[NOTE: Posted partially unedited due to health problems]

Association International du Film d'Animation
(International Animated Film Association)

December 2012

The current issue includes several important articles including:




IS THE CELLULOID SKY FALLING? (new info on the demise of 35mm film)




WHAT INSPIRES US TO ANIMATE? PART 2 plus 3 obits, a review of our October program honoring filmmakers from the National Film Board of Canada, lists of the Oscar qualified shorts and features, an invite for you to submit what inspired you to animate and much more.


Compiled by Karl Cohen

In Part 2 we meet former Disney director Tom Sito who now teaches at USC, and Oscar winning independent Canadian animator David Fine who grew up in Canada, studied in England. Then three animators, whose films contain strong political or social content, talk about their inspirations. Finally we meet Signe Baumane whose independent films are remarkable personal statements about subjects rarely examined in animation.

Tom Sito has been a professional animator since 1975. The 32 animated features he contributed to include the classics Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, Shrek and Osmosis Jones. He's been called "one of the key players in the Disney animation revival". He is President Emeritus of the Hollywood Animation Guild, professor of animation at USC, and the author of four books.

He says, "I grew up in working class Brooklyn, a nerd who read a lot and never got picked for team sports. I was glued to the TV watching classic cartoons like Huckleberry Hound, The Flintstones, Beanie & Cecil and the all the WB, Fleischer oeuvre. I spent long hours copying comics from the Sunday newspapers and comic books. When I used up all the paper around, I drew on the inside of books and on tables, which upset my parents enough to keep me in art supplies."

"In 1970, I had the opportunity to attend a magnet High School in Manhattan, the High School of Art & Design (Public Education, YES!). Up until then I had thought it would be cool to be a comic strip artist like Al Kapp or the guy who drew Smokey Stover. But then my 11th grade teacher Mr. Bellin showed me how to animate. After I saw my first animation tested, that was it. I was hooked! I! had made something that came to life! A secret not many animators like to admit is that no matter how many years you've done it, it's still a kick to see your characters move."

At Art & Design, and later at SVA (School of Visual Arts) I learned that there was this community of artists who created this stuff. I learned who they were and how they made animation. My first jobs were painting cels, inbetweening, even polishing cels prior to camera, using alcohol, Q-tips and spit. I was fortunate that I began my career just as a number of great Golden Age Animators were ending theirs. They took me under their wing and taught me their tricks and technoques. Men like Shamus Culhane, Gil Miret, Art Babbitt, Ben Washam, Tissa David, Frank & Ollie, Chuck Jones."

They taught us their skills not just because they liked us, but because they wanted to know their skills were going to be passed on to future generations. That their discoveries would not die with them. I also learned a lot about teaching from Babbitt, Dick Williams and Harvey Kurtzman. So now when I teach, it's not just about earning a paycheck, but it's about paying all those great people back for the breaks they gave me. I hope I am doing them justice."

Bob & Margret

David Fine, working with Allison Snowden, is an Oscar winning independent animator (Oscar for Bob's Birthday [1994], Oscar nominations for George and Rosemary [1987] and Second Class Mail [1984] plus the pair have won numerous other honors). They contributed a segment to Marv Newland's erotic animation Pink Komkommer, (1991) and created the successful TV series, Bob and Margaret (1998-2001) as well as the kids' series, Ricky Sprocket (2008). They also developed Aardman's series Shaun the Sheep in 2007.

David says, "I didn't start by having a passion to draw. I never longed to sit at a light table flipping paper. My passion was film making and using whatever technique I could find to express ideas, stories or characters. That included live action, documentary and animation, including model, Plasticine, cut out and drawing. I loved to try my hand at anything that would work, but I felt intimidated by traditional animation, which seemed way out of my league. I think my first inspiration ever was Terry Gilliam's work in Monty Python. It was different and strange. I also remember being inspired by the very short clips that would be shown at the Oscars when the short animations were nominated. Remember, this was pre-Internet, so sometimes that was the only way to see some strange new film technique and it excited me and got me really interested. There is a world of animation out there beyond Disney and Warner Brothers (who I also love, but in a very different way)."

And then of course, there's the NFB. I grew up watching NFB films at school. Some truly inspired stuff and some dull as dishwater documentaries about loons, or some such thing, but the magic of the animation department, churning out unique, funny, inspired and different stuff, is what really got me going. When, at 17, I had the chance to work in Montreal in the National Film Board's animation department, my life was changed. I hung around animators working on iconic films. For me they were animation's superstars, and there they were working away in little cubicles along the hallway. This was the late seventies, so those cubicles had in them, amongst so many others, Caroline Leaf, Janet Perlman, Sheldon Cohen, John Weldon, Eugene Federenko and even Ryan Larkin was still wandering the halls. The studio was led by the wonderful Derek Lamb. It was a place of inspiration and it opened me up to all kinds of possibilities."

"One very important aspect of NFB films was that most of them were designed for adults rather than children. This was unique at the time, before prime time animation like The Simpsons. Seeing films designed for an adult audience was huge for me. Yeah, I know, Bugs Bunny was originally designed for an adult audience, but not the same thing. Soon after, I left to study film in the UK at the National Film and TV School. There, I was surrounded my many other young classmates trying to do the same thing as me, make interesting and well produced films in a unique environment which we feared we may never have again. Those classmates included Nick Park, Mark Baker, Tony Collingwood, Joan Ashworth and of course, Alison Snowden. Hmm, who should I decide to spend the rest of my life living and working with? Thanks to film school, I met my biggest inspiration, Alison Snowden and we have worked together since.

Animators with strong political or social content

While the artists mentioned so far have relished the joy and excitement of working with various materials to bring their images to life, when I interviewed Mark Fiore, who makes online animated political cartoons (above image) as he gets his ideas for his weekly syndicated works from whatever news articles anger him the most. In 2000, Mark taught himself Flash, found two customers and started to turn out Flash cartoons. Then the "dream job" he had always wanted was offered to him. The San Jose Mercury News hired him as their political cartoonist. Being on their staff was great until he discovered that his editor was under tremendous pressure to keep circulation and ad revenues up. Mark says, "It was awful." He lasted six months with the paper due to their restrictive editorial policy. Since leaving the paper in 2001, he has been syndicating his weekly animated cartoons to numerous websites run by newspapers and other organizations. His works are extremely well produced, with excellent voice work, music and animation. They have earned high praise including the Wall Street Journal calling him "the undisputed guru of the form." He has received the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and other honors. You can see all of his work at markfiore.com.

John Jota Leanos is another outspoken animator. He tells us "I was trained as a photographer and was practicing visual and public art for many years before the idea of doing animation even occurred to me. The inspiration to try animation came after doing a public art project that questioned the lionization of former NFL football star and fallen Army Ranger, Pat Tillman (www.leanos.net/tillmantext.htm). I received hundreds of hate mail, death threats and investigations into my Arizona State University classroom activities where I was teaching at the time by the Arizona Board of Regents. This poster gained much attention in the local news and on CNN. The silencing of my 'speech' (artwork) was really shocking and made me think of ways to still address critical and taboo issues of our culture such as death, war and politics through art in ways that could disarm the right wing haters, bloggers and culture police. I thought that animation, with cute and colorful characters accompanied by nice, foot-tapping music, could deliver edgy social commentary while seducing the viewer into a sort of inner dialogue about the heavy content in such a light and ! friendly format. So I created Los ABCs Que Vivan los Muertos! with animators Ivan Watcher and Sean Nash. This was such a fulfilling process and success (it went to Sundance '05 and is still playing in museums, online, iPads, etc.) that I haven't looked back since."

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O8yMimSvbo .

"I now consider myself an animator. I've created 5 films since, teach documentary animation at UC Santa Cruz (he is an Assistant Professor in Social Documentation) and am working on a new film about the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, an event some call the 'First American Revolution'."

Animation is rich for the documentary genre, especially for stories that have little or no documentary evidence (photos, documents, etc.). I am inspired by School House Rock! which taught me my conjunctions as a child! I like using animation and music as a pedagogical tool as well as a way to tell 'undocumented' stories, that is, real histories/stories that have fallen off the map of American consciousness."

John Jota Lea?os was awarded a USA fellowship grant in 2011, one of fifty $50,000 awards, given to outstanding performing, visual, media, and literary artists across the country for being "the most innovative and influential artists in their fields." In 2012 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for the creative arts, one of 181 artists, scientists, and scholars selected from a group of 3,000 applicants. He is using the grants to create his film about the Pueblo Revolt.

Sheila M. Sofian teaches animation at the University of Southern California and creates films that investigate social issues. She has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, among others. Her award-winning films have been exhibited internationally. She has a ! BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a MFA from Cal Arts.

She says, "What has inspired me to animate? I have received inspiration from films that have moved me such as Caroline Leaf's The Street (www.nfb.ca/film/The_Street/) and Flip Johnson's The Roar from Within. In fact, I think those two films made me want to become an animator. I found the experimental use of animation a powerful vehicle for storytelling and emotional resonance. Once I began making animated films I was inspired by the reaction of audiences to them. When you are able to communicate something new and encourage empathy or understanding to the audience it can be extremely satisfying."

"Now that I am working in the area of documentary animation my motivation has shifted to that of outrage and a desire to educate audiences. In order to work on a film for years it is necessary to be extremely passionate about the subject. I could not work on a film unless I felt very strongly about the subject matter. I love combining experimental techniques and simultaneously educating the viewer. My challenge is to find a balance between the two. If the animation is too 'beautiful' then it can distract from the documentary soundtrack. It is important to me that they support each other. I find this challenge gratifying and endless. It will ensure many years of continued experimentation and future films."

Alternate views of life

Signe Baumane is a remarkable talent who isn't shy about dealing with personal subject matter including sex, depression and suicide in a frank and honest way. She grew up in Latvia, went to college in Moscow and has lived in NYC for many years. She is a major figure in the NY animation world and is presently finishing her first feature, Rocks in My Pocket.

Signe wrote me, "Karl, I never intended to be an animator, I studied philosophy but didn't want to teach it after I graduated, which was what I was supposed to do. A friend suggested I go into animation. I have no idea why she thought of that. I thought it was better than teaching philosophy. I! started working on making a portfolio to show to people in the industry."

"Throughout my whole young life every time when I was reading, writing or studying I was distracted by my bodily needs - I wanted to eat, to pee, to have sex, so I would stop reading, writing and studying and went searching for food, toilet, sex."

"I always wondered how it would feel if I found an occupation that would make me forget my bodily needs. When I started working on the animated portfolio, everything outside my ideas and drawings ceased to exist. No need for food, toilet, sex. 'This is it,' I said to myself, 'Animation is the thing of my life."

There is a part of my brain that lights up on fire when I try to do a drawing of some idea or observation. I don't know why. The challenge is to keep that fire burning when working on a longer project, like a feature. I have found my secret ways to feed the fire."

Send it to us to share with ASIFA-SF readers in a future newsletter. karlcohen@earthlink.net

We have booked Oddball Films on Sunday Jan. 13 for our Annual Winter Party and Screening. The film can be an old or new work. Let Karl know by mid-December what you would like to show and it will be mentioned on the flyer. Hopefully you can be present to introduce the work. If not you can send us a DVD along with a brief account of that inspirational moment or event.

This should be a fun evening of networking, food, drink and your inspired films. I also plan to show a beautiful 16mm print of a film by Halas and Bachelor in honor of his being born 100 years ago and other surprises. KC

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS: THE CREATION OF A CLASSIC" IS ON DISPLAY UNTIL APRIL 16 AT THE DISNEY FAMILY MUSEUM The exhibit of 200 works associated with the creation of the film is the museum's first major temporary show. It was curated by Lella Smith, creative director of The Walt Disney Company's Animation Research Library.


SEE AN EXHIBIT OF "PARANORMAN" PUPPETS AND CONCEPT ART AT THE CARTOON ART MUSEUM closes Feb. 17, 2013. www.cartoonart.org and www.laika.com



Lucille was a delightful character actress who lived SF much of her life and commuted to LA to work. She started her voice career as the voice of Cinderella's wicked step-sister Anastasia in the Disney feature

Her next major credit was doing the voice of Crusader Rabbit. Crusader Rabbit was a 5 min. TV cartoon series made locally (1948-51) by Alex Anderson and J Ward. Crusader was the first more or less successful animated cartoon star. Alex went into advertising while J ended up producing a show in the late 1950s that was based on an unsold script idea by Alex about a French Canadian moose and a flying squirrel. It became the delightfully irreverent Rocky and Bullwinkle show.

Lucille's career continued first as the host of a local kids' birthday show on KRON (1950-'57). She later taught voice acting and did lots of voice work locally, but her major roles came from jobs doing voices in LA. She also appeared in a few features in minor roles.

Lucille's most famous role was Smurfette. She also was Ms. Bitters on Invader Zim and Yugoda in Avitar: The Last Airbender. Although not well known, she loved talking about working on the O. G. Readmore shows.

In the 1990's she spent a delightful evening telling ASIFA-SF members about her long career.

In 1999 Disney honored her at an event at Disneyland. She was presented a Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award. (Child? She was born in 1918 and recorded her part in Cinderella about 1948. She never talked about her age.) ASIFA-Hollywood gave her a Winsor McCay award at their 28th Annual Annie Awards. Locally she was honored by a professional radio and TV association. It was a pleasure knowing her. My wife and I joined her several times! for delightful evenings often over Italian food in Noe Valley.

SALLY CRUIKSHANK'S SCREENING AT THE MOMA IN NY RESULTED IN EXCELLENT PRESS INCLUDING A LONG PUBLISHED INTERVIEW were animated when she lived in the Bay Area. Her work is posted on the Internet and read about her remarkable work (the author compares it to Winsor McCay) at http://pangolinblues.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/gertie-and-ducky-an-interview-with-sally-cruikshank/ A second article by noted film critic J. Hoberman is posted at: Sally's Quasi at the Quackadero (it is listed in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry) and Make Me Psychic


BRIAN EGAN'S "ANIMALS OF WAR" It was commissioned by the History Channel and features his nice, sweet line drawings and a light, humorous soundtrack.

Since graduating a little over a year ago from the animation program at SF State, Brian has also worked on shorts for Cartoon Network's show based on Mad magazine.


WHAT WILL BECOME OF ILM AFTER DISNEY TAKES CONTROL OF GEORGE LUCAS' EMPIRE? When George Lucas, who is 68, announced he is selling his empire to Disney, the news was greeted with excitement. Lucas wants to devote more time to philanthropic causes and personal projects. He is giving Disney plans for the next three Star Wars films and for several other projects. Lucas, who was believed to be worth about $3.3 billion before the sale (Forbes Magazine, Sept. 2012), will receive about $4.05 billion in stocks and cash. He says that his properties will be carefully managed by Disney well into the future.

In 2010, Lucas signed The Giving Pledge, started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to get America's wealthiest individuals and families "to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice." At that time Lucas said, "I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race. We have to plan for our collective future, and the first step begins with the social, emotional and intellectual tools we provide ! to our children." In 2006 he gave $175 million to his alma mater, the University of Southern California.

The sale means Disney will own the existing films made by Lucas, his companies, and other properties. George will continue to own Skywalker Ranch and other physical properties in Marin County, Calif. Why?

I can imagine Big Rock Ranch becoming the home Lucas' think tank as it is a quiet retreat from the world. Deer and other wild animals live there, a stream flows between the buildings and into a lovely pond. The views from the buildings are of nature, not manmade structures.

The Skywalker Ranch is a media factory nestled in a private valley. Some buildings have specific film related functions (sound recording facilities, screening rooms, etc.). It is reasonable to assume it will continue house Skywalker Sound and other post-production facilities for both Disney and non-Disney productions.

The big question is not what Lucas plans to do, but what the Disney Corporation will eventually do with his former businesses. Will they milk the former Lucas properties for all they are worth? Their recent history shows they are quite good at cutting less profitable businesses (ImageMovers Digital, their French animation studio, etc.). Will Disney eventually make cuts at ILM?

More Star Wars films mean that the billion dollar franchise will prosper; but will another animated feature like Rango ever be created by ILM? (It was not funded by Lucas, it was work for hire.) Will either ILM or Pixar ever venture out again into unchartered directions and create something as unique as The Incredibles?

Disney seems to be happy producing more of what they think their target audiences wants. Right now sequels and profiting from franchise agreements and theme park attractions are in. Pixar has been gearing up to produce more than one film a year. With the success of Brave, Pixar's most traditional film to date, will Disney ask Pixar to play it safe and give them more films like that? It may win an Oscar ! or two, but they are capable of doing so much more than that. I can also imagine ILM being asked eventually to just focus on special effects for action adventure Disney productions and perhaps quantity and profit will become more important than quality.

I hope my concerns are unwarranted.

ASIFA-SF CELBRATED INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION DAY WITH TWO EXCEPTIONAL EVENTS For the past 13 years ASIFA-SF has presented Ron Diamond's Animation Show of Shows programs that feature prize winning shorts from around the world. This year ASIFA-SF presented not only the 14th edition of Ron's show at Dolby's state-of-the-art theatre with two of the animators present. This year we also presented a wonderful evening with two remarkable stars of the National Film Board of Canada, Regina Pessoa and Michelle Lemieux present. The NFB event was held at the Walt Disney Family Museum in their handsome theatre in the Presidio and the three nights later at San Jose State University for students and ASIFA-SF members living in the South Bay.

Michelle Lemieux

Michelle Lemieux, who is a successful Canadian illustrator, showed Here and the Great Elsewhere (2012) a surreal gem she made on the Alexeieff-Parker pinscreen. The film is a wonderful abstract meditation on many things, but it is up to you to decide what they might be. The NFB website mentions the film is possibly about the man's state of being, the world in which he lives, the evolution of life, atomic particles that constitute matter, the mystery of memory and the enigma of death. Don't let the concepts intimidate you, just seek out the film when it eventually is posted on the Internet or is on a DVD and go with the flow. It is an amazing mental trip/experience.

The pinscreen is a unique instrument invented around 1930 by Alexander Alexeieff, a Russian-born French engraver and filmmaker. It creates black and white images with thousands of tiny dots and allows for the subtle control of the gray scale. In theory the look is similar to both newspaper photos made with thousands of dots and the mezzotint technique once used to create fine art prints. How Alexeieff and his wife Clair Parker created their amazing masterpieces A Night on Bald Mountain, 1933 (vimeo.com/41190023) and The Nose, 1963 (www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhtKbbAKFaU) is too complex to explain. A glimpse at how the technique works is in a six-minute short on how the film was created: www.nfb.ca/film/here_great_elsewhere_making_of/ (Jacques Drouin's Mindscape 1976 at http://vimeo.com/29434166 is another great pinscreen film.)

After the film was shown Michelle presented a power point talk on the pinscreen and showed a small working pinscreen. The audience was amazed to see how she achieved her exquisite images. According to her Alexeieff only built 12 pinscreens including the one commissioned by the NFB and not all of them still work or exist.

Discover the work of Regina Pessoa

While seeing Michelle's new film, hearing her talk about it and seeing an actual pinscreen would have been enough to say it was a wonderful event, there was much more in store. Regina Pessoa from Portugal presented her three highly acclaimed films The Night (A Noite, 1999), Tragic Story with a Happy Ending (História Trágica com Final Feliz, 2005) and Kali the Little Vampire (2012).

The three works deal with problems faced by young females who don't fit in to the local community. In an interview published online she says "I lived in a village until I was 17 and my family was not very well accepted in the village. My mother was schizophrenic. She looked just like everyone else, but she was different. So I know how it feels to be different to a small community and I think this is why this film (Kali) was so important to me." In another interview she said that Kali, narrated by Christopher Plummer as Kali as an old man, is "remembering the day he finally made peace with himself. It is a reminder that there is a place for every one of us under the sun, even for the creatures of the night."

Growing up in a rural village that didn't have TV probably influenced her ability to create unusual original scripts. She talks about spending a lot of time reading and listening to her elders tells stories. She also drew on the doors and walls of her grandmother's house using coal.

Regina's films have been extremely well received at festivals. The Night won several festival prizes while Tragic Story with a Happy Ending won the Grand Prix at Annecy along with a TV contract and some of the funds to make Kali the Little Vampire. It also won lots of prizes ! at other festivals. One website claims Tragic Story is the most awarded Portuguese film in history, but Kali is catching up as it has already won the top prize at Hiroshima and other major awards. The NFB of Canada is proud that they co-produced all three of her films.

Regina's career in animation began in 1992 when she took an animation workshop and started working in an animation studio while majoring in painting in college. She graduated in 1998. She started The Night in a workshop at Annecy in 1995 and finished it in 1999.

Her works' unique look has been called animated engravings; however, while parts of her films may look like they were engraved, her actual techniques have little to do with the methods used to create fine art prints or paper money. For The Night she drew and scratched the backgrounds of each shot on large flat "plates" of plaster. Almost 50 plaster plates were used. At the Disney Museum she told us by painting over! and over on the plaster surface, by the end of each scene the plaster was almost black from use. The look of the lines scratched into the surface and then filled with ink is why people say she was doing animated engravings.

For her next film she created the same general look, but she was drawing her work in ink on heavy sheets of paper. For her most recent films she created a similar look using a computer and drawing tablet.

You can see A Tragic Story with a Happy Ending on the Internet at


Two more surprises were shown

NFB producer Julie Roy was present to answer question about working at the National Film Board's French division and to introduce two other films she produced, Edmond Was a Donkey by French illustrator Franck Dion and Patrick Bouchard's striking stop-motion film, Bydlo.

Edmond Was a Donkey (2012) is a fascinating and unusual tale of a small quiet man that doesn't fit in where he works. Although others don't understand him, he discovers himself when a co-worker makes a hat made of newspaper that has donkey-like ears. The film deals with the individual in a world of conformist in a unique manner. The 2D computer generated film done in black, white and grays, has won several festival awards including a Special Jury Prize at Annecy. A trailer and at least one clip are on the Internet.

The word "bydlo" means cattle in Polish and the film depicts the enormous struggle of an ox and his human master in a dark barren land of mud. Although you don't know why there is a struggle or where or when it takes place, the action and soundtrack turn it into a powerful emotional event. It is animated with stop-motion clay puppets and the dramatic music is "Bydlo," the fourth movement of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. See three behind-the-scenes films at


(see "Writers Wanted" notice on back page

Local Events

Thurs. Dec. 6, 7 PM and Sat. Dec. 15, 11 AM, PIXAR'S "BRAVE" The free awards screenings are at the Variety Screening Room, 582 Market St. first floor of Hobart Building suite 101 RSVP DisneyAwardsOffice@disney.com or online at WaltDisneyStudiosAwards.com

Tues. Dec. 11, 7 PM, DreamWorks' "RISE OF THE GUARDIANS" at ILM's Premiere Theater, 1 Letterman Dr., SF, RSVP (800) 905-6918 or online at www.dwaawards.com

Friday Dec. 14, 7 PM, AWARDS SCREENING OF "MADAGASCAR 3, EUROPE'S MOST WANTED" at the Zaentz Media Center, A600 10th St., Berkeley, RSVP (800) 905-6918 or online at www.dwaawards.com

Wed. Dec. 5, free admission all day to THE WALT DISNEY FAMILY MUSEUM in honor of Walt's birthday. They will have extended museum hours (10 AM -- 8 PM), special events and screenings all day long. See their first major special exhibition, Snow White: The Creation of a Classic.

National and International News

21 FILMS HAVE BEEN ENTERED INTO THE ACADEMY'S BEST ANIMATED FEATURE RACE The films are Adventures in Zambezia, Brave, Delhi Safari, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, Frankenweenie, From Up on Poppy Hill, Hey Krishna, Hotel Transylvania, Ice Age Continental Drift, A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, The Mystical Laws, The Painting, ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, The Rabbi's Cat, Rise of the Guardians, Secret of the Wings, Walter & Tandoori's Christmas, Wreck-It Ralph and Zarafa. While 21 films have been submitted, several of them have yet to meet the Academy's rule that they play in LA for a paying audience for a minimum length of time (about a week). The Academy will release the names of the nominated films on January 10 and the ceremony will be held February 24.

ACADEMY MEMBERS HAVE SELECTED THE TEN ANIMATED SHORTS THAT WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR OSCAR NOMINATIONS The ten films are Adam and Dog, Minkyu Lee, director; Combustible, Katsuhiro Otomo, director; Dripped, L?o Verrier, director; The Eagleman Stag, Mikey Please, director (Royal College
of Art, UK); The Fall of the House of Usher, Raul Garcia, director; Fresh Guacamole, PES, director; Head over Heels, Timothy Reckart, director; Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare," David Silverman, director (Gracie Films); Paperman, John Kahrs, director (Disney Animation Studios) and Tram, Michaela Pavltov, director.

MICHAEL EISNER IS GETTING BACK INTO THE FILM BIZ Eisner left Disney as their CEO in 2005. Universal has announced they will release features Eisner plans to produces. No films were named, but he has hired PES to write and direct a film based on a property Eisner owns, the Garbage Pail Kids. Yes, those ugly bubble gum cards that were loved by kids in the 1980s.

WARNER BROS. MAY PRODUCE A NEW LIVE ACTION VERSION OF "PINOCCHIO" Jane Goldman, a British screenwriter, is in negotiations to work on the script and there is talk about Tim Burton directing and Robert Downey Jr. playing Geppetto.

EFFREY KATZENBERG TALKS ABOUT THE VALUE OF OSCAR AND THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY At an "Oscar Roundtable" six top studio executives discussed some of the perks and pitfalls of Hollywood power (Hollywood Reporter, Nov. 1, online edition). Among the things Jeffrey said were, "When I came to Holly-Hollywood, I was 23 years old and from New York. The dream, as a young kid starting out in! this business, is to own a house in Malibu Beach and win an Academy Award. (Laughter) One was the fantasy of, you know, Beach Blanket Bingo or whatever, the good life. That was the representation of what Charlie Bluhdorn [the late former Paramount owner] used to call the 'Bank of America award.' And the other side of it was the achievement of something great in the eyes of your peers. And the Academy Awards were then and are today, irrespective of anything else in terms of what they are to the outside world, for our community. They are the pinnacles of success."

When the moderator said, "There are enormous changes occurring in the business. What will it look like in 10 years?" Katzenberg responded, "I think that 10 years from now, almost everything changes. All the stakeholders are going to be rearranged. Movies are only growing in their popularity, and I think that the power of this is going to more than just transform the consumption of movies; it's going to revolutionize them. Today, about 100 million people will see a movie and pay $10 on a blended basis. Ten years from now, a billion people will pay $1.50. Some people will watch it for 65 cents on this [holds up cell phone], some will watch it for $2 on a TV screen, some will go to state-of-the-art theaters where you'll have a meal and a great experience there. They'll pay $50, but all changes. Now I don't know if that's 10 years or 15 years, but it's coming."

He was then asked, "Does that mean fewer people will go to an actual movie theater?" He said, "Just the opposite. It's like sports. Sports have never been more popular than they are today. You go back 30 years ago, and if you lived in Los Angeles and you wanted to see the Lakers, you actually had to go to a Lakers game because they would black it out on television. And so in the same way that sports have been completely transformed and now is very broad, highly popularized and you can experience it on so many different levels and price points, that's what's going to happen to us."

IS THE CELLULOID SKY FALLING? Michael Karagosian, founder of MKPE Consulting, told the Hollywood Reporter at the annual Showeast 2012 theater owners' conference in Florida that we could possibly see the end the distribution of new features on celluloid stock by the end! of next year. He believes the decision might not be made by the studios, but could result from a court order over the future of Kodak as they are going through chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. He notes Fuji, Kodak's competitor, has taken their last print orders and is going to end production of 35mm release prints in March. "Without print stock, nobody is going to make a film print." (While Kodak and Fuji have dominated the film stock business in the past, Agfa and a few other companies still make 35mm film stock so Karagosian may be an alarmist.)

Although Karagosian's reason why distribution of movies might end was based on legal problems, John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners said at Showest in 2011 in his keynote address, long before Kodak had announced they were seeking chapter 11 protection, that domestic distribution of movies on celluloid could cease before the end of 2013 in the US. He was impressed with how quickly theatre owners were converting to digital.

On the other hand there are solid reasons to believe film will be around for a few more years. Deluxe and Technicolor announced earlier this year that they have a three year agreement to work together while they scale back their film release print businesses. Technicolor is sending their 35mm release print orders to Deluxe's film labs in Hollywood and Toronto for printing and processing. Technicolor has closed their 35mm labs in North Hollywood and in Canada. Their 65 and 70mm print business will move to Technicolor's Glendale facility. Deluxe will cease 35mm/16mm negative processing services at both of its facilities in the London area. Deluxe will provide 35mm bulk release printing at its Denham, England and at other European facilities. Technicolor will continue to run their lab in Thailand. At the time of the Technicolor -- Deluxe agreement some film executive were saying that new film prints might be made for at least another five years in North America, and even longer in Europe.

In September Kodak asked a bankruptcy court to allow them to sign new contracts with major film studios that would entitle the company to obtain higher prices for their film and ensure that much of the movie industry continues to use its product through 2015. The current estimates about theatre conversions are that about half of the screens in the US are digital, about 25 or 30% in Europe and fewer in South and Central America.

WHY THE WORLD STILL NEEDS 35MM FILM Even though all theatres may become digital studios will probably continue use film to store archival masters of their valuable prints. There exists a "digital dilemma," the dark side of the digital industry. There is still no safe, reliable long term digital way to store digital information. While 100 year old b/w movies on film remain good looking in archives, our valuable digital productions can decay if studios don't make digital backup copies frequently. Yes, the work could vanish.

The best storage material remains film, so Kodak recently released Color Asset Protection Film 2332. It offers "more than a century of dye stability when stored in recommended environments." Kodak is also bringing out a black-and-white color separation film to allow customers create b/w storage copies of color films that can be converted back into color prints. It is like the IB Technicolor process, once the state of the art process that offered exceptional colors and print longevity. Unfortunately IB Tech was expensive so the process was discontinued decades ago. While old IB Tech prints still look great, colors movies made using other film stocks have in many cases faded or turned red. (I have some of each in my 16mm film collection and it is sad to project an old print that looked great when you last projected it, to discover one or several colors have decayed.) Kodachrome color also holds up, but duplicating it resulted in print contrast problems.

The digital dilemma is a recent unresolved problem. The first digital releases date from 1999 (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Tarzan and An Ideal Husband). There are obvious economic savings for film producers to switch to digital distribution in the short run, but studios have also discovered the hidden problems of digital decay.

FRESHMAN ANIMATION STUDENTS AT THE JILIN INSTITUTE IN CHINA MUST WEAR THE REQUIRED UNIFORM The person who sent me the image says, "Every freshman animation student is required to undergo this uniformed disciplinary training."

Puzzled by this, I asked another person who had visited the school and was told China expects to train a million animation workers for their industry, not creative artists. She said, "I also saw all of those animation students marching in formation. If they don't make a career in animation they always have the military." Later a friend in China wrote that every student upon entering college has to accept a month of military training.

The statue in the foreground is a character from the first feature the school is producing. What will China produce with a million workers? (There are about 3,000 members of the animation guild in LA.)

AN UNAUTHORIZED FEATURE LEGNTH DOC. ON RICHARD WILLIAMS PREMIERED IN NYC Persistence of Vision by Kevin Schrek covers both his long career and his never completed-as-envisioned feature, The Thief and the Cobbler. Richard had nothing to do with the production, but it does include old TV footage of him. One person wrote me, "It's quite good. It could use more interviews (nobody who worked on Raggedy Ann was interviewed so it was skipped over entirely), but it does a good job of telling the story of the Thief and Richard Williams' studio in general. The audience loved it. At that screening I spoke to John Dilworth, Bill Plympton and Amid Amidi among others." See the trailer at vimeo.com/38413085 and kevinschreck.com/

As for Richard, he now lives in Bristol UK and has been spotted hanging out at Aardman. I understand he is close to finishing a second animated short and there is a chance we will see both of them eventually.

RUN WRAKE, WHO IS BEST KNOWN FOR "RABBIT," PASSED AWAY He was only 47. Cancer is to blame. He was a brilliant British artist who created amazing posters, music videos, shorts, etc. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in 1990 with a Masters in Animation. His thesis film Anyway can be seen on the Internet. His most recent work Down with the Dawn was shown in a retrospective of his work at Ottawa 2012. His well organized website, runwrake.com, is full of clips from his work. Rabbit can be seen on YouTube, Atom Films.com and on other sites. The Control Master can be seen at veer.com, and probably on other sites. Some of Run's commercial work can be seen at bermudashorts.com. If you want better resolution images on DVD he sells one on his website. Rabbit is also in The Animation Show Volume 3, in Best in European Short Film from Cinema 16).and on Best of 2006 British Animation Awards (disc #6 in this outstanding collection that includes lots of other exceptional works).

RIP DAVE BORTHWICK Dave Borthwick, who died Oct. 27 from complications from pneumonia, was one of the Bolex Brothers. He co-founded the company in Bristol, England with Alex Riddeth and their best-known film is The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb (1993). It is a delightfully weird, surreal 61-minute live-action and stop-motion animated feature about a miniature boy who is kidnapped by a genetic lab. Dave and Alex later co-directed the CG-animated feature Sprung! The Magic Roundabout (2005), which was based on the popular French stop-motion TV series Magic Roundabout. When it was loosely translated into English, preschoolers were subverted into hearing about trippy magic mushrooms. The drug references were not in the French show.

Among Dave's other credits are his being a light show artist in the 1970s with First Light Lightshow and the shorts Valhalla (1986), The Saint Inspector (1986), Keep in a Dry Place and Away from Children (1998) and Little Dark Poet (1999). The Bolex Brothers also produced animated spots for Coca Cola's Fanta, LEGO, Weetabix, Carlsberg, Nestea and Budweiser.

Borthwick's final, unfinished project was Grass Roots, a stop-motion adaptation of Gilbert Shelton's underground comix The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. A trailer was released on their official website Celluloid Dreams. The film is still in pre-production as the producers haven't raised the necessary budget. One note on the Internet said they were working on adapting the story into a stage-musical.



WILL THEIR BE MOSLIM RIOTS OVER A "BLASPHEMOUS" PART-ANIMATED FEATURE CALLED "THE SHEIK AND I" Independent filmmaker Caveh Zahedi (I Am A Sex Addict) was commissioned by a Middle Eastern Biennial to make a film on the theme of "art as a subversive act," but he went wild creating The Sheik And I. Told that he could do whatever he wanted except poke fun at the Sheik, who rules the country and finances the Biennial, Zahedi decides to do just that. His court jester antics failed to amuse and Zahedi's film was banned for blasphemy. He is threatened ! with arrest and fatwa. After seeing the trailer you will probably not want to see the film if it plays locally. Variety and a second review, that you can find online, really disliked it. http://thesheikandi.com/

IN RELATED NEWS: An Egyptian court has sentenced the seven radical Coptic Christian creators of the anti-Muslim film "Innocence of Muslims" to death in absentia. Mark Bassely Youseff, who moved from Egypt to the US in 1986 and created riots across the Middle East in September, turns out to be a former meth supply dealer and he was convicted of bank fraud. He and his associates have been convicted for "insulting the Islamic religion." Youseff ! recently gave the NY Times a long and disturbing interview from jail.


SOME FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES ARE IN FINANCIAL TROUBLE A series of business articles report campuses are being closed across the US as quarterly profits head south. Career Education Corporation will close 23 of their 90 schools (in Calif. they run the Calif. Culinary Academy in SF, Brooks Institutes in Santa Barbara and Ventura and two Le Cordon Bleu campuses in LA). They haven't announced which campuses will close.

The Univ. of Phoenix, the nation's biggest chain, will close 115 campuses and "satellite locations." The Huffington Post informs us the chain is Google's biggest advertiser and that they spend about $170,000 a day for ads on Google!

Kaplan, owned by the Washington Post Co, will close nine campuses. Corinthian Colleges, Inc. will close three of their Everest College locations and sell four others. While none of the above corporations run animation programs, the closures suggest most or all of the for-profit schools in the nation are seeing declining enrollments.

Even though George Romney praised for-profit schools as providing great educations, especially ones that gave him money, a Yahoo news article earlier this year suggested that was not the case. In "Most Calif. for-profit colleges lose state grants" the writer explained that 137 out of 170 for-profit schools in the state were no longer eligible to get CAL Grants for their students and that the grants that will be awarded will be smaller than the ones given for the 2011 -- '12 school year. Several schools with animation programs were on the list of schools affected. They either had low graduation rates or high rates of former students defaulting on loans.

Now that the election is over and there is no fear of Romney undoing laws regulating the for-profit schools, we may see state and federal governments doing more to end the abuses of schools run as for-profit business.

EVANGELION 3" HAS BIGGEST OPENING TICKET SALES IN JAPAN THIS YEAR The Hollywood Reporter says "Evangelion Shin Gekijoban Q aka Eva Q looks set to easily outperform previous installments at the box office, having racked up a quarter of Evangelion 2's final total." The series is based on an extremely popular TV program from the 1990s and Evangelion 2 was one of Japan's top five grossing films of last year. Part 2 opened in the US so Anime fans can expect to see part 3 here. Its distributor Eleven Arts also releases Japanese anime in the U.S., but they complain that illegal downloading of their films has hit the sector hard. Fans often make their own subtitled versions and upload them onto file-sharing sites.

DISNEY QUARTERLY REPORT LOOKS OK It says their income rose 11 percent to $2.3 billion, with growth in four of the five segments of their business. The losing segment was studio entertainment which went down 32 percent to $80 million. While The Avengers made money during the quarter, Frankenweenie didn't and Brave didn't quite match the income Cars 2 took in last year. Per-share earnings were 68 cents, about what Wall Street expected.

NANCY PHELPS, WHO IS OUR CHAPTER'S REPRESENETATIVE ON THE INTERNATIONAL ASIFA BOARD, IS BECOMING A SUCCESFUL VOICE ARTIST IN BELGIUM It turns out producers like her voice and she has something rare in Belgium. She is one of the few voice talents with an American accent.


Some ASIFA-SF programs are annual events like our ANNUAL PARTIES in January and in the summer; Ron Diamond's OSCAR NOIMINATED SHORTS in February (with special guests) and his ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS in the fall (with guests), CAREERS IN ANIMATION in March and our SPRING ANIMATI! ON FESTIVAL (competition). Others are unique screenings on 16mm including another rare historic TOURNEE OF ANIMATION show and a night of CANADIAN HUMOR. We are also planning to show EROTIC ANIMATION BY WOMEN ANIMATORS. Some events will be in the new Exploratorium that opens this spring on Pier 15-17.

In the newsletter expect festival reports by Nancy Denney-Phelps from around the world. She has been busy traveling, but winter has arrived in Belgium so she writes us, "I am currently working on an article about the brand new European Student Festival in Serbia. That ! will be followed with articles on festivals in Lille; Xiamen (China); and KLIK in Amsterdam. I've much writing to do!"


This is your newsletter and to make it more personal it might be interesting to follow up our series of What Inspires Us to Animate? with articles on other themes - any suggestions? Contact karlcohen@earthlink.net

Newsletter Editor: Karl Cohen
Contributors include Nancy Phelps, Gene Deitch and other friends of ASIFA-SF
Cover illustration by Ricci Carrasquillo
Proofreader: Sarah Chin
Mailing Crew: Dot Janson, Shirley Smith, Dan Steves and Denise McEvoy
Webmaster Joe Sikoryak
Special thank to BRon Diamond and Dolby Labs for our November event. It was a remarkable program! Thanks also to The G Man who sends out our e-mail updates, to Nancy Denney-Phelps for representing our chapter on the international ASIFA board to Dan Steves who keeps our mailing list and to our treasurer Karen Lithgow.
ASIFA-SF is a chapter of: Association Internationale du Film d'Animation with almost 40 chapters around the world. Local membership is $26 a year.
Our website and blog is: www.asifa-sf.org
Mail can be sent to: karlcohen@earthlink.net
or to PO Box 225263, SF CA 94122

F ANYBODY WANTS TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE PAPER EDITION IT IS $26 A YEAR. THE CURRENT ISSUE HAS 24 IMAGES IN IT ALONG WITH THE TEXT IN THIS EMAIL VERSION. FOR ONLY $42 ($5 LESS THAN BEFORE) YOU CAN SUPPORT BOTH OUR CHAPTER AND THE INTERNATIONAL The international will send you two magazines in 2013, runs their website, children's workshops, works with festivals, supports International Animation Day worldwide, etc. JOIN TODAY