preserving the rights of animators and the art of animation and promoting progress toward peace and mutual understanding through the unified interest of the art of animation. They read a statement by Nina Paley, “In everything he writes he has only the progress, survival, and preservation of our art as his goal. I love that man." I’m quite touched and honored by this. More news about Ottawa in the next newsletter.

W!LDBRAIN PROMOTES AMY CAPEN She has been promoted to Head of Commercial and New Media Production. In her new position, Capen is charged with developing new business, recruiting creative and production talent as well as overseeing commercial and short form production. Capen will report to Marge Dean, the studio’s General Manager.

THERE WILL BE 9 DIFFERENT ANIMATION PROGRAMS AT THE MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL October 2-12, 2008 The programs includes 5 features including Bill Plympton’s new feature is for adults, and 4 programs of shorts.

The Amazing Osamu Tezuka Three seldom-seen non-anime short films of Astro Boy creator Dr. Tezuka, “the god of manga [the comic book].” See Legend of the Forest, Jumping, Broken Down Film, and a restored Astro Boy episode. Sat. Oct. 4, noon, Sequoia. Sun. Oct. 5, 10:30AM, Rafael.

Idiots and Angels, Bill Plympton’s new prize-winning feature for adults. Bill delivers a sinister story about a man with questionable habits and morals who becomes a reluctant hero when he sprouts a set of angel wings. Sun. Oct. 5, 2:45PM, Sequoia. Tues. Oct. 7, 7:15PM, Rafael.

Lost Souls and Malcontent Beasties (shorts for adults) An animation program in 2D, 3D and stop-motion. Includes Tupicoff’s Chainsaw, Plympton’s Hot Dog, My Date from Hell from Germany and 5 other shots. Sat. Oct. 4, 6PM, Rafael. Tues. Oct. 7, 9:15PM, Rafael.

Brink of Life: A Collection of Swedish Shorts. Collection includes animation, live action films and music videos. Sat. Oct. 4, 3:30PM, Rafael. Thurs. Oct. 9, 9:45PM, Rafael.

Lotte from Gadgetville from Estonia, directed by Janno Põldma and Heiki Ernits. The first animated feature from Estonia is a kooky multi-layered tale set in a bucolic seaside town where inventing gadgets is a highly prized pastime. Chock-full of silliness, songs and old-fashioned cartoon charm. Fri. Oct. 3, 4:45PM, Sequoia. Sun. Oct. 5, 11:30 AM, Rafael.

Nocturna directed by Víctor Maldonado, Adrià García. Don't be afraid of the dark! This award-winning animated feature from Spain follows a boy's journey through a fantastical after-hours world where every creaky floorboard, and distant meow is carefully orchestrated. Sat. Oct. 4, 11AM, Sequoia with party for kids after the show. Sat. Oct. 11, 11:15 AM, at the Rafael.

Quest for a Heart directed by Pekka Lehtosaari. Based on a popular Finnish television series, this animated feature follows Rolli, an exemplary troll (he hates bathing and kissing and he scares everyone), who goes on a quest with a beautiful elf girl. Sat. Oct. 4, 1:30PM, Rafael. Tues. Oct. 7, 4:30PM, Sequoia..

Snow Queen directed by Julian Gibbs. This magical rendering of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen employs poignant musical narration and visually stunning images to recount little Gerda's perilous journey to rescue her beloved friend Kay. Six charming animated episodes will be shown of this series from 2005. Sat. Oct. 4, 11AM, Rafael. Sat. Oct. 11, 2PM, 132 Throckmorton.

Terra directed by Aristomenis Tsirbas. Winner in Ottawa of the grand prize for features. Mala is a precocious girl living on the beautiful planet Terra, a place of peace and tolerance. Unbeknownst to the Terrians, the last inhabitants of Earth have exhausted their resources and are searching for a new home. Sat. Oct. 11, 10:30 AM, Sequoia, followed by a kazoo parade to get free ice cream. Sun. 12th at 11:30 AM, Rafael.

A DIFFERENT AND INTERESTING POINT OF VIEW FROM THE ONE KARL COHEN EXPRESSED LAST MONTH by Michael Langen “Hey Karl, I have a short note in response to the segment on the dubious value of Cannes' Short Film Corner (SFC) -- When I entered, I thought I was submitting to a legitimate, competitive wing of Cannes. They hide the fact that every entry is accepted very cleverly.... I've met filmmakers who were so excited that they'd been accepted. I almost revoked my submission when I found out what it was, but I decided it was worth it to keep it in. About five people watched Doxology over the course of SFC (They send you an email report), but among the five were reps from Canal+ and a couple other distributors. Lo and behold, I get an email from Canal+ shortly thereafter, saying they want to buy Doxology after seeing it in Cannes! I don't think they would have seen it otherwise, and I have no idea how they managed to watch it among those thousands of other films... maybe because !

it had been in other fests. So I would recommend submitting to SFC if a film is starting to have a decent festival life. Perhaps a growing reputation is enough to get it in front of the right people, and there are a lot of ‘right people’ there.”


Fri. – Mon. Oct. 10 – 13, “WALL-E” at the Red Vic (and Dr. Seuss’ “5000 FINGERS OF DR. T” on Sat. Oct. 4)

Tues. Oct. 21, “FEAR(S) OF THE DARK” 7:30 PM, Embarcadero Center Cinema Opens theatrically in SF on the 31st.

Mon. Oct. 27, ASIFA-SF EVENT for members who RSVP See flyer


JOHN CANEMAKER PROVIDED NEW ANIMATION FOR THE DOCUMENTARY “CHUCK JONES: MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD” John told me that this is a half hour interview with the late Chuck Jones with newly created animated sequences illustrating his childhood. The film was shown at Telluride and will have its television premiere on TCM in March 2009. The documentary is by Peggy Stern who worked with John to produce their Oscar winning short The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation. Shortly before his death, Jones had an opportunity to see a test cut of the film. He said it was delightful. His family subsequently provided additional material from the family archive, resulting in an intimate film full of revealing anecdotes about the events and personalities that influenced his early creative life and long career in cartoons.

LAIKA ANNOUNCES THEIR DEVELOPMENT SLATE Laika, which does both CG and stop-motion, is scheduled to release their first feature, Coraline, on February 6, 2009 through Focus Features.

The stop-motion film follows a girl who discovers a dark fantasy alternate universe that mirrors the world she lives in. Henry Selick, who directed The Nightmare Before Christmas, is the creative genius behind the picture. Travis, the son of Phil Knight (the billionaire owner of Laika and Nike tennis shoes) is the lead animator.

Here Be Monsters! from the books by Alan Snow, is a story set in 1850s London. The hero is a 12-year-old boy who has grown up in an underground world beneath the city, but must move to the surface and live like a normal boy. Irena Brignell is writing the script with Antony Stacchi (Open Season). He will also direct it.

Jack and Ben will be a CG film about two bluebirds who get into a dangerous road-rally race to Florida along the migration route. Mulan's Barry Cook is set to direct, David Skelly is writing and Ric Sluiter (Lilo and Stitch) will be the art director.

Paranorman is an original idea from Coraline story chief Chris Butler. It revolves around a small town under a curse. The only person who can keep the town from being overrun by zombies is a 13-year-old boy, but no one will listen to him. It hasn’t been decided if this will be a stop-motion or CG film. Butler is writing the script and will direct it under Selick's supervision.

Laika now employs 550 people, with about 100 working at House, their commercial division. Construction on a 30-acre studio campus in Tualatin, Oregon is underway, with groundbreaking expected next year. The facility will have separate buildings for CG and stop-motion operations.

“ WALTZ WITH BASHIR” WINS 6 OPHIRS AT ISRAEL’S ACADEMY AWARDS Ari Folman's animated feature won all it’s nominated categories and will now represent Israel at the Oscars. In November the SF International Animation Festival will show it.

A BOSTON INSURANCE COMPANY IS SPONSORING “THE RESPONSIBILITY PROJECT” Liberty Mutual has collaborated with Acme Filmworks to put animated shorts that deal with the theme of personal responsibility and the decisions that confront people trying to "do the right thing." Canadian animator Janet Perlman’s Hot Seat is the first original film from Acme Filmworks on the project's website

Hot Seat is a tale of life in the office told comically through an animated world of rabbits and their carrots. This independently produced film deals with the day-to-day perplexities that many people face at work, the value of taking responsibility and finding solutions for the little things that affect others to create a better working environment.
Also on the site is Janet Perlman’s award winning animated short Dinner for Two. The National Film Board of Canada produced it for their Make Peace series. The film takes place in a jungle and demonstrates how conflict can sometimes lead to dire consequences -- relationships are broken, innocent bystanders sometimes get hurt, not to mention the possibility that conflict can lead to violence.

Janet’s films have received an Oscar nomination, an Emmy and many festival grand prizes. Her best-known work is The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin.

“DARK KNIGHT” IS THE 2ND FILM TO MAKE OVER A HALF-BILLION DOLLARS IN THE US AT THE BOX OFFICE It did it in just seven weeks. It is now the 2nd biggest grosser in US box office history. Titanic is #1 and Star Wars is now #3. It is also in 9th place on the worldwide chart of the biggest box office grosses ever, according to Box Office Mojo.

ASIFA-EAST HELD A PANEL ON INDEPENDENT ANIMATED FEATURES BY LOCAL DIRECTORS The 5 speakers were Michael Sporn, Bill Plympton, Emily Hubley, Daniel Kanemoto and Tatia Rosenthal.


THE SF INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL #52 The early deadline is Nov. 7 and the final is Dec. 5. The event will be April 23 – May 7, 2009.

RED STICK 2009 INT. AN. FEST. Dec. 1 deadline, no entry fee. Red Stick International Animation Festival – LSU, 216 Johnston Hall, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803 225-389-7182.

HOLLAND ANIMATION ONLINE FILM FESTIVAL 2008 Film should be uploaded on YouTube before submitting the entry form. HAFFTube will gradually fill up with animated films from all over the world. When the festival gets 50 entries the voting will begin. Every week films will be voted out to make room for new entries. Deadline for entries: is Oct. 22. HAFFTube

SANTA CRUZ FILM FESTIVAL is now accepting entries for an event May 7-16, 2009. No entry deadline in their announcement. (831) 459-7676

STUTTGART FEST. OF ANIMATED FILMS (aka Trickfilm) Has Dec. 1 & Jan. 15 deadlines (different categories) This is a major event in Europe.

KALAMAZOO ANIMATION FESTIVAL Deadline Jan. 15, 2009 Event is May 14 – 17.


CANADIAN COMPOSER ELDON RATHBURN DIED AT AGE 92 in late August. He was known unofficially as the "dean of Canadian film composers." He worked for the National Film Board of Canada where he wrote music for hundreds of films between 1949 and 1992 including over 30 animated shorts. Among the animated shorts are The Romance of Transportation (1952), directed by Colin Low, the NFB’s first animated film nominated for an Oscar. Rathburn wrote the music for Christmas Crackers (1962) and The Family That Dwelt Apart (1973), which were also nominated for Academy Awards for best short animated films. He scored Norman McLaren’s Short and Suite (1959) and Cannon (1964). The NFB made a documentary Eldon Rathburn: They Shoot… He Scores about his work.

Among his live action projects were The Railrodder starring Buster Keaton, City of Gold, Universe, Morning on the Lievre, Drylanders and Labyrinthe, a multi-screen extravaganza for which a special theatre was built at the Montréal Expo ‘67. Other films he worked on include: Circus World (Imax), Skyward (Imax), Transition (3D Imax film Expo '86), Who Has Seen The Wind?, Canada's Sweetheart (CBC TV-NFB) and the MacKenzie King Chronicles (CBC TV-NFB).

photo goes here


Normand Roger was interviewed a few days after he was honored at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. He had been on stage with Frederic Back discussing their years collaborating together on 6 projects including Back’s Oscar winning Crac (1981) and The Man Who Planted Trees (1987). Four Oscar-winning animated shorts that Normand Roger had worked on were screened that evening: Crac, Every Child (Eugene Fedorenko, 1979), Father and Daughter (Michael Dudok de Wit, 2000) and Old Man and the Sea (Aleksandr Petrov, 1999). He has also created the soundtrack for Co Hoedeman’s Oscar winning The Sand Castle (1972) and for seven other films that have received Oscar nominations.

How did it feel to be honored by the Academy? It’s a great honor. This is a place where the film industry has reached the highest level of professionalism. This is the place where there is a concentration of highly skilled professionals and a very long tradition. Most of what they do is quite different from what I have been doing. I’ve been touched by their warm curiosity or interest in my work. I felt very welcomed there and honored. Sometimes people will deny others who work in a very different style. My best-known works are not big commercial productions. It’s small projects for which you have a lot of freedom to experiment. I was very, very pleased by their warm welcome and hospitality. I also saw a lot of animators there that I hadn’t seen in a long time.

When you work with new directors what do you tell them when you first meet? I often tell them there are three figures; there is the director, the film and the composer. The film is a major participant, as a lot of my inspiration will come from the film. The director has his own taste in music, but even though the director expresses himself through the film, the musical and sound needs for the film may not be what the director had in mind. I like to concentrate on the film and see what will come out of it. The music has to play a role in the film. Not necessarily a parallel expression of the director’s taste or goals. I’m not making a musical album for the pleasure of the director.

Sometimes there is hardly any place for music. You have to analyze the film and see how you can complete it. The dialog and narration are the starting point. These elements are already part of the concept of the film. The director might think of dialog and narration as textural information, but for me they are the most important part of the soundtrack. All the other sound elements have to be in the background of the narration if there is one. I will construct around it and see what I can add to it. If I feel that the film works perfectly, I will not add anything, but that is rarely the case.

I don’t like to talk about any rules because every film is different. If in the film there are obvious actions that lead to certain sound effects, an explosion or whatever, I record those first because they are almost mandatory. The more I add the required sounds the more the rest takes shape. I build around these elements.

Before I first start thinking about music I need to know where the music will be in the film, how long these musical sequences will be and why there will be music here. I need to understand why there is a need for music here. It has to be sort of a guide for the audience. They need to read the film in a way that will carry their imagination forward on the ideal path.

How do you communicate with somebody you are working with who isn’t a musician? For the first 10 or 15 years that I was doing soundtracks I would have to explain verbally to the directors what I intended to use for music, what instruments I would use and the style of music. Directors had to imagine that.

Now what I do is experiment with samplers. They are played on a keyboard that imitates the instruments I intend to use later on. I can build a demo track that is quite close to what I want to do, so it is easy for the director to see where it is going. I can explain how it will be different when I record the music with musicians playing the instruments that I imitated. The demo track that I build is sophisticated enough to give the director a very good idea of what I’m planning to do. It makes it easy to discuss the soundtrack. We can discuss changes and rework it until we come to an agreement. Then I can record it with musicians.

Now-a-days technology has made a strong impact on how I can communicate with directors. About a third to a quarter of the projects I do come from abroad so communication is through the Internet. The director will send me the images as a QuickTime movie and maybe some notes. I’ll return the QuickTime with my sketch or guide track. The director will comment on that and it works well that way. I tend to do very elaborate guide tracks. It can be risky because I can be off a bit, but if it is too incomplete it is very hard for some directors to get a full impression of the music. Some directors can imagine where I’m going; others tend to get their impressions on what they hear. Until music is completed it doesn’t give the same emotions or impressions

I listen carefully to the director’s goals or needs and I’m very sensitive to their general aesthetic and the feelings I get from them. I rarely or never use existing music because I simply like that music or because I recently did this research and got into this style of music and would like to use it in my next project. I try to feel very free to use any kind of music, even if I don’t know how to write a certain type of music. That happens constantly. If I have never written it, I will buy some records or some scores if it is related to classical music. Then I analyze the style. I’ll figure out what makes the music sound like this or that and then try to do something in that style.

I start by being a sound designer. I decide what music I need and then I will compose it or find a way to figure out how to do it. Very often I will collaborate with musicians. We will improvise on certain parts and work things out. Every project is different.

I’m a person who likes to exchange ideas with different musicians or performers that I want to use. Often I’ll bring people over very early in the process to explore different things with them and build around that. It may result in a direction that I hadn’t thought of before.

Do you do a lot of testing? I’ve found that when you combine music with sound and film the result is more of a surprise than people like to believe. In many cases I imagine certain music with a film and in the course of working it out I realize that things don’t always work in the way I had expected. I tend to start with a rough idea, experiment with it and work it out from there.

Do you have any final advice for young animation directors? It comes back to something I mentioned earlier. Don’t take for granted. Your theoretical idea of what your film needs in terms of music and sound may not be the best concept for your film. Sound can be subtle and fragile. When you combine music with the film you may be very surprised with the impression it creates. So you have to be open minded. Very often the director will imagine music that is very similar to their film in terms of emotions, but when you combine that music with the film you double the emotional level and it could become melodramatic or totally inappropriate in other ways. If you have a sad scene and sad music it can become comical. You have to experiment and try things you might never think of. If you use original music it can make the film more memorable.

In other cases if you do a film in a style that is well known, like you want to create a classic cartoon, why not. Then you can mimic the experience that was acquired by those who did it for many, many years.

Take nothing for granted and forget about your own personal tastes in music. Concentrate on the film and seeing what is best for the film. It could be very surprising discovering the best solution for the project.

There is no one recipe to follow. No “do this and it will work.” When I give workshops I show lots of films, or excerpts from films… You can’t learn anything from just one film unless you are working on a project that is very similar to something else. Then you listen to that one and you see how they solved the problem and adapt it to your own project. But everyone wants to do something original so you have to invent and you cannot predict where it will go. There is no recipe in any form of art. I encourage young animators to become professional listeners so they can learn from other people’s films. See what focuses your attention on the right things in the film.

What was your training in music? I was born in 1949 and grew up in a very poor neighborhood near Montreal. We had a corner grocery store. My father was a butcher and we lived with my uncle who took care of the vegetables. I began working at 8, delivering groceries by bike after school, on weekends and during the summer. We never had vacations. The good thing is I made money from a salary and tips.

When I was 11 or 12 I decided to buy myself a drum. I went to the store, but the drum was too expensive so I bought a guitar. One of the kids working in the store with us had a cousin who played guitar. He was actually a virtuoso, but uneducated. He showed me some tricks and I got started.

I played for a year by myself and then I decided I’d take guitar lessons. I had a wonderful teacher for about a year. Then he told me that in a neighboring town they needed a guitar teacher and I could do the job. That was very surprising, but I went there and started to give lessons. I was 13 or 14 at that time.

Very soon I started a band. We would play rock and roll and standards for dances Friday, Saturday, Sunday nights and we would do weddings on Saturday mornings. I would also give guitar lessons during the week when I was in secondary school. I did that from about 13 until I was about 17.

At the same time I began to get interested in composition and composing. My teacher sent me to a teacher in Montreal to study composition, harmony and orchestration. I studied with him for a couple of years.

The band changed and I composed all the music. It was something like progressive rock. As I grew up I became more interested in jazz, classical and modern music.

During this time I also became interested in visual arts. I would compose music to go with paintings by modern masters. Giorgio de Chirico and Paul Klee were among my favorites. I decided to go to art school in Montreal. I drew well enough that they accepted me at the school. I was not thinking about the cinema. At art school I had my band and at some shows we had modern dancers with us. It was the Hippie era.

About 2 years after art school, around 1970, one of those dancers had a friend, Pierre Vellieux, who was making Dan la Vie, an animated film at the National Film Board. He remembered my music and asked me to do his soundtrack. It took me 6 months. I learned a lot during that process and I discovered a new form of animation that I hadn’t been aware of. I grew up on Disney cartoons, so I had very little knowledge of McLaren. It was a big revelation.

Some people liked what I did for this film. It went on film after film. I was fortunate that when I started there as a freelancer there were staff composers at the Film Board. Maurice Blackburn gave me some tips and showed me how the technology worked. At that time at the NFB the composer was in charge of the whole soundtrack. I worked with Blackburn for a few years. When he retired they didn’t replace him so more opportunities became available for me.

Did you ever meet McLaren? I met McLaren when he did his last film, Narcissus (1983). He wanted to work with Maurice Blackburn who had worked on many of his previous films. Maurice was sick at that time so he interviewed me. I’m not sure if he would have hired me, but Maurice got better. I came close to working with McLaren.

Did you work with producer Derek Lamb? Derek Lamb was the person who introduced me to the English studio. I had been working mostly in the French studio. The first film I did with Derek was a film Caroline Leaf had started, The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa (1977). I knew Caroline from Paul Driessen whom I had worked with several times before. Most of the time I worked with the directors and Derek would be very supportive, but Derek was very involved with Every Child (Eugene Fedorenko, 1979) in a creative way. That project came from UNICEF and was about the Rights of Children. Most of the time Derek was there I worked more closely with the directors including Sheldon Cohen who did The Sweater (1980) and Gayle Thomas who did A Sufi Tale (1980).


MORE ADVICE MUSIC After interviewing Normand Roger about sound design and using original music, I became aware of somebody who chose to use prerecorded music without first clearing the rights to use it. It can be a costly mistake if you want your work seen by the public.

I asked a film distributor what are the person’s options about getting a film out without having all rights to the music cleared. He said, “They are screwed. Over and over filmmakers use music they should never use without getting the rights. The music owners now figure they have to pay whatever they ask. Or change the music. That is what must be done. Compose some original stuff. No distributor will take it on without proper music rights. Even if the filmmaker puts the work online for free they can be sued and brought down by the music owners. They need to go to Lawyers for the Arts.”

I asked Nancy Denney-Phelps about this matter. She replied, “When we are giving our music for animation workshops we use the case of Alex Budovsky and Bath Time In Clerkenwell as a perfect example of how you must not only make sure that you use original music, but that your composer doesn't sample anything that could be recognized. There are rooms full of attorneys sitting at banks of computers monitoring everything on the web looking for illegal music use.” Alex had permission to use the music from the band performing it, but their performance included sampled music that they did not have permission to use. Alex’s soundtrack had to be changed after the film had been completed and he had already made an expensive 35mm print of it.”

Back in the last century a UCLA graduate made an excellent animated film that was picked up for distribution for use in theaters and for home video. Normand Roger was called in to create a new music track at the last moment. While the classical music used was in the public domain, the performance rights were protected. Nancy Denney Phelps told me her husband also “spends a great deal of time recreating music for animators who create to pieces that they don't and /or can't get the right to. If you use a good composer he/she can recreate the feeling while keeping the animator out of legal hot water.”

ANIMAFEST ZAGREB 2008 by Nancy Denney-Phelps Far and away the best parts of the festival for me were the special programs. Anima Docs alone was well worth the entire trip to the festival. Curated by Erik van Durnen and Gerben Schermer for the International Documentary Film Festival 2007 in Amsterdam, the five programs give us a chance to decide for ourselves if the animated documentary is fiction posing as reality or not. The films ranged from Winsor McCay’s Sinking of the Lusitania 1918, an obvious propaganda piece designed to stir up anti-German sentiments during WW I to Springtime in Sant Ponc (2007) by Swiss animators Eugenia Mumenthaler and David Epiney. It recorded the results of a drawing workshop for mentally handicapped people. It gives a glimpse into their thoughts and fears via animation.


Nancy and Dennis Tupicoff

Even though I have seen John Canemaker’s beautifully animated The Moon and the Son many times, it never fails to completely enthrall me. Dennis Tupicoff’s gut wrenching film His Mother’s Voice moved the entire audience. This Australian film uses the voice over of a mother whose son was shot, with visuals created by Dennis. He told me that he had originally heard the woman talking in a radio interview, which had such an emotional impact on him that he had to animate her story.

Out of Africa brought to the screen animation from the entire TO ANIMATORS ABOUT USING African continent. The special Africa Kids program was for children of all ages. The 35 films in the four screenings covered diverse topics, from political and social issues to folk legends, in styles including puppet animation, cut and drawn animation and 2D computer animation. The screenings gave me a window into a vast, diverse continent that I regret to say I do not know enough about.

Clare Kitson, renowned animation researcher, author and former curator at Britain’s National Film Theatre, was the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Achievement in Animation Theory award. She was part of the Meet the Authors sessions, and it was fascinating to hear her speak about the time she spent in Russia talking with Yuri Norstein for her award-winning book Yuri Norstein and Tale of Tales. The book not only looks at a film that is considered to be one of the greatest animated films ever made, but also delves deeply into the personal references that Norstein infused into the film. To further her understanding of the depth of Eastern bloc animation she learned Russian, which enabled her to talk to Norstein without the aid of an interpreter. As curator of the British National Film Theatre, Clare opened the eyes and minds of British audiences to animation from around the world, especially Russian and Eastern European works that had been unknown until then in Western Europe!

The World Classics program presented by Clare included such great films as Chuck Jones’ immortal What’s Opera Doc? and Raoul Servais’ Harpya. For those who had heard her speak the day before about Yuri Norstein and his wonderful film Tale of Tales but hadn’t had the opportunity to see the film, she included it in her program.

Priit Parn was awarded the Zagreb Animafest Lifetime Achievement Award. There were three screenings of Priit’s impressive body of work as well as Parnography, Hardi Volmer’s brilliant 2005 documentary about Priit and his work. I once again saw classic films that I love, such as Karl and Marilyn and Night of the Carrots. We also got to view several commercials that he made. His wife Olga Marchenko joined him on stage to talk about their first collaboration, the 2007 film I Feel a Lifelong Bullet in the Back of my Head, which is part of an Estonian poet/animation project. They went on to discuss their new film Life without Gabriella Ferri, which they were going to finish editing once they returned to Estonia. As a special surprise we were also treated to Raphaell Gianelli Meriano’s new short documentary Night Without the Pope, which shows Priit and Olga at home on the occasion of his 60th birthday. You get a private glimpse into how these two creative people work as they draw together on a glass window at their home overlooking the Baltic Sea while singing a duet.

As part of the Women in Animation screenings, Joanna Quinn presented two programs of films that have had a significant influence on her career. An Animafest Historical Overview screened women’s films, traveling in time from the 1933 French film Night on Bald Mountain by Claire Parker and Alexander Alexeioff to Jean Gratz’s 1992 Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase. Croatian women animators were also spotlighted in a special screening, and a special presentation of Lotte Reiniger’s Adventures of Prince Achmed was accompanied by a live piano score as part of this salute.

A duo of Best of Polish Animation programs focused on films created between 1997 and 2007, and panel discussions covered such topics as The Animated Documentary: Fiction or Reality to Film in Africa and Women in Animated Film.

The opening night screening was a cross-section of films that arrived too late to be juried into competition but that Artistic Director Kreshimir Zimonic and the Animafest team deemed worthy of audience viewing. It is a shame that such wonderful films as Koji Yamamura’s Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor, Suzie Templeton’s Academy Award winning Peter and the Wolf and Michaela Pavlatova’s Carnival of Animals could not be in competition, but it was nice to see them again on the big screen.

By and large I felt that the competition screenings were very weak. I don’t know if this is due to the fact that not enough good films were submitted or that the selection committee had very strange tastes. Since the short film competition takes place every two years I have seen many fine works that fit in this time frame at other festivals. There were a few very excellent films screened, such as George Schwizgebel’s beautiful painted on cell animation Jeu and Luis Cook’s The Pearce Sisters.

One very nice surprise was She Who Measures by Veljko Popovic, who was born in the gorgeous seacoast town of Split, Croatia. This beautifully executed 3D film asks the question “are we truly free? Are we slaves to the culture and society that we were born into or is there a way to escape?”

Doxology by Michael Langan from San Francisco brought back a flood of memories of the cliffs above Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Nik and I used to walk our dogs in that exact spot every day. It was also a lovely surprise to see that when I saw a scene depicting Copenhagen Cycles by US animator Eric Dyer, with music by my husband Nik.

I feel that the juries did an excellent job with the films they were given to select from. The jury for the “grand competition,” Joanna Quinn (Great Britain), Moustapha Alassane (Niger), Caroline Leaf (USA/Canada/Great Britain), Igor Kovaljov (Russia/USA) and Danijel Suljic (Croatia), gave the best short film in the festival award to The Pearce Sisters by Luis Cook of Great Britain, “For its original and unique graphics and direction which pulls us into the bleak world of two misfit characters.” The award includes a festival statue, 2.500 Euros, and Luis will be the honorary presidency at the next festival. The Golden Zagreb prize went to The Runt by Andreas Hykade, Germany. “The jury has given the Golden Zagreb to the film we consider the second film of the festival for its strong, simple, clear design and direction which delivers a powerful and shocking message.” Luis was given a festival statue and 2,.000 Euros. Madam Tutli-Putli by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, Canada, won one of the three special prizes that were given at the discretion of the jury.

ASIFA Croatia hosted a lovely brunch for the ASIFA members at the festival. Buba (former head of Animafest Zagreb and Vice President of ASIFA Croatia) and Vesna Dovnikovic (Secretary of ASIFA International) brought tasty and powerful traditional Croatian liquors, which truly added to the festive air of the party. A good time was had by everyone.

Another nice event was when several of us took the funicular up to the old town for the opening of Portuguese filmmaker Regina Pessoa’s exhibition of original studies and designs for her film Tragic Story With a Happy Ending. The exhibit was beautifully presented, showing the various steps that she went through to create her award winning film. The setting in the Campana Latrunculorum (The Bell of Thieves) was equally charming. The 13th century tower is located at the site of the old city wall and the bell was rung every night to signal the closing of the city gates.


The following notes are to give readers a better idea as to how difficult it is to run a major animation festival smoothly. I found the 18th edition of the Zagreb festival to be a mixture of good and bad. In the past I have looked forward to the festival because of its warm hospitality and relaxed atmosphere. Since there was a totally new administration running the festival this year, many people have been curious as to how it would operate and what direction the festival would take. There were many big changes this year, most crucially with long time festival director Margrit Antauer (affectionately known to her friends as Buba) being replaced as ANIMAFEST director.

The new staff was very friendly and tried to do everything that they could to make their guests feel at home. Unfortunately, most of them lacked experience running an animation festival and that showed in their inadequate attention to small details.

It was not until half way through the festival that foreign guests were provided with daily English language schedules. The program guide had a weekly schedule in Croatian with a color coded key on the side in English, but unfortunately many of the colors were very similar, so unless you were in bright sunlight it was very difficult to tell some of the color shades apart. As much as we would all like to speak our host countries’ languages, an international festival must provide all information in English as well as the native tongue.

ANIMAFEST has traditionally been held the week after Annecy, which was the perfect time for those of us who attend many festivals. After a frantic week of running around and trying to see everything and everyone at Annecy, I always looked forward to a week where both screening rooms were in the same building and you could just walk out from a screening and find lots of friends in the front or back bar. I also missed the long lunches and dinners at the little restaurant behind the festival headquarters. I did make one pilgrimage to the family run café and had a delicious calamari dinner, but missed the easy proximity of good company from years past.

Instead of the festival being in one central location with two screening rooms, this year’s ANIMAFEST was located in the center of town using three separate theaters, an outdoor screening area, and two exhibition spaces. The three locations were not too far apart, but given the torrential downpours we had this year (for which the festival organizers cannot be held responsible), it would have been lovely to have all the screenings at one site as had been done in the past.

The opening night ceremony was held at GLIPTOTEKA, an open-air cinema in the Old Town area of Zagreb about a 15-minute walk from festival headquarters. It was very nice, but hard to find. British animator Martin Pickles and I walked for 45 minutes looking for the location. The small map that we were given sent us up the hill where we indeed found an open-air theatre, but it was the wrong one. Other people who had the same problem with the map the first night.

The amphitheatre was a lovely setting for opening night, but unfortunately the wrong place for the competition screenings. Two competition programs were shown each evening. The first was scheduled to start at 9 PM, but since it didn’t get dark until 9:30 they always started late, as did the second program each evening. It was very cold in the late night open air, and although the staff did provide blankets when they realized how chilly it was, many people left early.

Unfortunately, many members of the audience treated the outdoor screening as though they were at a drive in movie, getting up in the middle of films to buy beer, lighting cigarettes and even talking. I felt sorry for animators whose films were shown during the second screening session, but as I told one filmmaker, at least those of us who were still there really wanted to see the films. Competition programs were re-screened in the main screening room the following evening.

Unlike previous years, animators were only offered four days of festival hospitality and several of the film makers had to leave on the morning following their first screening, missing the chance to be introduced in front of the larger main theater audience. Some tried to find hotel rooms at their own expense so they could stay after their allotted time, but there were several other festivals occurring in town that same week, so every hotel was already fully booked.

Even though the main theatre had a café there was not enough room for lots of us to gather after a screening. In the future the festival should create a convenient gathering spot with tables and chairs spacious enough to accommodate large groups. Animators go to festivals not only to watch films but also to talk to each other.

Everyone was treated to a lovely meal every afternoon, but there were only enough places for about half the group to sit down. When I asked why enough seating hadn’t been provided the answer was “We wanted everyone to mingle.” It was hard to mingle with a plate of food in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

The festival was full of new, young faces and I had the feeling that the organizers were trying to attract these young, hip animators in contrast to past years, with the many familiar faces that made this festival an event I looked forward to. Many of the animators that I talked to had never been to Zagreb before, so they had nothing to compare it to.

I am sure the staff had their hearts in the right place and hopefully they learned a lot this year, but it takes more than a good programmer and the presence of animators to make a well-run festival. ANIMAFEST needs an administrator who knows not only film, but also the mechanics of running a festival and hosting the filmmakers who inhabit this special world. I hope that by the next festival I will once again be able to say that ANIMAFEST is a must attend event.

photo goes here

Nancy, Serge Bromberg, the festival’s director and Bill Plympton

ANNECY 2008: A TRULY FEATURE FESTIVAL by Nancy Denny-Phelps When I first learned that the 2008 Annecy Festival of Animation (June 9-14, Annecy, France) was spotlighting features I was quite apprehensive. An animated feature has to be really good to make me want to stay in my seat for an hour and a half without falling asleep or wishing that it was over, but I was in for a pleasant surprise at the festival this year. Of 40 feature films submitted to the selection committee, 9 were placed in competition, 12 screened out of competition, and 3 were shown as special premiers. It was a fine selection and the subject matter and styles were so varied that there was something to please everyone.

Nina Paley’s brilliant musical adaptation of the Indian epic Ramayana, Sita Sings the Blues, was an instant crowd pleaser. Drawing the film together with songs from the 1920’s by singer Annette Hanshaw, including the poignant Mean To Me, Nina tells the legend of the Indian god Rama from Sita’s point of view. Nina also weaves her own personal story of her husband’s mid-life crisis and subsequent dumping of her via e-mail throughout what she refers to as “the greatest break-up story ever told”.

As with all Indian Bollywood films, there is an “intermission” with music in this wonderful film, and my husband Nik was very pleased to continue his long running collaboration with Nina by creating the music for this special segment of her film. Unfortunately, despite winning numerous awards at festivals, Nina has not yet found a distributor for her film, so the only place that you can see Sita is at festivals. Let’s hope that this situation is remedied soon so that everyone, especially in the United States where there are very few animation festivals, will be able to enjoy this masterpiece of independent filmmaking.

Bill Plympton’s Idiots and Angels, a dark comedy about a man’s battle for his soul, was a welcome treat. The film is very monochromatic with a dark surreal Eastern European look. I like his use of only music and sound effects, no dialogue, to give the film an almost operatic feeling, and the choice of such musicians as Moby, Tom Waits, and Pink Martini added an elevated dimension to the story. This film establishes Bill as a master of the independent feature as well as king of short films. Bill pulled off a great coup by having both his feature film and his short film, Hot Dog, the third film in a series about an eager but inept dog that Bill calls his Mickey Mouse, in the juried competition.

I first wrote about Nocturna when I saw it at Anima Brussels last February. This debut film by young Spanish animators Adria Garcia and Victor Maldonado is the tale of a young orphan whose fear of the dark gives birth to a monster that is bent on wiping out all sources of light in the night sky. This charming film combines a soft background reminiscent of The Triplets of Belleville with Japanese style anima characters to create a film that I have enjoyed watching repeatedly.

I have also seen Peur(s) Du Noir (Fear(s) of the Dark) previously. This black and white film, created by 6 different animators, most of whom are primarily known as comic book artists, brings their fears, phobias, and nightmares to life. Each segment could stand alone as a strong short animation. I still find the use of the female vocal that connects the segments really distracting from the film’s overall mood.

Two other features caught my attention. French Director Olivier Jean-Marie’s Go West, A Lucky Luke Adventure was just pure fun. Lucky Luke is based on the European comic book series of the same name by Rene Coscinny, the creator of Astrix, and Belgian cartoonist Morris. Go West finds Lucky Luke, a living legend of the West, escorting the notorious escape artists the Dalton Brothers back to New York City for yet another trial. Of course the Daltons escape and there ensues a riotous chase that is a homage to the world of burlesque comedy, the classic slapstick of Buster Keaton and even the Blues Brothers.

At the other end of the spectrum was Piano No Moi (The Piano Forest). Japanese animator Masayuhi Kojima has created a visually lovely tale of two talented young boys from radically different backgrounds learning to play the piano. One of the boys is from a good background, the other a street urchin, but the boys discover that they have Mozart and Chopin in common. This beautifully drawn film features music by the world-renowned pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Unfortunately I did not find that the 42 short films in competition lived up to the quality that I would hope to find at Annecy. Of course there were bright spots such as Russian animator Alexei Alexeev’s KJFG No. 5. Alexei not only created this hilarious film about three professional musicians, a bear, a rabbit, and a wolf rehearsing their act, but also performed all of the music.

Jeremy Clapin has followed up his multi-award winning Une Historie Vertebrale (Backbone Tale) with another delightfully quirky story, Skhizein, about a man who is hit by a meteorite. As a result of the impact his life is drastically altered and he begins to live 91 centimeters away from his physical body.

The student films category of graduation films has consistently been the place to see inventive ideas brought to life, but unfortunately this year they did not live up to my expectations.

The festival was jam packed with special programs that more than made up for the competition disappointments. The opening night film usually is a bit of fluff, but this year in a very courageous move by the festival, the audience was treated to Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman’s animated documentary Waltz With Bashir. The film delves into the horrors of the 1982 Lebanon War via a trip to the heart of West Beirut during the massacres at the Sabra and Chatila camps. This very moving film received a standing ovation, an audience reaction that I have rarely seen at Annecy. It delivers its message of the futility of war with a strong impact.

2008 marks the 100th birthday of pioneer animator Emil Cohl’s Fantasmagorie and Serge Bromberg accompanied it on piano. It was a fitting opening night tribute. Then Serge narrated the dialogue to Winsor McCay’s Gertie the Dinasaur as David Silverman accompanied the film on his tuba.

Throughout the week, a nod to Cohl’s genius was given in a series of screenings. A program of early silent films gave us a glimpse into the world of the animators who followed in Cohl’s footsteps. Six French animation schools came together in a workshop that resulted in four short films using material from Cohl films. From 9 June to 31 October The Spirit of Emile Cohl, 100 years of Unbridled Animation will be on view at the Musee-Chateau d’Annecy. The exhibition shows the great pioneer’s contribution to moving pictures with a collection of 10 of his films that have been linked with animated works from the past and present. Contemporary animators such as Bill Plympton, Paul Dreissen and Koji Yamamura have created drawings and animated shorts as an homage to Cohl.

Tex Avery would have been 100 years old this year, and 100 Years of Madness took us into his crazy world from the Art Deco Page Miss Glory (which Avery disliked so much that he refused to have his name on it) to the hilarious adventures of Droopy.

One of the most enjoyable events of the festival was a morning cocktail party to open triple Oscar winner Richard William’s exhibit in the library of the Bonleiu, which is also the festival headquarters. Richard’s artwork included storyboard sketches, original cels, and life drawings. Williams, who started his professional career as a painter and had never exhibited his drawings before, said that he especially wanted to show his drawings as an example to young animators so they can see that you need to learn to draw before you take to your computer.

The perennial crowd pleasers Politically Incorrect, Spicy Animation and The Best of Bad Taste presented by Spike, “King of the Tasteless Toons,” were back again this year. Another regular feature at Annecy is The Big Sleep that pays homage to animators who have passed away in the last 12 months. It was a bittersweet pleasure to see works by such greats as Ollie Johnston, the last of Disney’s “Nine Old Men”, the legendary David Hilberman, and of course the sorely missed Russian genius Alexandre Tatarsky.

This year India was the showcase country. Unfortunately the majority of the films in the three programs were commercial rather than independent work. I really would have enjoyed seeing what was being done by animators working on their own rather than what is being created in the production houses.

Two of my favorite parts of the festival are the morning Shorts and Breakfast with Serge Bromberg and Features at Noon hosted by Monica Tasciotti. The breakfast chats give the audience an opportunity to hear the animators from the previous day’s short film programs talk about their work. Serge is a very adroit interviewer and is able to draw out even the shyest director with his keen observations and impeccable wit. The listeners are able to ask questions while enjoying espresso and croissants. My opinion of a film is seldom changed at the chats, but I do enjoy getting insights into the animators’ vision as to why they made their films.

With feature films taking center stage this year, host Monica Tosciotti’s Features at Noon sessions were even more important than when they were launched last year. Nik joined Nina and one of the French musicians who created music for Sita in the hot seat to talk about “the creation of” the film and about her remarkable achievement of creating a first feature almost single handedly on a very small budget.

Of course Annecy wouldn’t be Annecy without great parties, and our dance card was certainly full. The opening night party at La Plage was the first opportunity to catch up with friends while enjoying some delicious food and wine. Far and away my favorite party every year is the Stuttgart Festival picnic held at a beautiful spot on the lake that is a 20-minute ride from the festival. For a few hours we escaped from the mad frenzy of the festival and spent time eating, drinking and visiting with friends on the grassy shore of the lake. Even the pouring rain throughout most of the picnic didn’t dampen the spirits as we all found shelter under the food tent.

The KROK Festival party was a splendid affair and in true Russian/Ukrainian style there was plenty of vodka and food. The party featured a large screen that showed pictures from previous KROK trips and it was so nice to relive all of those happy memories. The Swiss Film Commission fete and the event hosted by Animafest Zagreb were also lovely parties. The Dreamworks picnic is always a lovely afternoon under the trees that border the lake. It is always a good place to mix business with pleasure while eating and drinking the copious amount of food that the hostess with the mostest Shelly Page provides for our pleasure.

Friday evening Bill Plympton and I hosted the 4th Annual Annecy Plus event. It is billed as the “best films from around the world REJECTED by Annecy” This year the overflowing audience was not only treated to excellent films, but to a special surprise as well. The Annecy Plus band regulars, Nik Phelps on horns and percussionist Rolf Bächler. were joined by David Silverman on tuba. The band played before the show and during intermission as well as performing their original score for Bill Plympton’s The Love Race.

Saturday was dry and sunny for the annual potluck picnic and paddle boat race. Of course we had all been in training for the big race all year long and after a week spent in screening rooms, an afternoon in the sun and on the water was just pure fun. It is also a good way for animators to forget the anxieties of who will go home with awards that evening. Nik, Rolf, and Alexi Alexeev provided the music. A hidden talent was revealed when Astor Parr played Alexi’s ukulele. Her husband, Peter, said that after all their years of marriage he did not know that he was married to a ukulele virtuoso. The multi-talented couple also had the honor to be guest judges for the boat race.

After copious amounts of food and drink we took to the water. Nina Paley and her paddling partner, Johannes Wolters of Germany won first place honors. For the first time in race history Nik and I actually came in second with a dynamic feat of paddling!

The evening awards ceremony finally arrived, and by coincidence Nik and I were seated next to the French voices of The Simpsons. The feature had been shown on the large outdoor screen by the lake earlier in the week. We were overjoyed when Bill Plympton was announced as the winner of a Special Distinction Award for Idiots and Angels, and we could hardly contain ourselves when Nina’s name was announced as the winner of the Crystal for Long Features. She looked like she was in shock when she got to the microphone and kept thanking everyone. It was truly a night of great triumph for American independent animation. The Short Films Crystal was awarded to Kunio Kato of Japan for La Maison en Petits Cubes. This tender tale tells the story of a grandfather whose home is being consumed by the sea. As the water rises he is constantly adding rooms skyward and reliving family memories.

For the closing night party we were back at La Plage and we really had a lot to celebrate. Nina looked radiant as she accepted congratulations from everyone. The last night is always bittersweet because we won’t see some of our friends for quite a while, but there were so many good times to remember this year at Annecy that we will all have smiles on our faces when recall this very special week in the beautiful town on the lake at the foot of the Alps

Above “Party Pooper” illustration by Signe Baumane
Cover illustration by Ricci Carrasquillo

Special thanks to Normand Roger for the interview and photo of Karl Cohen, to Nancy Denney-Phelps for two big articles and to all the other members who pitched in to make this issue possible.


photos go here




Skhizein by Jeremy Clapin, France. Having been struck by a 150-ton meteorite, Henry has to adapt to living
precisely 91 cm from himself. Audience award at Annecy 08.

Glago's Guest by Chris Williams from Walt Disney Animation Studios. It will premiere theatrically with
Bolt in November.

Presto by Doug Sweetland from Pixar.

KJFG #5 by Alexi Alexeev from Hungary. A short humorous visual work that is extremely well told. Winner
of the Sacem Award at Annecy 08.

La Maison en Petits Cubes by Kunio Kato, Japan. A wonderful surreal history of a family’s battle with a rising
ocean. Grand prize for shorts at Annecy 08. Also the Hiroshima Prize and the Audience Prize in Japan.
Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor by Koji Yamamura is a surreal journey into the troubled mind of a doctor
called to treat a patient during extreme winter conditions. Grand prizes at Hiroshima 08 and Ottawa 07.
Keith Reynolds Can't Make it Tonight by Felix Massie, Univ. of Wales, UK. Office politics turn nasty.
Hot Seat by Janet Perlman from Canada. A silly story with rabbits. It is about office etiquette and it was made
for the Responsibility Project. (See article about the project in this issue)

udan by Taku Kimura from Japan. Unlike the Minotaur and other monsters of Western culture, Japan’s Kudan
has a human head and the body of a cow.

I Slept with the Cookie Monster by Kara Nasdor Jones (Mass. College of Art), the film details a woman’s
struggle and triumph over domestic violence. Grand prize in the student competition at Ottawa.

Some of the animators may be present

Please RSVP to or call Karl Cohen (415) 386-1004. Seating is limited to the 100 seats reserved for ASIFA-SF. You are not on the guest list until we confirm you are on it. ILM’s security checks people in and only current members can RSVP. Please state if you plan to bring a guest (limit 1). If you can not come after you RSVP, please let us know so someone on the waiting list can go in your place.

Non-members who join this month will be given a 15-month membership for the price of a 12-month membership. (Your membership will expire at the end of Dec. 2009.) Visit

for membership information. For fast service you can use PayPal (we don’t check the post office box too often).

For interested attendees AWN.COM will offer for sale the Animation Show of Show DVDs. Each DVD is only $5.00 Read more at

There will be other members’ only programs coming up including an event with Richard Williams (director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and author of The Animator’s Survival Kit. Other members’ only events each year include special screenings of Hollywood features and a program of Oscar nominated shorts with some of the artists present.

The theater is in the SW corner of the ILM complex near the Lombard Gate entrance to the Presidio. The entrance has a statue of Yoda in front of it.

Karl Cohen

Valid CSS!Spacer Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional SpacerLink to