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

IN THIS ISSUE I INCLUDE COMMENTS ABOUT 4 NEW ANIMATED FEATURES, NANCY'S COMMENTS ON THE KROK FESTIVAL AND MUCH MORE. Coming next month are her comments about a "festival" in China that was a nightmare thanks to the local government taking control of it. You can read about it on her blog or wait till we publish it.


T’S AN UPSET!!! OUR AUDIENCE VOTED - A STUDENT FILM BEAT OUT FILMS BY WELL-KNOWN DIRECTORS FOR THE TOP AWARD ($100) At our screening of the 2009 ASIFA East Annual Competition, Chicken Cowboy by Stephen Neary from NYU scored almost twice as many points as the second place winner, Western Spaghetti by PES. Both films are quite funny and visually inventive, but Chicken Cowboy is also a wonderful original story and it features unique character designs. Neary’s Shark Suit, the Musical was in last year’s ASIFA-East Annual Competition and he has! commercial credits for working as an animator on “TV Funhouse” pieces for Saturday Night Live. He has won two Student Emmy Awards and other honors in his brief career.

I had told several people ahead of time that the 2009 show included a really fine selection of student films and the audience agreed with my comment when they voted. In a three-way tie for third one of the films was Paris Maroidis’ Divers (Pratt). It tied with Janet Perlman’s delightful Hot Seat and Bill Plympton’s outrageous yarn Santa: The Fascist Years. Divers is a handsome design piece inspired by Busby Berkeley. It stars computer-animated swimmers who create impressive complex patterns while falling thousands of feet through the sky.

Honorable mentions also go to David Ehrlich’s really handsome abstract Line Dance, David Chai’s poignant story Life on a Limb, the Rauch Brothers’ sensitive Q & A, Katherine Morris’ excellent student film The Story of One-Eyed Ophelia Jackson (School of the Visual Arts, NYC) and Dirty Rom Dance by Plasticflesh/Nullsleep/8 Bit Peoples. KC

STEWART MASCHWITZ, A FOUNDER OF THE ORPHANAGE, TO DIRECT “PSY-OPS” Bold Films has obtained rights to develop Scott Stewart and Gus Krieger's Psy-Ops into a feature according to the Hollywood Reporter. Stuart Maschwitz, who headed The Orphanage until it closed late last year, is set to direct. The story follows a secret team of U.S. military psychological operatives that encounter something unimaginable in the Amazon Basin. The style of the film is being described as a cross between Predator and Black Hawk Down.

MICHAEL JANTZE IS TEACHING AT SCAD FOR A YEAR That translates as Savannah College of Art and Design. The temporary address for Jantze Studios is 505 E 50th Street, Savannah GA 31405

IMAGE MOVERS DIGITAL HAS SEVERAL PROJECTS IN DEVELOPMENT Besides talk of their doing a spin-off of Yellow Submarine, MTV reports they have signed Jeffrey Price and Peter Seaman, the original screenwriters of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? to develop a sequel. Robert Zemeckis produced the original rabbit feature and his A Christmas Carol made using performance-capture technology for Disney has just been released.

FROM THE COMIC STRIP TO THE ANIMATED SHORT, A CARTOON ART MUSEUM CLASS FOR ADULTS Monday and Tuesday, December 7 and 8, 5:30 - 7:30 pm, for beginning and intermediate level cartoonists. Cost: $40 for CAM members, $50 for non-members. The class will include docent tours of the permanent comic strip and animation exhibits, lectures, demonstrations, and activities essential to the creative process of cartooning, such as figure drawing, gesture, acting, proportion, writing, and composition. This class will prepare you with the basics of cartooning so that you can move forward with your own creations and projects. The Instructor is James Hummel who has worked locally in production for 6 years at Mondo Media, Wild Brain and Pixar. To register call 415-227-8666 x303 or email:

LOCAL COMIC BOOK AUTHOR MARK ARNOLD WAS INTERVIEWED ON THE HOWARD STERN SHOW (No, he wasn’t naked). The topic was Mark’s book Created by Total Television Productions: The Story of Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo and the Rest. It turns out Howard’s father worked for Total Television.

In November Mark appeared on "The Dan Shahin Show" on KSCU (Santa Clara University). The long interview can be heard at

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art at 594 Broadway #401 in New York is showing "The Art of Archie Comics," an exhibit Mark helped coordinate. The show runs through February 28, 2010. Mark was honored by The Saratoga History Museum in November as one of the 100 famous Saratogans. The museum is located at 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road. Mark runs Fun Ideas Productions.

ELECTRONIC ARTS POSTS 2ND QUARTER LOSS AND ANNOUNCES MASSIVE LAYOFFS Electronic Arts plans to cut its work force by 17% (about 1,500 people). The cuts are in addition to the 1,100 jobs EA slashed earlier this year. The announcement came just hours after saying it is paying at least $275 million to buy Playfish Inc., a maker of social online games popular on Facebook, MySpace and the iPhone. The layoffs are expected to save about $100 million a year. Their CFO told the AP, "We are focusing on ! what works and what matters." Sales of “packaged goods” are declining while digital content (about 12% of their revenue) is up. On Nov. 9, EA posted a net loss of $391 million for the fiscal second quarter, wider than the loss of $310 million, or 97 cents per share, a year earlier. To confuse matters, using a different calculation method EA reported adjusted earnings of $19 million, up from an adjusted loss of $20 million a year earlier. It sounds like they are making money, but 1,500 people are screwed.



Much to our surprise the US Post Office box that we have had since the 1970s was taken from us when the check for the rental fee, sent in late Sept. never arrived. Due to my not driving and Tara living some distance from the post office, we only got to that box once or twice a month so if they sent us a notice of non-payment we never saw it. When Tara finally got to the box in early Nov. the lock had been changed. Someone else is now using it. We are sorry about this mess.

Our new permanent post office box address is:

P.O. Box 225263
San Francisco, CA 94122

Send press releases for the newsletter and other mail to:

Karl Cohen
478 Frederick St.
San Francisco, CA 94117

Or to:

CARTOON ART MUSEUM HAS A SMALL DISPLAY OF PUPPETS AND SETS FROM “FANTASTIC MR. FOX” The exhibit includes the sets and puppets for the “Flint Mine – We Took Everything” and “Farmer Scale Yellow Door,” sequences. They are on display through January 10, 2010.

DO YOU HAVE A FILM TO SHOW AT OUR ANNUAL OPEN SCREENING IN JANUARY? This will be an evening of professionally animated work including company reels and shorts (we will have a special open screening for student work in April). If! you let us know in advance (by Dec. 20) that you plan to bring something, we will put the information you provide on the flyer. Or you can show up with a work unannounced and we will show it. Contact

GENE HAMM HAS THREE DVDS FOR SALE INCLUDING “CARTOONING SHORTCUTS” Gene Hamm says "Cartooning Shortcuts, Formulas, & Cheap Tricks takes you from basic shapes to drawing a comic. My hand is never in the way because I digitally removed it (and boy, did that hurt). With scene selection you can take the lessons in any order you prefer. Put the DVD in a computer to print out guidelines and formulas to help you draw along with the video.”

You can also buy copies of his feature The Dream Hat, and his short Cook For Your Life. The Dream Hat stars a boy with a magic hat who tries to save his village where everyone has lost their ability to dream. Cook For Your Life is about a chicken, pig, and bull that have to turn the farmer into a vegetarian before lunchtime. All three DVDs are available from Cartooning Shortcuts, Formulas & Cheap Tricks is also available from The Cartoon Art Museum Bookstore.

FOX HUGHES HAS A 16 FIELD AND TWO 12 FIELD ANIMATION DISCS FOR SALE They are Acme standard registration drawing animation discs with black acrylic bodies, scale incremented in 20ths of an inch and with cam action locks. Cartoon Supplies sells the 12-field disk for $389 (reduced from $449.95). He is selling the 12-field for $200 plus shipping and $250 for the 16-field. All in perfect condition. ! Contact His artwork can be seen at


FREE SCREENINGS DURING THE AWARDS SEASON OF “CORALINE” AND “9” CONTINUE Coraline plays Wed. Dec. 9 at 7 pm in Emeryville at the AMC Bay St. 16, on Thurs. Dec. 10 at 7 pm at the Skywalker Ranch, on Mon. Dec. 14 at 4 pm at the AMC Metreon (4th and Market in SF) and on Mon. January 11 at 7 pm at the Century 9 at 845 Market. RSVP to (415) 591-9638.

9 will be shown on Dec. 3 at 7 pm at the Delancey St. Screening Room (600 Embarcadero) and on Mon. Dec. 7 at 6 pm at the Rafael Film Center. RSVP to (415) 591-9638

ASIFA-SF and the Cartoon Art Museum present Tuesday, December 8, 7:30pm, “ MR. MAGOO’S CHRISTMAS CAROL” -- THE MAGIC BEHIND THE MAKING OF THE FIRST ANIMATED CHRISTMAS SPECIAL , a book signing and presentation with author Darrell Van Citters at the Cartoon Art Museum, free, public invited


TWENTY FILMS ARE IN THE OSCAR RACE FOR BEST ANIMATED FEATURE That means there will be five nominated films. The 20 submissions are: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Fox 2000), Astro Boy (Summit), Battle for Terra (Lionsgate), Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (Sony Animation), Coraline (Focus), Disney's A Christmas Carol, The Dolphin - Story of a Dreamer (20th Century Fox), Fantastic Mr. Fox (20th Century Fox), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (20th Century Fox), Mary & Max (IFC, Australia), The Missing Lynx (Kandor Graphics, YaYa! Films), Monsters vs. Aliens (DreamWorks Animation), 9 (Focus), Planet 51 (Sony), Ponyo (Disney and Studio Ghibli), The Princess and the Frog (Disney), The Secret of Kells (Les Armateurs, Viva Film, Cartoon Saloon, France 2 Cinema), Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure (Disney, animated in India), A Town Called Panic (Studio Canal, Belgium) and Up (Disney/Pixar). The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells and A Town Called Panic have not yet had their required Los Angeles qualifying runs.

TIM BURTON IS PLANNING A STOP-MOTION VERSION OF “FRANKENWEENIE” He is presently busy working on Alice in Wonderland and developing ideas for a stop-motion feature based on Frankenweenie, his 1984 short, according to When they spoke with Allison Abbate, who produced Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Corpse Bride, she told them that the film might be in black and white, in 3-D and that it will be produced in London over a two-year period.

THE 2009 ASIFA PRIZE HAS BEEN AWARDED TO MOUSTAPHA ALASSANE, AN AFRICAN PIONEER OF ANIMATION The prize was awarded during the awards night of ANIMAFRIK festival in Accra, Ghana in the presence of a huge African audience and foreign guests. This was the first time our prestigious prize has gone to an African animator. Moustapha Alassane from Niger is self-taught. He has been expressing himself with animation since the 1960s.

His work has been seen at Annecy and other major festivals. Michel Ocelot created the work of art (trophy) presented to him.

Mohamed Ghazala, director of ASIFA Egypt, tells us, “It was pity that due to bad health condition 67 years old Moustapha Alassane couldn't be present at the Animafrik Festival, but he sent his secretary Ms Rakiatou Aboubacar to be his representative and to introduce his homage night and his films. Moustapha greeted the audiences by telephone, saying: ‘I have received many awards before from many prestigious festivals and academies around the world, but this one is highly appreciated and it is much closer to my heart because this honor comes from the most important organization of animation in the world … I'm thanking ASIFA for its support, and I welcome any cooperation with it in the future.’ The ambassador from Niger gave a speech honoring Mous! tapha.”

Mohamed also said, “It was a really great moment for animators in Africa, who finally felt some confidence, that they could be recognized on the international level by an organization like ASIFA, and that Africa is not ignored or treated as a continent of misery any more, but as a land of the oldest art tradition.“

Mohamed Ghazala is an animation lecturer at Minia University in Minai, Egypt.

ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVE IN NYC PRESENTED “EXPERIMENTS WITH ANIMATION” IN NOVEMBER The program featured the work of Jesse Epstein, Steve Subotnick, Jeff Scher, Martha Colburn and Signe Baumane. Several of the animators were present for the Q & A.

THE ANIMATION OF ALEXANDAR ALEXEIFF AND CLAIRE PARKER IS NOW ON DVD Facets Multimedia in Chicago has just released the collected work of these great pinscreen artists. Includes over 30 works: The Nose, Night on Bald Mountain, commercials, etc. $39.95 but on sale at $27.96

RUBE GOLDBERG INSPIRED ANIMATION ON THE INTERNET A fascinating series of computer generated Rube Goldberg inspired types of unusual inventions were created for DVDs several years ago. One of the shorts can be found on YouTube under the name Animusic. The shorts are set to computer music.

THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS IN WASHINGTON. DC IS EXHIBITING “MOLTO ANIMIMATO! MUSIC AND ANIMATION” The show ends March 28, 2010. It explores how music has made moving images more fluid and expressive. Since the infancy of the motion-picture art form, moving images have always appeared more fluid and expressive when accompanied by music. “Music helps create pacing, carries emotion and makes the storyline soar. In particular, animated films or cartoons opened opportunities for composers wanting to enhance the visual images of the animators with music, sound effects and songs.”

The exhibit includes music scores from Bambi and a Krazy Kat cartoon, a poster from Aladdin, a caricature of Leopold Stokowski and other items. The exhibit is in the James Madison building, 101 Independence Ave. SE.

“ED, EDD ’N EDDY’S BIG PICTURE SHOW” IS THE GRAND FINALE FOR THE CARTOON NETWORK’S LONGEST RUNNING SERIES In early November the network ran two 7-hour long marathons before premiering the made-for-TV 90-minute feature “Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy’s Big Picture Show.” The series was shown worldwide from 1999 - 2009. After 130 episodes and 4 specials, production ended. Danny Antonucci created it after he created the sick and twisted classic Lupo the Butcher (1987) and the TV series Brother Grunt for MTV.

ASIFA’S INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION DAY There were celebrations on five continents (Africa, N & S America, Asia and Europe). Some countries developed elaborate events plans. In India they held daylong events in several cities. They included guest speakers, company demonstrations, screenings of award winning films from a competition, additional shows of student and professional films plus “making of” reels for Mummy 3, The Incredible Hulk, Be-Jinxed, Merry Madagascar, The Cat and the Juggler and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Another approach to IAD is for several ASIFA groups to work together to produce a DVD. This year the DVD included work from Atlanta, Georgia; Croatia, Egypt, India, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Poland, Portugal, Italy and Russia. Each group got to show the reel.

We who live in the Bay Area are fortunate to have frequent opportunities to see animation from around the world, but I suspect that isn’t the case in most parts of the world. IAD at its best can also make the general population aware that animation is more than kids’ stuff on TV and Hollywood features.

CHOP SOCKY CHOOKS” FROM AARDMAN IS ON DVD The two discs sell for $19.98 or less. The 13 episodes star Chick P, KO Joe and Chuckie Chan who match wits with arch villain Dr. Wasabi. The heroes are chickens that are skilled in spy technology and martial arts.

Flyer by Alex Budovsky

THE DELAWARE COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN IS PRESENTING “STILL MOVING: INDEPENDENT ANIMATION,” A GALLERY EXHIBIT The show includes preparatory drawings, conceptual artwork and finished animation by Karen Aqua, Signe Baumane, Alex Budovsky, Steve Gentile, George Griffin, Andy London, Chris Magee, Joanna Priestly, John Serpentelli, Karl Staven and Steven Subotnik. Also, Alex Budovsky gave a talk on his work at the Delaware History Museum in November.

WANT VALUABLE INFORMATION ON HOW TO CREATE AND SELL AN ANIMATED PRODUCT TO TV? THEN GET A COPY OF DAVID LEVY’S “ANIMATION DEVELOPMENT: FROM PITCH TO PRODUCTION” The book is an honest, well researched and carefully written text about this seemingly crazy, difficult to understand industry that produces dozens of duds for every show that lasts more than a few weeks. Reading it will not enable you to write a sure-fire hit, but it does present easy to comprehend details about every step one is likely to encounter from where ideas come from and how to develop your ideas on paper, to the launch of the first season.

The book is full of information on what you are likely go through to develop your project. There is a lot of advice, personal stories and other useful material. David, who has been president of ASIFA-East since 2000 and who teaches at several universities in the New York area, covers how to develop a successful two-page pitch and the bible that explains in detail each character, etc.; legal issues, financing, tips to help you when you make your pitch, and much more.

As an insider, David, who has directed six series for TV, tells what executives think they are looking for, how to work with them to provide it and other tips. He also is realistic about what you can expect as a beginner entering this marketplace (don’t quit your day job). If you really want to develop a project for TV, you probably need to read this book carefully. It may save your sanity and career. You will learn from the mistakes and successes of others. Linda Simensky, who has been an animation executive with Nickelodeon, the Cartoon Network and is presently with PBS, says, “Th! is book is better than attending fifty panel discussions on this topic.” Published by Allworth Press. $24.95

NOVEMBER’S ANIMAZING SPOTLIGHT IN LA WAS A SUCCESSFUL MINI-FESTIVAL by Tee Bosustow The November 7th & 8th “Weekend of Animated Shorts” festival at the historic Egyptian Theatre, in Hollywood, is now history. The Best of Festival Grand Prize went to Spain’s Rodrigo Blaas, now living and working in San Francisco (at Pixar), for his charming and touching Alma. The remaining 15 category winners can be found on our website.

Festival Highlights - Eric Goldberg did a live version of his best seller “Character Animation Crash Course,” wrapping it up with an on-the-spot character he designed with elements suggested by members of the audience.

Bob Kurtz showed some of the best-animated commercials from the golden era of ‘50s through to the present day by his mentors. His own ads were fabulous too.

Bill Kroyer’s career goes back to the very early days of computers. What a remarkable story, illustrated with early contraptions and the latest stuff.

Jim Capobianco shared his ten-year journey to make his independent short Leonardo. He focused on the importance of story in shorts. He inspired animators in the audience to get back to finishing their own shorts.

Pete Sohn took us back to his childhood, and traced his early ideas for Partly Cloudy through the pitch and development at Pixar. Partly Cloudy is being shown with Up.

Tom Sito showed rare animated shorts to illustrate his Short History of Animated Shorts. He included Felix the Cat, Betty Boop, and the infamous Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs, interspersed with juicy animation stories.

Yvette Kaplan and John Andrews introduced a fantastic compilation of work from the early days of MTV including Beavis & Butthead and other envelope bursting shows.

Meet the Professionals was a casual mixer where audience members were able to meet animation luminaries such as the Disney legend, Floyd Norman, as well as many of the program presenters. Advice and autographs flowed.

The Animation Marathon (4 hours) brought out the most dedicated animation enthusiasts. They got to vote for the Audience Favorite award.

We are now accepting entries for the 2010 competition. The deadline is Dec. 28th for the first quarter. Information and entry instructions can also be found on our web site,

FILM SCHOLAR DR. ROBIN ALLAN DONATES RARE DISNEY CELS AND HIS RESEARCH LIBRARY TO EXETER UNIVERSITY (UK) Robin’s best-known work is Disney in Europe, a scholarly text on the European influences on the animated film classics of Walt Disney.

Research collections are rare and extremely important for future scholarly work about animation since most of the pioneers are no longer alive. Disney maintains an important collection in LA and Walter Lantz gave his collection Robin Allen to UCLA. Jules Engel’s archive has been given to the Getty Research Institute and John Canemaker’s collection is maintained by NYU. SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) houses the Don Bluth collection. The Center for Visual Music has Bill Moritz’s research collection. They have also put The Oskar Fischinger collection online. The Iota Center’s library and study center located in Culver City, CA, contains hundreds of films related to visual music including work! s unavailable on home video like those of Jules Engel and Adam Beckett. Their collection also includes taped lectures unavailable anywhere else by eminent visual music artists and scholars, such as Ying Tan and Dr. William Moritz, as well as rare interviews with various artists including Jules Engel. ASIFA-Hollywood has been building a valuable collection that is stored off site. Ohio State University in Bowling Green, Ohio has an enormous collection of comic art (collections of Walt Kelly, Milt Caniff, Will Eisner, and others). In England the enormous Halas and Batchelor collection along with collections of Bob Godfrey and others are housed at the Uni versity for the Creative Arts in Farnham. There is also an archive in South Hampton, UK.


In November the arrival of several noteworthy animated features resulted in my thinking about what observations might really be of interest to readers instead of simply mentioning plot, who the voice actors are and if I liked it. Here are my comments on the four films.


I’m not interested in reading most newspaper film reviews as I know most of the writers are aiming their comments at a younger audience and that tastes can be quite arbitrary. When it comes to Robert Zemeckis’ latest feature the first review I read was in a trade publication and it was quite critical, but it was so well written I was impressed. A few days later after thinking about it, I reread Kirk Honeycutt’s review in the Hollywood Reporter and realized what impressed me was his ability with words and that in the end he really had little to say except that in his opinion Zemeckis’ adaptation lacks the emotional strength of Dickens’ text and it over uses technology. He began his article by saying, “Bottom Line: Exuberant movie technology overwhelms, then buries Dickens' emotional tale.” Frankly, most film goers today just want to have a great film experience. How many really care how faithful the film is and how many have read Dickens?

Honeycutt points out that while Charles Dickens wrote the original text, the film is advertised as Disney’s A Christmas Carol. To me that means it is not going to be true to the original. Is that good or bad? It seems that to Honeycutt that is a serious issue to ponder. He says, “In one sense, this is a most faithful interpretation of Dickens' 1843 novella. Indeed, nearly all the dialogue is lifted from the original text. But this also is writer-producer-director Zemeckis' third motion-capture film… This movie version revels! in effects: Ethereal, menacing spirits burst through locked doors; frightening visions terrify Scrooge; and images of wild horses, twisted human forms and coal-black dwellings rife with crime, filth and misery are linked by flights through London's cityscape and over countrysides that lift from ‘Harry Potter’ movies as much as from Dickens.” (I ask you, is it wrong to add a contemporary flair to a classic?)

Honeycutt continues, “Initially, all this serves to invigorate an old war horse. One is reminded that what Ebenezer Scrooge experiences -- when the chained ghost of his long-dead partner and then three spirits assault him in his own bedroom -- is horror in the true sense. So this is a very dark tale, a tour of a miserly, misanthropic man's soul, and Zemeckis' film does reclaim this aspect of a story that has become more of a cheery cartoon in modern retellings.” (This sounds like an exciting film experience to me.)

“But as the spirits escort Scrooge through his sorry life, Zemeckis gradually makes this Christmas Carol his own. But as he does, with his intense reliance and belief in movie technology, this auteur shuns the beating heart of Dickens' story.”

“Dickens' A Christmas Carol is about emotions. It's about how emotions can get stunted and tramped down, how they can be revived and how empathy and affection can bring joy to the human soul. One will find none of that here.”

“Zemeckis' A Christmas Carol is, in its essence, a product reel, a showy, exuberant demonstration of the glories of motion capture, computer animation and 3-D technology. On that level, it's a wow. On any emotional level, it's as cold as Marley's Ghost.”

So was the film as cold as Marley’s Ghost to you? Did the studio’s technical abilities enhance the experience or ruin it? For a brilliant hand drawn version of the Dickens’ story see Richard Williams’ magnificent Oscar winning half-hour version of the tale that captures the essence of the story. Does Zemeckis have the right to embellish, especially if he has to fill 90-minutes?

Honeycutt went on to make one other point, that the technology of performance-capture, etc. somehow got in the way of his enjoyment. He said, ”Motion capture… with vocal tricks and accents, CGI-distorted faces and figures and exaggerated body language, the movie robs Dickens' vivid, prototypical characters of any sense of being living, breathing flesh. They become caricatures in a Christmas pageant.” (Do you agree with that?)

“The worst offense to the spirit of Dickens comes with Tiny Tim. He, more than any other character in this tale, represents its true spirit. In the Zemeckis version, he's a dress extra who tiresomely exclaims, "God bless us, everyone!"

“So deck the halls with praise for the crew -- cinematographer Robert Presley, designer Doug Chiang, animation supervisor Jenn Emberly, visual effects supervisor George Murphy and Alan Silvestri for his robust score. But a rousing humbug to those who confuse the media for the message.”

If you care to comment on this article or other aspects of the feature write me at


Wes Anderson’s adaptation of the Roald Dahl’s children’s classic is a delightful fun romp. It is also a remarkably well made stop-motion feature that should find its audience, but after seeing it, I wasn’t sure who this off-beat film was made for. At the reception after the SF International Animation Festival’s screening of the feature, I asked Mark “Mr. Resistor” Gustafson, the film’s animation director, what age group Wes Anderson made the film for. He thought for a few seconds and said Anderson really made it to please himself and they never discus! sed appealing to a specific age group.

I also wonder if conservative America will hate it as the film stars an anti-hero, a fox that is addicted to stealing chickens and doing other nefarious things. With our country still in shock over Wall Street scandals, I can imagine the success of this playful feature being hurt by parents fearing it will teach kids “wrong things.”

Teaching the wrong things? Well Mr. Fox starts out in the film as an upwardly mobile Yuppie wanting to provide a better life for his family. But the he soon shows his true colors, an anti-capitalist who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. When confronted with opposition the film advocates class warfare and in this film the rich don’t win!

After seeing the film I thought having a fox in a starring role in a feature was a daring risk on Wes Anderson’s part as foxes and wolves are traditionally cast as evil villains, (Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio). When I asked several animation people if there was any precedent for a Fox being a hero, Steve Segal pointed out that in Disney’s Robin Hood a fox plays Robin.

2009 has been a great year for stop-motion features and this film is so unlike Coraline that there is little point to comparing them. What is important is that the public and film producers will hopefully realize stop-motion films are an exciting alternative to cell and computer animation. The techniques can be used successfully to bring to life many different kinds of scripts. Hopefully we are at the beginning of a stop-motion renaissance.



I’ve been hearing about this project for many months. When the film was being made it got lots of ink in horror and sci-fi publications and at least two members of our ASIFA chapter worked on it. One of them, Bradford Uyeda, has shown me the DVD and his work on it was quite good. There are other segments that showcase work by other excellent artists, illustrators and technicians. Bradford can justly be proud of his contributions to the project. The clips of his work that are in his show reel along with clips! from his recent student film (SF State), were good enough to get him work on several stop-motion Internet commercials for major advertisers.

Unfortunately the film as a whole doesn’t work. The director asked artists to provide new visuals to illustrate the original soundtrack and he ended up with over 100 people working in a wide variety of styles and techniques (from cgi to sock puppets). There is also some live action footage that was degraded by dropping out the gray scale, making it into high contrast footage, or by adding lines over the footage or other textures. The trouble is the film doesn’t have any visual continuity and so you have no idea what is really going on in the action scenes involving numerous characters. In other words, you not only can’t tell the good gu! ys from the zombies, you can’t follow the course of action of any single actor as he or she keeps changing their look. The project didn’t use model sheets. Editing together footage of the same character renderered in vastly different ways was not a good idea.

Night of the Living Dead – Reanimated isn’t awful, it just doesn’t hold together well. The soundtrack of the memorable 1968 low budget classic is OK, but it isn’t strong enough to save this project.

About 90% of the film is an animatic and it doesn’t capture the power of the original live action feature. I saw an animatic recently that was so well made that people left the theatre after the work-in-progress screening saying they didn’t realize they were not looking at finished animation the whole time (more on that film next year after it premieres at Sundance).

Fortunately the Living Dead project was a “no budget” production. It will be get seen at horror film festivals, for free on the Internet and on DVD. It may even develop a cult following.

Perhaps the best thing to come from the project is it leading some of the people who worked on it into more sophisticated and better designed projects. Bradford and some of his friends are going on to illustrate excellent radio shows from the past using one designer per episode (and model sheets) so the visual continuity that was lacking in the first project should not be a problem in the future.



When I was about 7 or 8 (perhaps younger) I subjected my parents to what must have been awful plays that I created using my toys and stuffed animals. A Town Called Panic reminds me of my absurd productions, but the creators of this adolescent nonsense have produced something some people really enjoy. It is so immature, stupid and wacky that while some people might just ask for their money back 3-minutes after the film starts, others will love it. One person told me, “It’s a scream!”

The aesthetics of the production grew out of Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar’s student work from the 1980s when they were animation students in Belgium. Their hand-drawn student film Pic Pic Andre Show (1988) was shown at Annecy. After college the pair developed a series of 5-minute frenetically paced TV episodes using crude stop-motion animation. Cheep plastic toys, some bought at garage sales, were used for the characters. The series developed a cult following and Aardman, the studio famous for Wallace and Gromit, distributes the English version of the show. Now the show has become a 75-minute feature.

Panic is low tech, just the opposite of what you expect in a feature from Pixar. Although there must have been a carefully written script, it is delivered as if it a spontaneous stream of consciousness juvenile fantasy. Apparently the authors combined unrelated elements from their ten TV episodes into this work. It begins in the rural countryside with Cowboy and Indian planning a surprise birthday party for Horse. Somehow after the party people who live underground steal walls from a house, resulting in the trio going off on an adventure to recover ! the missing walls. They manage to survive a fall down a hole to the center of the earth and an underwater adventure that does not require them to have a proper supply of air. The charm of the film, if it has any for you, is that nothing in this bizarre fantasy is logical or makes sense.

The animation is sped up so you accept the clumsy plastic figure can run without needing walk cycles. One person said the characters are voiced and animated as if they are full of laughing gas.

About 1500 cheep plastic figures were used and up to 200 figures of the same character were needed so the artists could bend arms, turn the heads in different directions, etc. in order to animate them. There is no attempt to have lip-synch or smooth animation. Architecture and landscapes were created using the finest grades of cardboard. It actually took 260 days to complete the production.

The film has met with some extremely positive reviews. Kenneth Turan, LA Times, called it, “simply the most fun. Animated epic is completely over-the-top zany.” Allan Hunter, Screen. "A blast of free wheeling inventiveness.” Leslie Felperin, Variety, “proves you don't need fancy CGI techniques, 3-D, or stunt voice casting to make a sparkly little gem.” Peter Brunette, Hollywood Reporter, “absolutely brilliant."

I don’t agree with those critics. I enjoyed the opportunity to see this offbeat work, but a little bit goes a long way. It is mildly amusing and silly fun, but it is immature, stupid and there is no suspension of disbelief. I got bored. You can watch the TV episodes on the Internet and decide for yourself if you want to watch the 75-minute version. Note: The feature’s production val! ues are much better than the TV shorts.

THE ACADEMY’S LIST OF CONTENDERS FOR THE BEST ANIMATED SHORT HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED The ten animated short films that will be considered for the 5 nominations were selected from 37 pictures. They were selected by members of the Academy’s animation branch at screenings in New York and Los Angeles. The nominated shorts will be selected after screenings in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in January 2010. The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010. The 10 films are: The Cat Piano, Eddie White and Ari Gib! son, directors (The People’s Republic of Animation); French Roast, Fabrice O. Joubert, director (Pumpkin Factory/Bibo Films); Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, Nicky Phelan, director, and Darragh O’Connell, producer (Brown Bag Films); The Kinematograph, Tomek Baginski, director-producer (Platige Image); The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte), Javier Recio Gracia, director (Kandor Graphics and Green Moon); Logorama, Nicolas Schmerkin, producer (Autour de Minuit); A Matter of Loaf and Death, Nick Park, director (Aardman Animations Ltd.); Partly Cloudy
Peter Sohn, director (Pixar Animation Studios); Runaway, Cordell Barker, director (National Film Board of Canada) and Variete Roelof van den Bergh, director (il Luster Productions). Cartoon gave plot summaries of the 10 shorts on November 21.

KROKING DOWN THE DNIEPER, September 28 to October 7, By Nancy Denney-Phelps

For a growing number of animators all over the world, “to KROK” is a very special phrase. The 20th Anniversary edition of the KROK International Animation Festival, a joint Ukrainian/Russian event, took place from September 28th to October 7 when 200 animators from around the world boarded the Dnieper Star to share this unique experience. Anyone who has ever been lucky enough to sail on the KROK boat has many lovely memories and a host of new friends. This year the ship sailed down the Dnieper River in Ukraine and across the Black Sea from Kiev to Odessa.

Over the last 10 years that Nik and I have been part of the KROK family, I have had the opportunity to see films from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and other countries whose films are not readily available at European festivals, much less in the United States.

2009 has been a weak year for short films. There have been many good films, but nothing that has really stood out as exceptional. The selection committee did an excellent job of putting together programs that were of the highest quality given what they had to work with. I have already written in other articles about many of the films that were shown such as Cordell Barker’s Runaway and Western Spagetti by PES. I am very fond of Russian animator Ivan Maximov’s The Additional Capabilities of the Snout (for which Nik did the music) that is very surreal. Muto, which features Argentinean Blu’s graffiti style animated paintings on public walls, has won major awards at many major festivals including a Special Jury Prize for Best Animation at KROK.

I have known Georgij Lyahovetskij for ten years and I have watched him grow from a shy boy into a young man of considerable talent as a painter. He has had gallery shows in New York, Moscow, and London. I can best describe his work as naive art full of joy and optimism with an offbeat sense of color and composition. His paintings show a childlike openness with a true, sincere perspective of the world. In the film Gosha’s Tales, Russian director Dmitriy Naumov manages to bring Gosha’s (the Russian familiar name for Georgij) vivid painti! ngs to life on the screen. I hope that this charming film will be shown at festivals around the world so that more people will be able to discover Gosha’s special world.

Among the films new to me in the nine competition programs was The Swimming Lesson by Danny de Vent who lives in Gent, Belgium. It was awarded a special jury prize for the Best First Professional Film. Danny’s film about a 4 year old boy’s first swimming lesson not only brings back memories of childhood fears we have all had to face, but also reminds me that no matter how old we are we will always have fears of the unknown.

This year another of my favorite films was Little Bird ABC by South African director Diek Grobler and animator Charlles Badenhorst. The film won the Best Children’s Film award. It illustrates the ABCs in a fun and playfully wicked way that is also entertaining for adults. For instance, the letter B is illustrated by a bird drinking beer and burping and F is a farting bird.

2009 is the 20th Anniversary of KROK. It first saw the light of day in 1989 when the Ukraine was still part of the old USSR, the year that the former USSR broke apart. Animators took to the water in an atmosphere of friendship and harmony that knew no state frontiers or boundaries, only to return to the Soviet shores to find their world turned upside down. In 1997 Daniel Grimes’ Flatworld (UK) became the first foreign film to win the Grand Prix. As part of the celebration honoring 20-years of KROK, two programs of past Grand Prix winners were screened.

Members of the International Jury, French born Monique Renault who lives in The Netherlands, Russian animator Violetta Kolesnikova, Joan Gratz from Portland, Orgeon, and Jean Rubak of France presented retrospectives of their work. The fifth member of the jury was Ukrainian film critic Sergey Trymback. A panorama of animation from Ukranimafilm Studio was shown to celebrate the renowned studio’s 50th anniversary. Ukranimafilm is the oldest animation studio in Eastern Europe and has produced over 400 animated films since its founding. Unfortunately Ukranimafilms has ceased production, but classics including David Cherkassky’s Captain Vrungel’s Adventures live on. Cherkassky is KROK’s revered Ukrainian President.

Master Classes were offered on board the ship by internationally acclaimed names in animation including Ukrainian animator and director Igor Kovalyov, who is best known for his short film Hen, His Wife and the TV series The Rugrats. Kovalyov was co-founder of Moscow’s legendary Pilot Studio with Alexander Tartarsky. Igor now lives and works in Los Angeles.

Edward Nazarov, Russian President of KROK also gave a very impressive presentation. Another highlight of the sessions was Alexander Petrov’s demonstration of his technique of painting on glass.

Once again this year, the morning press conference was turned into coffee with the directors. I always find it fascinating to hear animators talk about their work. Although it seldom changes my opinion of a film, it is interesting to have insights into what motivated a director with his story and style choices. Some mornings it was very hard to get up for the conferences that were very ably moderated by Russian film critic Larisa Malyukova, but the audience of journalists and animators always ask some good, insightful questions.

Special excursions were planned by the staff to give guests an opportunity to experience some of the great cultural and historic wonders of the country. Nik and I have been on the tours many times so we spent this free time exploring on our own, but one tour that we would never miss is to the ancient Chersonesos (Kherson) Rybalsky Island tucked away in the Chersonesos reed beds. We were taken in a small boat through the channels among groups of small islands, primarily inhabited by fishermen. When we docked we were greeted by local bubas (grandmothers) who had cooked for us a traditional meal using fresh produce from their gardens. The food on the ship was much better than what we had been served in the past few years, but it was a great treat to eat fresh tomatoes and eggplant and of course my very favorite, homemade pelmeni (small, filled dumplings). The very powerful alcohol that was in plentiful supply was also homemade. It’s always a very happy boat ride back to ship, but I always feel sorry for the film makers whose works appear in the screening that evening.

KROK may mean step in Ukrainian, but to me it means FUN! The days were full of animation and excursions and the nights were full of music and dancing. RE-ANIMATION evenings, where we all sang, danced, played music and engaged in silly behavior were especially fun. One evening was a tribute to KROK’s 20th Anniversary in which we honored with humor and love the amazing work that Irina Kaplichnaya and her staff have done to keep KROK afloat. There was birthday cake for all and gifts for Irina including a portrait of her painted by Alexander Petrov. After the evening’s performances, beautiful paper lanterns were sent al! oft from the top deck. The lovely lanterns gently drifting in the warm full moon night were a breath taking sight.

RE-ANIMATION nights were the warm-up for the great event – CARNIVAL! Several days before the actual event groups of people cluster in deep conference. This year our group was very lucky to score master storyteller Dennis Tupicoff as our scriptwriter and of course Nik was our musical director, putting together a great band for our performance. Our International group sang the lyrics Dennis penned “20 Years of KROK and What Do You Get - A Little Bit Drunker and Deeper In Debt…” to the tune of the old Tennessee Ernie Ford song “16 Tons.” Filomena Adler acted as our bar maid, serving vodka shots to us on stage as we sang. Our efforts won us a coveted prize of lovely straw hats for each person and a large bottle of vodka, which our thirsty group made quick work of.

Whenever the ship sailed at night Master DJ Ivan Maximov provided music for dancing on the top deck until sunrise. In port we moved into the bar to dance the night away. It is a lovely experience to watch the sun rise over the river. For years “The River Side Ramblers,” Mikhail Tumelya, a Belarus animator who is a balalaika aficionado, Alex Budowsky from the US on harmonium, Russian Alexey Alekseev and his guitar and Nik on sax, have played together on the KROK boat. They play everything from Russian and Ukranian folk songs to “O Susanna” and Beatles tunes on the top deck at night w! hile everyone sings and drinks. They also performed at RE-ANIMATION, in fact, you could run into them making music all over the ship.

The closing night award ceremony was held in Sebastopol at a beautiful modern multiplex. The evening began with a documentary film made on board ship by Igor Kozijanthuk. Somehow Igor managed to be everywhere on the boat all at once and his camera didn’t miss a thing, capturing at least one portrait of everyone on board. The film was a beautifully edited visual memory of our trip. During the festival a group of young animators was busy creating their own masterpiece and it was also shown at the closing ceremony.

The event everyone was waiting for was the announcement of the award winning films. The festival Grand Prix along with a cash award of $5,000.00 went to Estonian director Riho Unt for Lili. His puppet film, made at the renowned Nukufilm Studio, is the story of a group of hungry rats on a WW II battlefield trying to answer the question “Who is Lili Marleen?” The choice turned out to be quite controversial and for the first time that I can remember at KROK the jury gave a special press conference the next day to explain their choice. Personally, I feel that if a jury wants to make a statement on stage when they give the award that is fine, but they should not have to justify their decision after the fact. It is one group of people’s decision and that is that.

Nukufilm Studio picked up another honor when Rao Heidmets was awarded the Special Alexander Tatarsky prize “The Plasticine Cow” and $3,000 for Inherent Obligations, the film that most embodies the spirit and love of humor of Tatarsky. Riho won the Grand Prix at the first KROK festival in 1989. He said on stage he was very honored to have been awarded the first KROK Grand Prix, but that winning The Tartarsky Award was the victory that he really wanted. His film Inherent Obligations is really hilarious. It also won the Grand Prize for Best Short Film at Ottawa this year.

The 2009 KROK ship sailed three days less than in previous years, but given the world economic situation and the political tensions between the Ukraine and Russia it is amazing that Irina Kaplichnaya and her wonderful, hard working staff were able to make the festival happen at all. Irina said that, “Politics is threatening KROK.” It would be a tragedy if bureaucrats and politicians were allowed to destroy what is one of the greatest cultural exchanges in the world.

All too soon the boat landed in Odessa and it was time for very fond, sad farewells. If you have never been to KROK there is really no way to express the experience in words. KROK really will change your life. You leave the boat with a very special group of friends and no matter where you travel you will find a KROK compatriot ready to share drinks and beautiful memories. LONG LIVE KROK!

Besides the award mentioned, prizes were given to several films that have been shown to ASIFA-SF in Ron Diamond’s programs. They include “diplomas” presented to Western Spaghetti by PES, for his original approach to cooking; Chick by Mychal Socha, Poland, for graphic design; Santa: The Fascist Years by Bill Plympton for black humor, and Skhizein by Jeremy Clapin, France, for the concept. The prize for Best Applied and Commissioned Animation went to Log Jam by Alexey Alekseev, Russia/Hungary.

A KING KONG ARMATURE WAS UP FOR AUCTION AT CHRISTIE’S LONDON It measures 22” high and was estimated to be worth between 100,000 and 150,000 pounds. It is said to have been used in Kong’s climb up the Empire State Building in the original (1933) classic. Joe Sikoryak, our webmaster, has visited Bob Burns, a collector in Hollywood who owns the other remaining Kong armature, an 18” tall version. Burns also owns one from Mighty Joe Young.

“GOOD VIBRATIONS” IS BY THE CREATOR OF “SKHIZEIN,” THE LATEST ANIMATED SHORT MADE FOR THE RESPONSIBILITY PROJECT Liberty Mutual is sponsoring this series of humorous educational shorts. Acme Filmworks in LA (Ron Diamond and friends) produced it. See it at

Jeremy Clapin graduated from Paris' Arts Decoratifs in 1999 and has worked as a graphic artist, illustrator and advertising director. In 2004, he directed his first animated short, A Backbone Tale. His second film, Skhizein (2008), made the Academy’s short-list for the 2009 Awards and it has taken more than 70 awards at international festivals including Cannes and Annecy. Skhizein was recently posted on YouTube.

Acme had previously produced Janet Perlman’s Hot Seat for the Responsibility Project. It was in Ron’s 2008 edition of the Animation Show of Shows along with Jeremy Clapin’s Shkizein.


Newsletter Editor: Karl Cohen

Contributors: Nancy Denney-Phelps and other friends of ASIFA

Cover illustration by Ricci Carrasquillo

Proofreader: Pete Davis

Mailing Crew: Tara Beyhm, Dot Janson, Denise McEvoy

Webmaster Joe “the Calif. Kid” Sikoryak

Special thank to Andre Farago and the Cartoon Art Museum for hosting our joint event in December and to the Exploratorium for their years of support including hosting our November event. Also to Tara Beyhm our VP, to our treasurer Karen Lithgow, to The G Man for se! nding out our e-mail updates, to Nancy Denney-Phelps for representing our chapter on the international ASIFA board, to Patricia Satjawatcharapjong who posts excerpts from our newsletter on the International ASIFA website –

ASIFA-SF is a chapter of: Association Internationale du Film d’Animation with almost 40 chapters around the world.

Our website and blog is:

Mail can be sent to:

Or to PO Box 225263, SF CA 94122


Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol : The Magic Behind the Making of the First Animated Christmas Special

A book signing and presentation with author Darrell Van Citters

Tuesday, December 8, from 7:30pm to 9pm
655 Mission St. (between New Montgomery and Third St.) - free, public invited

Join us for a special presentation about the creation of Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol, TV’s first animated Christmas special. Mr. Magoo and Charles Dickens probably seemed like an odd match in 1962, but people who saw it may recall that the unusual pairing resulted in bit of pure magic. With a sterling cast, whimsical animation and Broadway-caliber score all wrapped around Dickens’ timeless tale, Magoo became a fixture of the holiday season in the 1960s. Today the show is all but forgotten, but that may be about to change as Van Citters, through interviews with the surviving cast and animation team and exhaustive research, demonstrates why the show deserves a special place in the annals of an! imation and television history.

Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol is now the subject of a splendid new book by Darrell Van Citters. His text recalls the circuitous events that gave rise to the special. United Productions of America (UPA) had great success with its Magoo theatrical shorts both at the box office and in viewer polls. Magoo even won several Oscars in the 1950s, but UPA hadn’t had much luck in feature animation. Looking at television for new opportunities, producer Lee Orgel came up with the idea for a Magoo “Christmas Carol” and worked tirelessly to sell it to NBC and Timex, the eventual sponsor.

Orgel pulled together an excellent cast. The late Jim Backus was the voice of Magoo, and the supporting cast included Morey Amsterdam (Brady/James), Jack Cassidy (Bob Cratchit), Royal Dano (Marley’s Ghost) and Paul Frees (a half dozen characters). The director was Abe Levitow and Broadway veterans Jule Styne and Bob Merrill (who were simultaneously collaborating on Funny Girl) created the score and lyrics.

Van Citters, a nationally renowned animation director who has worked with Warner Bros. and Disney, and currently heads Glendale, Calif.-based Renegade Animation, delves into his subject with the discerning eye of an inside expert and the zeal of a die-hard fan. jHe is thoroughly convincing in making the case that Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol deserves a place on everyone’s holiday shopping list—along with copies of his wonderful new book.


Subject: [Oddball Events] "Close Encounters of the Weird Kind" Screens at Oddball Films next Saturday

Hello Space lovers:

Short of hitching a ride on the pay-as-you-go Russian Space Station this program Close Encounters of the Weird Kind, curated by Oddball's Jeremy Menzies will be the closest any of us get into outer space.
Join us for an evening of surreal spaced out fun.
We look forward to seeing you here!

Best regards,

Stephen Parr
Oddball Films
275 Capp Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone 415-558-8117

For Immediate Release

Event: Close Encounters of the Weird Kind, a collection of films from, on, and in outer space. This compilation of strange and curious films ranges from incredible celestial photography with trippy electronic music to the animated quirkiness of 1960s Croatian space animation. Films include: Spaceborne, Flash Gordon Chapter 1, A Visit From Outer Space, Space Angel #33, It Came From Outer Space, The Solar Family, The Origin of the Moon, and The Future Belongs to the Airman. Plus, a visit from William Shatner in Model Rocketry and a galaxy of space-age commercials and movie trailers!

Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco (Off Mission, between 17th and 18th, Mission and South Van Ness)

Date: Saturday, December 12th at 8:30PM
Admission: $10.00 RSVP (Limited seating) to or 415.558.8117.
Web: - Outer Spaced

Mock Moon Men, Celestial Sparks, Shatner's Toys,
Solar Families, Space Angels+Purple Death Rays

Close Encounters of the Weird Kind Screens at Oddball Films
On Saturday, December 12th Oddball Films guest curator Jeremy Menzies presents Close Encounters of the Weird Kind, a program of cosmic films at Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco. Close Encounters... unearths some super-space oddities inside the Oddball archives, exploring the fascination and fantasy of outer space and all its surreal incarnations. The screening begins at 8:30PM, Admission (limited seating by RSVP) is $10.00. For reservations please email or call 415.558.8117.

Far-Out Films Include: A battle of good and evil

Flash Gordon Chapter 1: The Purple Death
(1936, B&W, 20min.)- Got a hankerin' for some cosmic ass-kicking? Join our Universe saving hero, Flash Gordon in one of his earliest film incarnations. Based on the original comic strip by Alex Raymond this chapter is one in a series made in 1936. In this chapter, the evil Emperor Ming plagues the earth with a mysterious disease called the "purple death". Flash and his cronies have to find Ming's secret laboratory and try to stop his plan to destroy the Earth with the disease by finding the cure. Will they succeed or will they fall prey to Ming's minions? Starring: Larry (Buster) Crabbe, Carol Hughes, Charles Middleton, Anne Gwynne, and Frank Shannon and Directed by: Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor.

Alien invasions

It Came From Outer Space (1953, B&W, 12min)
Catch all the highlights of Jack Arnold's classic alien invasion film in this short excerpted version. A small desert town gets all stirred up when a mysterious flaming object falls from the sky. Soon, the town's residents aren't quite who they were before and we're left wondering, When will they be back? Based on a story by Ray Bradbury and starring: Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, Charles Drake, Joe Sawyer, Russell Johnson, Kathleen Hughes, and more!

Space Age Specialist

The Future Belongs to the Airman (1958, color, 12min)
The film that explains to you (the teenage boy on the verge of graduation) how you can be a part of the "Space Age" with The greatest peace-making force the world has ever known. Don't miss out on how you can advance, educate, and improve yourself by joining up in one of over 40 fields and 400 individual job descriptions with the US Air Force! Don't forget, you'll get a lifetime paycheck every month right from Uncle Sam, so get down to the recruiter's office and enter the future!

Who's on first?

Spaceborne (1977, color, 20min)
Take a trip through the cosmos through the eyes of NASA. This film floats through local and deep space with a visually stunning array of images gathered from a decade plus of space exploration and investigation. Footage from manned flights, telescopes, and observatories come together in this mind-blowing compilation set to futuristic electronic music. Leave the world behind and delve into the realm of galaxies, stars, and planets.

Star Team, Go!

Space Angel #33: The Gladiators (1964, B&W, 10min)
One episode from a short animated series drawn by Alex Toth from 1962-1964. Don't miss this stellar battle between our tireless hero, Space Angel and a futuristic Roman gladiator. Complete with Coliseum (located on some other, obscure planet, of course), screaming, blood-thirsty masses and laser shooting chariots. Utilizing a combination of traditional drawn animation and the Synchro-Vox lip synching technique; this is a rare treat from a short-lived series made during the height of the space age!

Crazy, Cosmic

A Visit From Space (1969, color, 12min)
An animated gem produced by Zagreb Films in Croatia, this film tells the tale of a little girl, some apples, and a strange visitor from beyond the stars. Cute and quirky, this cartoon has a bit more content beyond the simple kid's story. Using a rounded, colorful animation style, this film has the distinctive 1960s Eastern European look and feel.

Great balls of fire!

The Solar Family (1934, B&W, 12min)
Ever wonder how planet Earth came to orbit the sun? Or how our neighboring planets came into existence? Get it all from this pre-space travel educational short from 1934. Black and white animated planets, illustrations of the solar system, and voice over narration make this film a real testament to the times. Learn about our local system the way your grandmother did!

Shine on

Origin of the Moon (1969, color, 5min)
How many times have you looked up at our huge, beaming celestial companion and wondered how the moon came to be where and what it is? This short film gives us the low down on the formation of our solar system and the subsequent formation of our planet-esque pal. Excellent animated graphics of the solar system, moon craters, and wild comets with music and narration.

Space age boner

Plus! William Shatner launches the Enterprise in Model Rocketry, a nebulae of Tang commercials, mock moon men, and a trailer of Meteor from 1979 with Sean Connery and Natalie Wood!

Curator Biography

Jeremy Menzies is a San Francisco based artist and film curator working in 16mm film, photography, and printmaking. A graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, he has worked as a projectionist, curator, and archivist with the San Francisco Cinematheque, Canyon Cinema, The Filmmakers Cooperative, and Millennium Film Workshop in San Francisco and New York.

Upcoming Programs

Fri Dec 4 Polanski & The Eastern Europe Aesthetic Cul De Sac & More
Sat Dec 5 - Altered States: Surrealism, Ritual and Trance
Fri Dec 11- Weirdsville 9 More Oddities From The Archives
Sat Dec 12- Close Encounters of the Weird Kind
Fri Dec 18- Oddballs Greatest Hits Highlights From 6 Months of Programming
Sat Dec 19- Fetish Films #1: Scopophilia: The Sensual Dimensions of the Human Body Featuring filmmakers/curators Kerry Laitala and Stephen Parr With the Laitala's Film Flogger!
Sat Dec 26- Strange Sinema-More Oddities From the archives

About Oddball Films

Oddball films is the film component of Oddball Film+Video, a stock footage comp! any providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like Th e Summer of Love, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our films are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educationals, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between.

We're actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.

Karl Cohen

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