[NOTE: Posted partially unedited due to health problems ~ Curtis]

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

February 2013

IN THIS ISSUE YOU WILL FIND A SERIOUS ARTICLE ABOUT UNPAID STUDENT INTERNSHIPS -- WHEN ARE THEY AN ASSET AND WHEN ARE THEY A RIPOFF? By KC It includes the 6 rules the US govt. uses to determine if the person is getting the training that fits into the legal definition of an unpaid intern or if the unpaid person is being exploited.

Plus there is a link to an IMPRESSIVE TECHNIQUE USING SEQUENCES OF THICK PAPER CUTOUTS, plenty of awards news, local news. national news, an article about a festival in France, news of our members only event and much more.

CHUCK JONES: DRAWING ON IMAGINATION 100 YEARS OF AN ANIMATED ARTIST" OPENS FEB. 9 AT THE CARTOON ART MUSEUM FEBRUARY 9 The exhibition includes 100 works of art from the late 1930s through the late 1990s. It runs through May 5 and the reception is Saturday, March 23.

MICHAEL LANGAN DID A SECRET ANIMATION PROJECT THAT WILL BE SEEN BY MILLIONS ON THE SUPER BOWL! I couldn't write about why he was so excited last year, but now I can tell you his work will be featured during this year's Super Bowl television event. Watch for a replacement animation commercial for a major soda brand directly before the halftime show!

BEN RIDGWAY'S "CELLULAR CIRCUITRY" It has been selected as a Director's Choice for the 32nd Annual Black Maria Film Festival tour. This is a well organized nationwide traveling event that will be shown at dozens of colleges, museums and cultural centers throughout 2013. Black Maria was the name of Edison's first film studio.



ANIMATION MENTOR IS NOW OFFERING LOWER TUITION AND THE EXACT SKILLSET THAT STUDIOS SEEK USING THE AMP STUDIO PRODUCTION PIPELINE Animation Mentor has restructured their animation program so students will train on a professional production pipeline similar to those used by studios worldwide. The Amp system is the first fully distributed studio production pipeline. It integrates vfx coursework to address industry needs. They have reduced tuition costs and shortened program lengths (formerly six classes, now four) to provide students with better access and options. They have simplified their grading system, and have new loan options and monthly payment plans. For more information, please contact Micha Hershman, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at 510-450-7220 or visit www.animationmentor.com.

DAN McHALE'S NEW SHORT "RGB" CAN BE SEEN ON CARTOON BREW It was shown at our Jan. screening. The Cartoon Brew page includes a link to Dan's Skip this Film 2012.


David Chai's A Knock on my Door

THREE FILMS FROM SAN JOSE STATE, "TULE LAKE," "A KNOCK ON MY DOOR" AND "COUCH AND POTATOES," ARE WINNING FESTIVAL AWARDS Tule Lake won two major prizes at the Creative Awards in San Jose. The short by Michelle Ikemoto and her classmates won both the Best Film under 30 minutes and Best Student Film awards. Tule Lake is a tribute to the director's late grandmother and the risks she took to preserve normalcy for her family during their exile in the Tule Lake internment camp during World War II. The awards were sponsored by a non-profit, public TV station in San Jose. Their mission is to inspire, educate and connect local communities, using media to foster civic engagement. The ceremony was held on Jan. 5, 2013 at San Jose's historic California Theater.

Tule Lake has also been nominated for Best Student film in ASIFA-Hollywood's Annie Awards and it won First Place in Animation and tied for Best in Show in the Calif. State University's Media Arts Festival in November 2012. http://tulelakeproject.blogspot.com/

At the New York Society of Illustrators 55th Annual Exhibition Associate Professor David Chai and his production team (current students and alumni from San Jose State's animation and illustration program) won the Gold Medal in the Moving Image category for their animated short A Knock on My Door. The film documents the life of David Chai's father, Hi Dong Chai, a Professor Emeritus from SJSU's Electrical Engineering department. The awards! ceremony was held on January 4th in NY. The Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibition is open to artists worldwide, and each year it receives thousands of entries. http://www.societyillustrators.org

At the Asians On Film Festival Couch & Potatoes, a stop-motion film produced and directed by Chris Lam and Eunsoo Jeong, won First Prize in the animation category and A Knock On My Door, by David Chai and friends won an Honorable Mention. The festival will be presented to the public Feb. 15-17, 2013 at J.E.T. Studios in North Hollywood.

GEORGE LUCAS IS ENGAGED TO DREAMWORKS ANIMATION CHAIRMAN MELLODY HOBSON She also heads the Chicago-based investment management firm Ariel Investments and is chairman of Ariel Mutual Funds. Ariel is one of the largest African-American-owned money management and mutual fund companies in the U.S. The Hollywood Reporter says, "The duo has been romantically linked since 2006" and that George is 68 and Melody is 43.

HEAR KARL COHEN AND MARTHA GORZYCKI DISCUSS "THE RABBI'S CAT" AND THE OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATION The 2 hour discussion and music show on Radio Valencia was hosted by Mara Math. http://radiovalencia.fm/podcasts/?show=de! pth%20perception


Sat. Feb. 2, ASIFA-HOLLYWOOD'S ANNIE AWARDS WILL BE STREAMED LIVE The award ceremony, animation's most prestigious event in the US, begins at 7 PM. http://annieawards.org

Sunday, Feb. 10 at 5 pm and Wed. Feb. 13 at 7:15 pm at the Roxie in SF The 15th Annual SF Indie Fest. will screen AN ANIMATED WORLD, 89 min. It includes Here To Fall, UK; Shave I! t, Argentina; Retrocognition, USA; Foxed, Canada; Silenziosa-Mente, Italy; The Missing Key, Australia; Libidinus, UK/Spain and The Hopper, 19m, Denmark. I've seen four of the shorts and three are quite surreal and fascinating. The forth seems like a mundane TV show with strange dialogue. The figures seem to be created by cutting up different photos of the same face and then pasting mismatched parts together.

Fri. Feb. 15 ASIFA-SF PRESENTS THE FIVE OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORTS WITH SEVERAL OF THE ANIMATORS IN PER! SON This free event is for our members + 1 guest in the lovely Walt Disney Family Museum theatre. You must have a confirmed RSVP to attend. See flyer for details.

Thurs. Feb. 21, DONALD CRAFTON LECTURE ON SILENT ANIMATION He will be talking at the UC Berkeley Conference on Silent Cinema (time and place TBA). Crafton teaches at the Univ. of Notre Dame and is the author of Before Mickey and Shadow of a Mouse. The conference runs from Feb. 21 -- 23 and is apparently free and open to the public.


(510) 642-1415 He will also give a talk at the Disney Family Museum! in April.

Sunday, Feb. 24, The OSCARS on TV in about 200 countries.


THE CINEMA AUDIO SOCIETY HAS ANNOUNCED THEIR NOMINATIONS FOR BEST SOUND IN AN ANIMATED FEATURE The nominated sound mixing teams worked on Brave, Frankenweenie, The Lorax, Rise of the Guardians and Wreck-It Ralph.

POSSIBLY THE BIGGEST AWARD SEASON SURPRISE IS THAT STOP-MOTION FILMS, NOT CG, DOMINATE THE ACADEMY'S RACE FOR BEST ANIMATED FEATURE The three stop-motion features are Frankenweenie (Tim Burton), ParaNorman (Sam Fell and Chris Butler) and The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Peter Lord). The other two films are Brave (Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman) and Wreck-It Ralph (Rich Moore).

The nominated films for Best Animated Short Film are Adam and Dog (Minkyu Lee), Fresh Guacamole (PES), Head over Heels (Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly), Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare" (David Silverman) and Paperman (John Kahrs).

Aardman's Peter Lord getting a nomination was a pleasant surprise as their film has been overlooked by most of the other film groups making nominations. It is also a surprise that DreamWorks Animation hasn't been nominated for an Academy Award this year. (Their stock that sold for over $40 a share in 2010 is now selling for just over $16 a share as this is being written.) Disney executives should be quite happy as three of their feature length animated products and one of their shorts have won nominations. (Disney stock is now selling over $50 a share, up from a low of about $16 in 2009.) Another observation: all five features released predominately in 3D that have gotten Best Picture nominations, Life of Pi, Avatar (2009), Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010) and Hugo (2011) are either animated or visual effects works.

SEVERAL FILM GROUPS HAVE SELECTED THEIR BEST ANIMATED FEATURE WINNER It appears there in no obvious overall winner. At the Golden Globes run by Hollywood's Foreign Press Association, they selected Brave. Wreck-It Ralph won at The Broadcast Film Critics Association's 18th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards. The San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards (25 voting members), the Washington, DC Film Critics, the ! Dallas Ft. Worth Critic's Association and the Chicago Film Critics picked ParaNorman as the Best Animated feature.

The LA Film Critics named Frankenweenie as the Best Animated Film of 2012 and Don Hertzfeldt's It's Such a Beautiful Day as the runner-up (it is a compilation of three of his shorts). The NY Film Critics Circle Awards, the Boston Film Critics, Florida Film Critics and the Kansas City Film Critics have also picked Frankenweenie.

The National Board of Review has named Wreck-It Ralph as their choice for Best Animated Feature. Clark Spencer was named Best Producer of an Animated Feature for his work on Wreck-It Ralph by the Producers Guild of America..

No animation has made any of the best films of the year lists and Dreamworks Animation's Madagascar 3 hasn't picked up any nomination or awards on the lists I've seen.

THE AMERICAN CINEMA EDITORS HAVE ANNOUNCED THEIR 63RD ANNUAL EDDIE AWARD NOMINATIONS The nominees for Best Edited Animated Feature went to Brave, Nicolas C. Smith, A.C.E.; Frankenweenie, Chris Lebenzon, A.C.E. & Mark Solomon; Rise of the Guardians, Joyce Arrastia; and Wreck-It Ralph, Tim Mertens.

VISUAL EFFECTS SOCIETY NOMINATIONS "PARANORMAN" LEADS IN THE ANIMATION CATAGORIES ParaNorman received the most nominations for an animated feature with five, including one for outstanding animation in an animated feature. In that category ParaNorman will compete against Brave, Rise of the Guardians, Wreck-It Ralph and Hotel Transylvania. ParaNorman also got two nominations for Outstanding Environments (the graveyard and Main Street) and two for Outstanding FX and Simulation (practical volumetrics and "Angry Aggie Ink Blot Electricity"). Brave received four nominations, Rise of the Guardians three, and Wreck-It Ralph and Hotel Transylvania both got two.

THE BRITISH ACADEMY AWARDS (BAFTA) HAVE NOMINATED 3 ANIMATED FEATURES Their race is between Brave, ParaNorman and Frankenwenie. Their awards ceremony is Feb. 10.

FRANCE'S CESAR AWARDS HAVE NOMINATED 5 FILMS FOR BEST ANIMATED FILM AND TWO OF THEM ARE SHORTS The five films are Edmond Etait un Ane, directed by Franck Dion; Ernest et Celestine, directed by Benjamin Renner, Vincent Patar, Stephane Aubier; Kirikou et le Hommes et les Femmes, directed by Michel Ocelot; Oh Willy, directed by Emma de Swaef, Marc Roels and Zarafa, directed by Remi Bezancon, Jean-Christophe Lie.

ASIFA-SF members saw Edmond was a Donkey at our NFB event at the Disney Museum in Oct. and Ron Diamond included Oh Willy in his Show of Shows in November at Dolby. Zarafa is a feature about the first giraffe taken to Paris.! It will open in the US in May. Kirikou is a handsome feature by Michael Ocelot set in Africa (trailer on the Internet). Ernest et Celestine is a feature about an unlikely friendship between a bear and a mouse. GKids plans to open it in the US in the fall.


SOUTH PARK" CREATORS HAVE FORMED IMPORTANT STUDIOS Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the team behind South Park (now in its 16th season), the hit musical The Book of Mormon, the feature South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut and other projects, have created Important Studios with $300 million in seed money from their backers. They plan to produce entertainment products for TV, the screen and stage including a Book of Mormon feature. They formed their own company to gain better control of their products.

Their Book of Mormon stage show has grossed more than $300 million. The touring company that played SF is grossing an average of $1.6 million a week. A second touring company is averaging $1.5 million a week. A third company is about to go into production in England..

QUAY BROS. PRESENTED THE AMERICAN PREMIER OF "THE METAMORPHOSIS OF FRANZ KAFKA" AT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (NYC) IN JANUARY It had previously premiered in Paris. On both occasions it was accompanied by Mikhail Rudy on piano. He commissioned the film to go with piano music by Czech composer Leos Janáek.

A RICHARD WILLIAMS 80TH BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE IN NY HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED AND ANOTHER IS PLANNED IN LA At the Tribeca they will screen Who Framed Roger Rabbit? on Feb. 27, a program of rare shorts on Feb. 28 including The Little Island (1958, introduced by animation director and former Williams employee Michael Sporn) and on March 1 they screen the new unauthorized documentary Persistence of Vision, about Williams' decades-long attempt to create his personal masterpiece The Thief and the Cobbler.

Rumor: The Academy in LA is planning a tribute in March or April and they hope to fly Williams there from England.

BILL PLYMPTON'S "CHEATIN" REACHED HIS KICKSTARTER GOAL OF $75K IN MID-JANUARY AND MORE CAME IN BEFORE THE FEB. 1 DEADLINE Over 1,100 people pledged from $1 to $5,000 to help the "King of Indie Animation" complete his next feature. His backers will receive a variety of rewards including signed DVDs, limited edition lithographs, original animation drawings from the film and personalized caricatures by Bill. Cheatin' is his 7th animated feature and the first done in a hand-painted style. There are over 40,000 drawings to be scanned, cleaned, and colored his team of ten assistants.

The film is an adult tale of love, jealousy, revenge, and murder. There will be full nudity, violence, and Bill's surreal sense of humor. The noir story is inspired by the works of James M. Cain (Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice). Bill says, "I've always enjoyed using watercolors in my illustrations, and now, for the first time, I can employ my painterly sensibilities to the treatment of my animation. This loose, almost impressionistic style has never been seen before in my films. Thanks to this new aesthetic and a beautiful, full-length musical score, I believe Cheatin' will be a breakthrough for my career."

Bill is still the only living animator to hand draw every frame of his feature. His past animated features are The Tune, Mondo Plympton, I Married A Strange Person!, Mutant Aliens, Hair High, and Idiots & Angels. He has also directed over forty animated shorts, five music videos, and three live-action films. His animated shorts, Your Face (1987) and Guard Dog (2005) were Oscar! -nominated. He also created a wonderful naughty opening for The Simpsons in 2012 that is up for an Annie Award.



ENJOY A MAGIC/TRICK FILM FROM 1908 BY PATHE IN COLOR This delightful work has its original hand-painted colors. Hugo was a tribute to this kind of art film.


SIGNE BAUMAN HAS A KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN FOR HER FIRST FEATURE Her fund raising ad is quite outrageous, bizarre, and humorous so check it out.


THE SUNDANCE'S SHORT FILM JURY AWARD IN ANIMATION It went to Irish Folk Furniture by Tony Donoghue.

UNPAID STUDENT INTERNSHIPS -- WHEN ARE THEY AN ASSET AND WHEN ARE THEY A RIPOFF? By KC Most people (students, teachers and employers) are unaware that state and federal guidelines exist that explain what constitutes an unpaid internships and when an intern should be paid at least the minimum wage for their services.

Most of what has been written about this issue suggests the general ignorance about the rules/laws. When John Textor developed his now closed Digital Domain Institute in Florida the animation community was correct in being outraged by his plans, but none of the shrill opinions that I saw on the Internet seemed aware that he was breaking what are easy to understand laws. Even PBS host Charlie Rose didn't fully understand the internship laws when he created an intern program. He recently paid $250,000 to former interns and $50,000 to the plaintiff's lawyers to quickly settle a suit against him late last year. The case covered interns who worked for him from March 2006 to Oct. 2012. Other lawsuits are ongoing. The biggest according to a Hollywood Reporter article (12/20/2012) is against Fox Entertainment and Fox Searchlight over their use of interns on the feature Black Swan. Another major action is against the Hearst Corporation. Both companies deny they failed to comply with the law; however, since July 2010 Fox has been paying all their interns.

The federal government estimates there are about a million students presently in internship programs (paid and unpaid) each year and the number is increasing. When I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a MA I wasn't aware that internship programs existed. I sent out letters to museums that might hire me, was asked to come in for interviews and I was quickly hired. Things have changed since then.!

Today the process of getting that first paying professional job is a lot harder. Students see volunteering for unpaid or low paying work an experience necessary to get a well paying job at a later date. While some for-profit businesses offer excellent training programs and sometimes hire their interns, others companies abuse the system and violate wage and hour laws by using the interns as free labor as opposed to providing them training. Some articles about internships report people having to take 6 or more internships before finding a decent paying job. In some cases people have had to drop out of their chosen field of work in order to survive and pay back student loans.

The current federal guidelines were revised in 2010 by the US Department of Labor. They require for-profit companies to pay interns at least a minimum wage unless all of the six following criteria are met:

* The training is comparable to that given at a vocational school.

* The training must primarily be for the benefit of the student.

* The student must not replace a regular employee.

* The employer cannot immediately benefit from the student's activities (for example, the intern cannot deliver mail, sort files, conduct market research, write reports, schedule interviews, or perform any other work that assists the employer in running its business unless the benefit received by the employer is outweighed by the training time that is provided to the intern).

* There can be no promise of a job following the training.

* Both the employer and the student understand that no wages will be paid.

In a 2012 NY Times opinion-piece by Camille Olson, a management-side employment attorney, she said, "As a practical matter, most internships fail to meet at least one of these requirements. Employers who are in violation may be subject to penalties from federal and state administrative agencies as well as lawsuits brought by individuals who worked as interns without pay. As with most wage-related claims, cases involving failure to pay interns also pose the risk of a class action suit."

In "The Ethics and Economics of Unpaid Internships" (www.investopedia.com) the author points out that the rule that the employer must not receive any immediate benefit from the intern's work is vague and is being used by companies to defend questionable programs. The article says the Department of Labor only investigates cases where there is a complaint and that most interns fear reporting unfair labor practices will hurt their chances for future employment opportunities.

Laura Weitzman, a Bay Area lawyer, says unpaid internships are a subject discussed in law schools. She suggested if people want additional information visit the California Dept. of Labor's website and Google "DLSE opinion letter, unpaid interns"). I found that our state regulations used to include the six requirements plus five others.

Employers and students need to be aware of state and federal laws regulating internships. An internship can be a valuable win/win experience for students and employers if employers follow the spirit and letter of the law.

ARE YOU UNDERPAID? The Walt Disney Co. gave chairman and CEO Robert Iger a 20% raise in 2012 (the stock went up 76%). He was paid $40.23 million for his services in fiscal 2012, up from $33.43 million in 2011 and $29.62 million in 2010. His compensation package in 2012 was $2.5 million in cash. The rest was in stock and other awards and bonuses. His secretary made $574,331 and! Disney paid $190,439 for his personal air travel.

A UNIVERSITY TEACHING POSITION IS AVAILABLE AT RIT To find out about the opening at Rochester Inst. of Technology go to http://careers.rit.edu/ click on "Faculty Positions," then search openings (either all postings or #278BR).

NICK PARK HAS HELPED LAUNCH A UNITED NATIONS SHORT FILM CONTEST TO SUPPORT FORESTS AROUND THE WORLD Nick, the creator of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run, is in two short videos that were made to promote the worldwide competition. One features lots of people making brief statements and the other is a 3 or 4 minute statement that includes his talking about his childhood imaginations and personal love of forests. Wallace and Gromit make brief appearances. The contest is open to all film/video/digital techniques that share personal experience about how forests protect, sustain, nurture or inspire. www.un.org/esa/forests/film/

MPAA, CABLE AND VIDEO GAME INDUSTRIES SUPPORT OBAMA'S GUN INITIATIVE Media associations! were quick to support Obama's call for curbing gun violence. The NRA and pro-gun lawmakers have long suggested that violent images in video games and entertainment are more to blame for mass shootings than the availability of guns. In his address on the subject Obama briefly mentioned violent video games may have a role in glamorizing firearms. (He said nothing about the responsibilities of the film or television industries).

Even so, associations representing film and television producers and the cable broadcasting and gaming industries were quick to issue statements supporting the president's initiative on this complex subject. In a subsequent memo Obama asked the Centers for Disease Control to explore the link, if any, between "media images" and gun violence without specifically singling out movies and television programs.

The Independent Film & Television Alliance, Motion Picture Association of America, National Association of Broadcasters, and National Cable & Telecommunications Association issued a joint statement saying, "We support the President's goal of reducing gun violence in this country. It is a complex problem, and as we have said, we stand ready to be part of the conversation and welcome further academic examination and consideration on these issues as the President has proposed." Simultaneously, the Entertainment Software Association which represents major video game producers said it "appreciates" the president's and Vice President Joe Biden's willingness to go out front in the effort to reduce gun violence.

While game producers may take on the responsibility to warn parents about violence in their products, will that stop their sales to kids who seek out violent products? I suspect many parents will ignore warnings as many believe entertainment does not cause violent behavior in the real world.

WILL DISNEY LAWYERS GO AFTER AN UNAUTHORIZED INDIE FEATURE SHOT AT EPCOT CENTER IN FLORIDA? A COLUMBIA LAW PROFESSOR SAYS THE FILM "ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW" IS A CUT-AND-DRY FAIR USE CASE "Escape from Tomorrow, about a man who goes crazy while visiting Disney World, was shot covertly at the park. It includes images and songs! covered by Disney copyrights so several major news organizations have speculated that it must violate Disney copyrights. Can this independent feature that was just shown at Sundance, be distributed without legal problems?

According to an article published by newyorker.com Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu, an expert on copyright and corporate media law, says the film falls within the well established category of fair use, "and therefore probably will not be stopped by a court using copyright or trademark laws."

The film uses the park as a background and does not comment on or criticize the location. It does however show it as a place that can become evil and gruesome in the mind of the fictional guest. The guest ends up being tasered by actors portraying police. Wu believes that this ugly drama should have the same legal First Amendment protection as footage of an event showing copyrighted signs in Times Square.

He cites similarities to a legal case from the 1990s when Thomas Forsythe, an artist, photographed Barbie under attack by various vintage appliances. Forsythe said he wanted to "critique the objectification of women associated with [Barbie], and to lambast the conventional beauty myth and the societal acceptance of women as objects because this is what Barbie embodies." His "Food Chain Barbie" photos were objected to by Mattel so they sued for both copyright and trademark infringements. The case was dismissed under a fair use and First Amendment rationale. The artist was awarded nearly two million dollars to cover his attorney's fees.

It will be interesting to see if Disney does anything to stop distribution of the film. It was shown at Sundance and is seeking a distributor. The Disney Corporation is known to do everything possible to protect their image and property. Wu feels they would be wise to ignore this film, but will they?

A Hollywood Reporter wrote, "A bizarre, sophomoric, hallucinatory, sometimes funny and often undisciplined prank, Randy Moore's first feature is most notable as a ballsy provocation for having been shot surreptitiously at Disney World. The film's immediate future will largely be determined by Disney's disposition toward the enterprise, whether the company decides it's such small potatoes that they'll just let it slide or slap an injunction on it to delay or prevent official distribution. A fringy undertaking by any standards, this one-off could find life after film festivals as a midnighter and with college students into the weird and trippy and surreal."


"OSKAR FISCHINGER (1900-1967): EXPERIMENTS IN CINEMATIC ABSTRACTION", edited by Cindy Keefer and Jaap Guldemond, available in April from Thames & Hudson, 240 pages, paperback, extensive color illustrations. This Fischinger monograph explores the position of his work within the international avant-garde. It examines his animation, paintings, use of music, experiences in Hollywood, and his influence on today's filmmakers, artists and animators. The book also contains unpublished documents by Fischinger and others.

A limited supply of the books will be available earlier from the Center for Visual Music (CVM) in LA. The CVM also has an online library that may be of interest with pages dedicated to several visionary artists besides Fischinger. www.centerforvisualmusic.org/Library.html Also excerpts from selected films (Fischinger, Belson and others) can be seen at http://vimeo.com/user439! 2897/videos

"WHO'S AFRAID OF THE SONG OF THE SOUTH? AND OTHER FORBIDDEN DISNEY STORIES" BY JIM KORKIS This is not a fictional book like Marc Eliot's "Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince," nor does it cover the ugly controversial strike in 1941 or dozens of other topics discussed in other books. Instead it covers new, well researched stories by a man who has done an excellent job sorting through the studio's records and then writing them up for an intelligent, educated audience. The author worked at the Florida studio for several years as a historian and educator.

Almost half of the book is a discussion of Song of the South, a lovely live action feature with several animated segments in it. Unfortunately, despite its charm, it contains racist elements and its release was greeted with pickets and attacks in the press when it was first released. Every time it was rereleased in the US the protests have grown louder. While I devoted considerable space to the controversy in my book Forbidden Animation (1997), Korkis provides a much longer discussion. It includes lots of new details about various stages of the production and the film's exhibition, the people working on it, those who refused to work on it and of course the protests. It also mentions things like the outrageous Saturday Night Live TV Funhouse parody "Journey into the Disney Vault" (2006) that allegedly divulges Disney's darkest secrets including shocking footage from Song of the South that wasn't in the film.

The rest of the book consists of fascinating information about other unusual projects that were made or left unfinished. Korkis has one short chapter about Walt's political beliefs. His father was a socialist; but while Walt supported Roosevelt, he was for Ike in 1952. The studio even produced a TV ad for Ike that I show my students as it is now unintentionally funny.

Disney made several educational health films including one explaining menstruation and another about VD. Korkis has uncovered records that discuss the delicate problems the studio had presenting these topics in a positive way at a time when there were strong taboos about discussing them.

There are several pages about the missing footage from Fantasia showing "Sunflower," a black centaurette, but Korkis doesn't discuss how Disney cut offensive images of Blacks, Jews, etc. from his shorts before they were show on TV. I enjoyed reading the brief discussion of Tim Burton's unusual career with the studio and how Selick ended up directing Nightmare Before Christmas.

There is also a lot of information about depicting Jessica Rabbit as a sexy woman including changes to the few frames that look up her skirt when she is tossed out of a car. There is no mention of the subtle naughty images in Roger Rabbit that were in the feature like the finger going up under a woman's skirt, or were rumored to have been removed.

There is a lot more material in the book that makes it a must have volume, but I suspect this will not be the final book of "forbidden" Disney stories. Having been told so many naughty tales about the studio over the past 30 or 40 years there is a lot of material yet to be covered. I see no reason why the Disney family and the corporation should object to Korkis' book and I believe it to be honest and accurate. It is available from Amazon and is published by www.ThemeParkPress.com


A SECOND LOOK AT "COMBUSTIBLE" by KC Last month this film was briefly mentioned in our newsletter as a film on the short list of works being considered for an Oscar nomination. Katsuhiro Otomo, who directed the impressive features Akira and Metropolis, recently released Combustible, a short quite unlike his earlier work. It is a different aesthetic experience from what we expect from either a contemporary American or Japanese director, especially one known as a major anime artist.

Combustible begins as a meditation on a 18th Century town. Then it slowly turns into a film that reveals the relationship of two people and finally it builds and builds into a dramatic climax. The first shot is a lovely long slow pan across a traditional looking scroll painting. It stops and lingers on the yard of a traditional Japanese home while we observe two children at play. Then part of that image is removed, leaving the central part of the scene on the screen. The camera! then pulls back to reveal we are now inside the home and the yard motif is on a hanging scroll.

I see the film as a beautifully designed art experience from beginning to end. The ending is like a musical fugue that builds and builds till it fades out. Seeing it was a remarkable fresh experience for me as it is so unlike what we are used to seeing. I was delighted that the film made the Academy's short list this year and I look forward to showing you a DVD of it later this year at an ASIFA-SF event. KC



Kijek and Adamski are from Poland and have posted four more works in different styles at


Chase won the National Grand Prix


There is nothing that I like better than sitting in a dark theatre watching film. Usually it is animation but during my 2 days at the Festival International Du Court Metrage (International Short Film Festival) in Lille, France October 16 - 21, 2012. I got to catch up on some live action and documentary shorts as well as the 3 excellent programs of animation. A! s the name implies, no film was over 30 minutes. The majority of the works were 15 minutes or under, so even though I was only at the festival on Friday and Saturday, I got to watch a wide variety of work.

The high points of the animation programs for me were Oh Willey by Emma De Swaef and Marc Roels, Tram from the extremely talented Michaela Pavlatova, and Hisko Hulsing's Junkyard. These 3 films have been garnering honors at festivals worldwide and it was no surprise that Hisko and Junkyard took the Best Animation award back to the Netherlands. It was very impressive that Oh Willey walked away with the International Grand Prix, beating out hundreds of short films, documentaries, and animations.

Animation was not limited to the 3 competition programs but was also screened in many different categories. Carlo Vogele's Una Furtiva Lagrima (A Furtive Teardrop) was selected for the Very Shorts Award which is selected by the audience from films in all of the categories that are 5 minutes or less. Vogele has a real knack for bringing inanimate objects to life. After entertaining us in previous films with such every day items as socks and Barbie Dolls, ! he has now turned his hand to giving life to dead fish. Una Furtiva Lagrima is a requiem for a black bass who laments his pathetic fate from his sale at the fish market to his final destination in a frying pan. The 3 minute 8 second trip is played out to Enrico Caruso singing Una Furtiva Lagrima. Carlo, a former Gobelins School of Animation student, now works at Pixar as a CG animator but he says that "Stop motion remains my favourite form of expression, which I do in my spare time."

Chase, the latest 3D abstract animation by Adriaan Lokman, won the National Grand Prix. Using various sizes and numbers of triangles, Lokman has taken this simple form and created an intense, fast paced chase. As the images fly by the viewer is challenged to try to separate what is really on the screen as opposed to what we see in our mind. Adriaan, who won the 2002 Annecy Grand Prix for Barcode, is a Dutch animator who now lives in France.

I had already seen many of the animations but there were some very pleasant surprises. Palmipedarium grabbed my attention immediately and although I was sure I had never seen it there was something familiar about it. When the credits rolled at the end of the film and I saw that the director was Jeremy Clapin, the feeling of familiarity made sense. Jeremy's 2 previous films, Vertebrale History and Skhizein were quirky, full of offbeat humor tinged with pathos in a very distinctive style. They both won numerous well deserved awards.

The story is about a boy and the freaky creature with a big beak that he finds in the woods on his way home from a duck hunting trip. I film is very recent and will be screened at numerous festivals so I don't want to give the story away. I can't put my finger on exactly what drew me to the 12 minute film but I am looking forward to watching it again.

Polish animator Tytus Majerski's Once There Was a King is based on a Polish lullaby written by Janina Perazinska. The film is very strange and dark and Majerski gives the bleak tale a delightful twist and a sweet ending. The stop-motion/CG film was Tytus' graduation work at the Polish National Film School!

On five Thursdays prior to the festival diverse programs of short films were screened at L'Hybride, one of the festival's four venues. All of the different shorts categories (fiction, animation, experimental, video clips, and documentary) were represented in the programs of films that were submitted but not chosen for the official competitions. This year the audience selected Being Bradford Dillman as the L'Hybride winner.

British animator Emma Burch used cut out stop-motion in dark colors and earthy textures to intensify the sinister undertones of this quirky story of a little girl and her journey of self-discovery. Emma deals with how much harm a parent's words and actions can do to a child without meaning to do so with deep understanding and honesty. Emma told me that the story is largely autobiographical which made the film all the more poignant to me.

Because I was only in Lille for 2 days I didn't get to see too many live action films but I did see one fiction and one documentary program. I especially enjoyed Les Dernieres Pieces (The Last Pieces), a documentary about the once renowned pottery factory Royal Boch. Founded in 1841 in La Louviere which is in the Walloon area of Belgium, the pottery closed in 2011. I see pieces of the blue and white dishes in my local flea market and even own a few but didn't know the history of the factory. The film explores the now abandoned factory accompanied by interviews with former employees and local residents to explore the effects the closure had on the community. This film is representative of what is taking place in small communities worldwide.

The four fantasy programs were described in the catalogue as "Uncanny fabrications and dreams coming straight out of the maze of the imagination." They certainly did that. The screenings included all film techniques and spanned from George Melies' 1903 Le Cake Walk Infernal and Raoul Servais' classic 1997 animation Harpya to the 2010 experimental film Western Movie by Lee Hyung-Suk from South Korea. The opening night screening was Best of Fantastic, combining films from all the fantasy programs.

Interactive films have become readily available on the Internet, giving viewers the opportunity to choose their own version of a film. During the festival the interactive works exhibition gave festival goers an opportunity to try their hand at an interactive experience on 6 computer terminals at the Gare Saint Sauveur screening site.

The interactive experience concluded with a Saturday afternoon conference. Directors, producers, and developers exchanged information about the latest in interactive techniques for the Internet and smart phones.

Sunday afternoon was devoted to a screening for young film enthusiasts and their parents. Prior to the festival (October 1 -- 19), the Festival International du Court Metrage presented programs for Lille school pupils. The content and length of the shows were arranged by age and more than 3,500 students saw diverse programs of short films. Each teacher received material to enhance their classroom discussion after the screenings.

On Saturday evening the jury took to the stage of the beautiful Belle Époque era Theatre Sebastopol to announce their decisions. The awards ceremony was followed by drinks to toast the winners on the theatre mezzanine lobby. It was a nice surprise that Emma De Swaef, director of Oh Willy, Hisko Hulsing, creator of Junkyard, and Emma Burch from Being Bradford Dillman arrived that afternoon to collect their awards on stage. I enjoyed hanging out with them that evening.

After the awards ceremony came the event I had been waiting for -- Animation Night! Nine hours of animation that included shorts, 3 feature films, series, and even some unreleased animation. The range of films was staggering from the absurd to the sublime, Mice on Venus by Belgian director Nuno Alameda Romeiras was followed by Polish director Damion Nenow's statement about the useless horrors of war and the rage that lies deep within the soul to create hate. His Paths of Hate was shortlisted for the 2012 Academy Award.

The 3 features were the commercially successful Rango, the Danish film Ronal the Barbare and the marathon night ended with the premier of Berserk L' Age D'Or from Japanese director Toshiyuki Kubooka. For the stout of heart who made it through the night breakfast was served at dawn.

Usually I dread the loud festival parties with music blaring at mega decimal volume as people try to shout above it at each other. The two festival parties took care of that problem with "silent DJ's". As we entered L'Hybride Theatre, converted into a disco for the evenings, we traded our ID's for headphones. If I wanted to dance or listen to the music I put on the headphones, then remove them and carry on a conversation at normal volume or just watch the two sets of visuals being projected on the walls. On Friday night there were two DJ! 's playing different styles of music simultaneously, feeding two different channels in the headphones. It was great fun to watch people on the dance floor move in totally different styles depending upon what channel they were listening to.

Unfortunately my two days in Lille were so jam-packed that I didn't see the sights of the beautiful historic city, but I hope to visit it and the festival again. For anyone wanting to totally immerse themselves in a wide genre of film styles, the Festival International Du Court Metrage is a must.

My next adventure takes me to Xiamen, China, a beautiful tropical setting in the South of China.


The biggest money makers of 2012 were the big special effects films. Disney's The Avenger grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide. Both Warner Bros. The Dark Night Rises and Sony's Skyfall grossed just over a billion dollars each. The Hobbit (Warner Bros.) took in $921 million, "Twilight Saga Part 2" took in $828 million and The Amazing Spiderman (Sony) grossed $752 million worldwide.

Blue Sky's Ice Age Continental Drift (distributed by 2/0th Century Fox) was the highest grossing animated feature with a box office take of $875.3 million. Only a small part of that worldwide gross, $161 million, was from ticket sales in the US. The film was made for about $95 million.

The second highest gross from an animated feature came from Dreanworks' "Madgascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted." It took in $742 million ($216 million in the US) and the film's budget was 145 million. Unfortunately their second release of the year, Rise of the Guardians, has only grossed $291 million worldwide ($100 million in the US) so far. It cost $145 million to make so it hasn't quite broken even yet.

Pixar/Disney made a nice profit on Brave. It took in $535.4 million ($237 million in the US) and it cost about $185 to make. Disney's Wreck-It Ralph has almost broken even ($165 production budget and $355 worldwide gross) and Tim Burton's stop-motion feature Frankenweenie is not a hit. It has taken in $67 ! million worldwide ($35.2 million in the US) and it cost about $39 million to make.

Sony's Hotel Transylvania took in $321 worldwide ($147 US) and had a production budget of $85 million. They also distributed Aardman's The Pirates! Band of Misfits made in England. It grossed $121 million worldwide ($31 million in the US) and had a production budget of $55 million.

Universal's Dr. Seuss' The Lorax was profitable. It grossed $349 worldwide ($241 in the US) and cost $70 million.

Laika, the studio that made Coraline, released their 2nd stop-motion feature, ParaNorman. It had a worldwide gross of $105.4 million ($56 million in the US). The production budget was $56 million. With decent DVD sales it should turn a profit.

2012 also saw the rerelease of two older Pixar features now in 3D for the first time. Finding Nemo made $41 million and Monsters, Inc. took in $32 million.

Another successful release was a package of Oscar Nominated Shorts. It cost very little to produce and grossed $1.7 million. (Note: all figures in this article were compiled by Box Office Mojo.com.)

The big looser in 2012 was Disney's live action John Carter. It had a $259 million budget and only grossed $283 million worldwide. Keep in mind that half or less than half of the gross income gets back to the producers and the budget figures do not include distribution costs (advertising, etc.). Despite the enormous loss Disney stock shot up in 2012 over 70% even though they began the year taking a $200 million write off on John Carter. ! Disney stock is now selling over $50 a share, up from a low of about $16 in 2009.

All but one of the features mentioned so far were made in the US. As intelligent and wonderful as foreign animation is, it is extremely hard for GKIDS, a small company importing foreign animated features, to compete with Hollywood oriented distributors. In 2012 they opened three foreign features in the US. Chico and Rita grossed $350,524 ($2.2 million world wide! ), A Cat in Paris took in $309,973, and The Rabbi's Cat is now in theatres. The Rabbi's Cat is an exceptional, intelligent, humorous film from France for adults and while it has already grossed $3.7 million abroad, I suspect the US total income will not be impressive. GKIDS also distributed several classic features from Studio Ghibli last year.

One major problem in the US for small distributors is they can't afford to buy the needed print, radio and TV ads to compete with features from the big studios. It is easy for local and national media to not bother to review or even mention features that are not being heavily advertised.

Links posted at asifa-sf.org to films mentioned in our newsletter


Newsletter Editor: Karl Cohen
Contributors include Nancy Phelps and other friends of ASIFA
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 Stephen Parr of Oddball Films for hosting our January event and to all that brought films, food and drinks. It was a really nice evening. 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, local & international $42.
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



Adam and Dog (Minkyu Lee), Paperman (John Kahrs)

Head over Heels by Timothy Reckart & Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly Fresh Guacamole (PES)

and Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare" (David Silverman)



PLEASE RSVP by 8 pm, WED. FEB. 13 to: karlcohen@earthlink.net

We will tell you if your RSVP is confirmed or if you are on the waiting list.

If you RSVP and can't come, please tell us, so someone on the waiting list can have your seat.

Please arrive early to check in at the receptionist's desk.

104 Montgomery in the Presidio, (415) 345-6800

www.waltdisney.com for map, etc.

This is a great annual event that Ron Diamond has organized to introduce the honored animators to the Bay Area's animation community. As this goes to press (Jan. 29) Ron says the nominees he expects to be present are David Silverman (The Longest Daycare), Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly and Timothy Reckart (Head Over Heals), and probably Minkyu Lee (Adam and Dog). Disney hasn't said yet if John Kahrs is coming. After visiting Bay Area studios and meeting ASIFA members, the group will move on to LA for a fabulous week that ends with the Oscar awards night and plush parties. There are always great Q and A sessions at events Ron organizes.