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

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

January 2014

This issue includes:










BEN RIDGWAY'S "TRIBOCYCLE" WAS RECENTLY SELECTED AS A VIMEO STAFF PICK https://vimeo.com/76771149 See it on a big screen at our ASIFA-SF Winter Party in January. Ben, who teaches animation at SF State, was interviewed for The Creators Project (Vice Magazine).


His work has been shown at the Detroit Institute of Arts in a program of avant-guarde animation, from Oskar Fischinger to Ben Ridgway (last showing is January 5).


LEONARD COHEN UPDATE He is currently directing the second season of an educational series he started last year for Canal+ in France. He lives part of the year in the East Bay and we have shown his award winning films at past ASIFA-SF events including Plato (2011, Annecy Best Student Film, etc.), La parabole des Tuileries, (2012) and Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die by Your Side) by Spike Jonze. See his work at

WEBSTER COLCORD HAS CREATED NASTY CLAY MONSTERS INCLUDING BEELZEBUB FOR LES CLAYPOOL'S "BEATS ANTIQUE," A LIVE STAGE CONCERT TOUR AND MUSIC VIDEO Webster tells us, "Numerous visual artists, under the direction of Ivan Landau, contributed work to Beats Antique's concert production, which involves projection mapping by Obscura Digital (http://www.obscuradigital.com) during the live performance. Each piece of music has its own unique visual motif that follows a loose storyline over the entire concert, sort of a rock opera. So in addition to being a standalone music video, 'Beelzebub' is projected during the band's live concert onto a screen behind the musicians. There are also geometrical pieces in the foreground on which an additional clay element is projected, so the band is immersed in clay for the duration of the song."

"Because of the nature of the presentation, it was decided to try to give the impression that the clay animation was done in one continuous take. Most of the time the set was mounted on a geared head and animated to give the impression of camera movement. Most of the animation is on 2's and camera moves are on 1's. Any resulting strobing was treated as a desirable side effect."

"The scale of the puppets was usually very small and the depth of field was intentionally kept extremely shallow. The design of the characters and animation were intended to evoke the look and feel of clay animation from the late 80's - early 90's. Lighting changes were hand-animated using dimmers and three color schemes are used during the course of the animation. "Nearly all of the VFX were done in-camera and very little rig removal was done in post. The laser beam coming from the robot was a laser pointer aimed at a raking angle on a thread, shot with a long exposure. The video credits are Director, Ivan Landau; Animator , Webster Colcord; Assistant Sculptors, Rich Zimmerman and Edgar Humberto Alvarez; Set Assistant Dave Waddle; filmed in Hollywood at Shadow Machine."

Webster has several strange photos on his blog www.webstercolcord.com. There are also fan-posted videos from the live concert that shows the foreground projection-mapped elements and how they play with the flat projection of the music video behind the band at

http://youtu.be/7m7-dMIKN2Y and www.youtube.com/watch?v=yl58QllW2QM

RONALD SEARLE EXHIBIT IS AT THE CARTOON ART MUSEUM Searle in America focuses on his drawing assignments for major magazines. The exhibit was organized by Pixar story artist Matt Jones who runs a blog about all things Searle. It will be on display through March 30, 2014:


PIXAR HAS DELAYED PRODUCTION ON "THE GOOD DINOSAUR" SO THEY HAVE LAID OFF 67 PEOPLE That is about 5% of their staff of about 1200 people according to The Hollywood Reporter. The cuts were called "a small reduction in our staffing levels." This comes after Pixar closed their studio in Vancouver, Canada. Meanwhile Frozen broke box office records in its opening week and it continues to be profitable. The Good Dinosaur will open November 2015.




SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, ASIFA-SF'S WINTER PARTY, 6 PM Social Hour, 7 PM select shorts, 8 PM Ernest & Celestine - see flyer for details


SAVE THURS. FEB. 20 for RON DIAMOND'S 14TH ANNUAL SCREENING OF THE ANIMATED OSCAR NOMINATED SHORTS with some of the animators present etails next newsletter




THE ANNIE NOMINATIONS The Annies were created in 1972 by voice actress June Foray for ASIFA-Hollywood. The awards ceremony will be held Sat. Feb. 1 at UCLA's Royce Hall. This year there is voting in 30 categories plus several honorary awards. Winsor McCay Awards are being given to Katsuhiro Otomo, Phil Tippett and Steven Spielberg.

The seven films nominated for best animated feature are A Letter to Momo from Japan (GKIDS), Despicable Me 2 (Universal), Earnest & Celestine from France (GKIDS), Frozen (Disney), Monsters University (Pixar), The Croods (Dream-Works), and The Wind Rises (distributed by Disney).

The five films nominated for best theatrical short are Despicable Me 2 - Puppy (Illumination/Universal), Gloria Victoria (NFB of Canada), My Mom is an Airplane (Acme Filmworks), The Numberlys (Moonbot),,Get a Horse! (Disney)

In the individual awards categories people working on Frozen, Monsters U and The Croods got the most nominations followed by Turbo, Epic and Earnest & Celestine. A list of all Annie nominated films is on the ASIFA-Hollywood website, www.asifa-hollywood.org and at


A nice surprise was seeing Moonbot from Shreveport, Louisiana on the list. They won an Oscar for The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore. Their Numberlys is a Webby Award winning app that is a kid friendly work based on Fritz Lang's Metropolis. It takes place in a world with no letters, only numbers. It is nominated in the shorts category. Their Diggs Nightcrawlers, made for Sony Playstations, is nominated in the video game category. Their Chipotle Scarecrow is an arcade adventure nominated in the animated specials productions.

Another company I admire is StoryCorps, a non profit that has recorded thousands of interviews with people about their lives. A small part of this giant project is a series of animated segment shown on PBS that share with us moments that range from wonderful to tragic. They are created by Tim and Mike Rauch, the Rauch Brothers, and their short Listening is an Act of Love is nominated as a special animated production.

Also nominated in that category is Room on the Broom from Magic Light Pictures. This wonderful short is also on the list of the ten shorts being considered for the Oscar for Best Animated Short. We will show it at our January party. It is a delightful film reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss tale by the British studio that produced the Oscar nominated Gruffalo (2009).

EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS At the 26th annual awards ceremony held in Berlin the best animated feature award went to ""the most innovative title nominated," The Congress by Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman. Folman says his anti-Hollywood sci fi satire starring Robin Wright is a "true European co-production" with the animated work done by hundreds of animators in nine European countries. Folman created Waltz with Bashir in 2008. The other films nominated in the animation category were Pinocchio (Italy, Luxembourg, France, Belgium) directed by Enzo d' AIò and Jasmine (France) Directed by Alain Ughetto.

PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS Nominated for Favorite Movie are Despicable Me 2, Fast & Furious 6, Iron Man 3, Monsters University and Star Trek Into Darkness. In the Favorite Family Movie category the nominations are Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, Oz the Great and Powerful, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and The Smurfs 2.

NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS The Best Animated Feature winner is The Wind Rises by Miyazaki.

LA FILM CRITICS AWARDS The critics picked for Best Animated Feature Ernest & Celestine and the runner-up is The Wind Rises. Their Best Feature award was a tie between Gravity and Her. Alfonso Cuarón, was voted to be the best director for Gravity and Spike Jonze, who directed Her was the runner-up. Gravity and Her ware on the American Film Institute's list of their top ten films of 2013.

THE GOLDEN GLOBES The Best Animated Feature Film nominations are The Croods, Despicable Me 2 and Frozen. The 71st awards ceremony will be seen on January 12 in over 160 territories around the world (NBC in the US, Canal+ in France, China's movie network, etc.). Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will again co-host the 3 hour event.

THE CRTICS CHOICE AWARDS Nominated for Best Animated Feature are The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Frozen, Monsters U and The Wind Rises

THE SATELLITE AWARDS previously known as the Golden Satellite Awards, they will be held March 9 in Los Angeles. They nominated for best animated feature Meatballs 2, Croods, Epic, Ernest &Celestine, Frozen, Monsters U and The Wind Rises.

COMMENTS ON THE TEN FILMS BEING CONSIDERED FOR THE FIVE NOMINATIONS FOR BEST ANIMATED SHORT by Steve Segal Here are the short animation finalists, in the order they were shown at the Academy screening for voting members. The first three were shown in stereoscopic 3D. In this text the first sentence, which is in italics, is the description on the handout provided. Credits were not included on the handout.

Gloria Victoria, Theodore Ushev, director (National Film Board of Canada). Unfolds on the still-smoldering rubble of a furious 20th century, sweeping over imagery of combat fronts and massacres. Ushev creates some very dynamic images and action. This starts with a wisp of fragile abstract animation and builds to a crescendo of dynamic political imagery marching to the beat of Shostakovich's music. Not as strong as his earlier Tower Bawher but still powerful.

Subconscious Password, Chris Landreth, director (NFBC with the participation of Seneca College Animation Arts Centre and Copperheart Entertainment) In the middle of a crowded bar, Charles finds himself feeling increasingly desperate to remember an acquaintance's name. Landreth made the deservedly Oscar winning Ryan several years ago, and here are some of the same techniques and some of the same soul searching, but this is much more of a mish-mash of disparate styles with techniques changing without much reason. Landreth once again delves deeply into his own psyche, and is willing to make fun of himself. Worth checking out, despite its flaws.

Get a Horse! Lauren MacMullan, director, and Dorothy McKim, producer (Walt Disney Feature Animation) Mickey, Minnie and their friends delight in a musical hay wagon ride, until Peg-Leg shows up and tries to run them off the road. A true crowd-pleaser and a sure bet for a nomination. Looks like an old cartoon from the early 30's but takes unexpected directions, and the less divulged the better. It must be seen in 3D to be fully appreciated.

Feral, Daniel Sousa, director, and Dan Golden, music and sound design (Daniel Sousa) A wild boy is found in the woods by a solitary hunter and brought back to civilization. A hand drawn story, told in pantomime, strikingly rendered and skillfully animated. It's a strong contender.

Hollow Land, Uri Kranot and Michelle Kranot, directors (Dansk Tegnefilm, Les Films de l'Arlequin and NFBC) Soloman and Berta are two seekers who arrive - their treasured bathtub improbably in tow - in a land that promises respite from their many journeys. This ponderous piece benefits from interesting textural approach which looks like they scanned clay sculptures and then created animation on computer. There is a brief dream sequence created in high contrast hand drawn animation, it's quite good, resembling the excellent work Michael Dudok de Wit executed for his Oscar winning Father and Daughter. Overall the story is too obtuse to be engrossing.

The Missing Scarf, Eoin Duffy, director, and Jamie Hogan, producer at Belly Creative Inc. On a quest to find his missing scarf Albert the squirrel unearths problems far beyond his own. The biggest surprise of the show, what seems to be minimal children's fare evolves into a dissertation on existentialism. The squirrel looks like an origami creation and the creatures he encounters look like minimal logo representations, but that only strengthens the films considerable merits. Great narration by George Takei.

Possessions, Shuhei Morita, director (Sunrise Inc.) On a stormy night, deep in the mountains, a man has lost his way and comes across a small shrine. This is sort of a surreal adventure mostly taking place in a small room. It has a strong Japanese style of rendering and motion, but the story is thin and the animation a bit stiff.

Requiem for Romance, Jonathan Ng, director (Kungfu Romance Productions Inc.) A couple's secret love affair comes to a bittersweet end during an evening phone call. The audio track is a breakup phone conversation, with the subtext carried visually. Looking like a kung fu battle of the sexes. Nicely animated with the hand animated figures looking like they were torn from sheets of paper. Good work, but would have benefited from a stronger ending.

Room on the Broom, Max Lang and Jan Lachauer, directors (Magic Light Pictures) A kind witch invites a surprising collection of animals to join her on her broom, much to the frustration of her cat. This 26 minute short is full of juvenile charm, has a story and look very similar to one of the two director's earlier Oscar nominated The Gruffalo. It's CG characters composited into clay sculpted scenery. I've seen it for sale at Target.

Mr. Hublot, Laurent Witz, director, and Alexandre Espigares, co-director (Zeilt Productions) A withdrawn, idiosyncratic character with OCD is scared of change and the outside world until the arrival of robot pet turns his life upside down. It is a very impressive rendering of a fantasy/futuristic world. The animation is good, but I confess to completely forgetting this one and needed to read the provided description to jog my memory, not a good recommendation. But it bears a resemblance to the recent Oscar winning The Lost Thing and has a very high IMDb rating.

Here are my predictions for nomination, which are just guesses as each of the ten films had something to recommend it: Get a Horse!, The Missing Scarf, Feral, Gloria Victoria, Mr. Hublot The Oscar nominations will be announced on Jan. 16, Good luck to all the filmmakers.


BOX OFFICE REPORT FOR 2013 ANIMATED RELEASES Despicable Me 2 was the top grossing animated film this year with a $918 million gross world wide and the production budget was $76 million. (Only Iron Man 3 had a higher gross in 2013, $1.2 billion.) Monsters U grossed $743.5 million world wide, Gravity $632 million, $100m budget; Croods $587.2m, $100m budget); Frozen, $382.4 as of 12/27, $150m budget; Epic $266m, $100m budget; Meatballs 2 $218m, $78m budget; Planes 219.8m, 50m budget; Turbo $282.3m, $135m budget; Smurfs 2 $276m, $105 budget, Escape from Planet Earth $71m, $40m budget; From Up on Poppy Hill $61m (only $1m in US); Free Birds $53.8m, $59m budget; 2013 Oscar Nominated Shorts $2.1m.

AN ARCHIVE OF GREAT, BUT FORGOTTEN INTERVIEWS ILLUSTRATED WITH ANIMATION BT PATRICK SMITH AND OTHERS The online collection includes Jerry Garcia talking about the acid test, Janis Joplin discussing rejection, Dave Brubeck on fighting communism with jazz, Kurt Cobain on identity, Grace Kelly on JFK, Tupac Shakur on life and death, a young Fidel Castro on Cuba, Jim Morrison on why fat is beautiful, Maurice Sendak on being a kid, and Ray Charles on singing true. So far 26 animated interviews have been made in the two seasons of "Blank on Blank."

New York's outstanding Patrick Smith has directed and animated several the shorts. In an e-mail he noted it takes him about a week to actually do the animation. His personal shorts include Puppet (2006), Handshake (2005) and Delivery (2003). His work is included on the DVDs Avoid Eye Contact, volumes 1 and 2. http://blankonblank.org/pbs/

A RARE LOTTE REINIGER INTERVIEW IN ENGLISH The conversation includes her early career that led to her creating the animated feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) using silhouette animation. It was recorded in 1976. www.uschefnerarchive.com/project/lotte-reiniger-recording/

ARI FOLMAN PLANS TO WRITE AND DIRECT AN ANIMATED ANNE FRANK FILM Folman received an Oscar nomination for his Waltz with Bashir and his latest feature, The Congress, just won the European Award for best animated feature.

A FUN PARODY OF DISNEY'S "MUSIC LAND" On Nov. 22 Cartoon Brew ran both the original Disney Silly Symphony Music Land (1935) and The Simpson's show opening inspired by it.

SUNDANCE TO SHOW "ERNEST & CELESTINE" AND 13 SHORTS Cartoon Brew.com posted several of the shorts on their website Dec. 11 and trailers for some of the others. Sundance now has a youth oriented side-bar called Sundance Kids. The festival runs Jan, 16 -- 26 in Utah. I just got word they will also show Subconscious Password by Chris Landreth ad Bill Plympton's new feature Cheatin' (I assume neither will be shown as a film for kids).

JOSH RASKIN'S "I MET THE WALRUS" His John Lennon interview from 2007 is online at vimeo.com/11661493

JOANNA QUINN CREATED A WONDERFUL OPENING FILM FOR THE 2013 BRADFORD ANIMATION FESTIVAL It stars Beryl baking a cake. http://www.skwigly.co.uk/exclusive-beryls-back-joanna-quinn-animates-2013-baf-ident/

OY, WAS BAMBI JEWISH? On December 4 Cartoon Brew informed us that the original Bambi story by Felix Salten was an allegory about anti-Semitism. Walt probably wasn't interested in that aspect of the author's work, but he liked the writer's work. Two later films including The Shaggy Dog were also based on Salten's writings. www.cartoonbrew.com

MAO ZEDONG, FOUNDER OF COMMUNIST CHINA, HAS BECOME AN ANIMATED STAR The Great Helmsman, about his teen years, had a $4.9 million budget and was made as part of celebrations in December marking the 120th anniversary of his birth. The cartoon was propaganda needed to boost Mao's image as the revered leader of the revolution. The film was made to reach out to young people who know little about their revolutionary heroes. Normally it is not permitted to show Chinese leaders in cartoons, but the spokesperson for the film said, "We can't use the old and dull methods to cultivate [young people's] patriotism."

In case you are wondering, the Hollywood Reporter added that the film will not include the horrors of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) or the disastrous agricultural program known as the Great Leap Forward, which caused a famine that killed tens of millions of rural Chinese. They also illustrated their article with an Andy Warhol image of Mao that has been banned in China as being disrespectful.

by Karl Cohen

Growing up I was told it isn't polite to talk about sex, religion and politics in polite society. Sex was a taboo subject and since most animation is still made for innocent children we can assume Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella were chaste until after their wedding ceremonies. So, people who believe in the innocence of cartoons may be shocked to discover that some animation artists have had impure thoughts and have created some amazing cartoons for mature adults. They include outrageous humorous sexual escapades, explicit educational material shown on European TV, an intelligent discussion about orgasms, plus films about sexual abuse, violence, and bizarre activities. This article honors these films for mature adults.

The horny male

Depicting animated sex began in the silent era. The most famous example is Eveready Harton in Buried Treasure, an absurd pornographic comedy that stars a man with oversize "equipment." In the film he seeks satisfaction with a woman, man, donkey and cow. Legend has it the film was made for a banquet honoring Winsor McCay in 1928. He created Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) and is considered the father of the American animation industry.

"Eveready" is genuinely funny. It has been shown at stag parties, in theatres when it became legal to shown pornography and excerpts were seen on BBC 4 in the UK in the TV documentary Cartoons Kick Ass: a History of Subversive Animation (2000). That show and the complete short are now on the Internet. The show was based on my book Forbidden Animation, Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators, 1997.

Although Hollywood cartoonists had to obey strict censorship rules, in 1943 the censors didn't ban Tex Avery's horny wolf going out of control. His wolf getting sexually excited over a foxy redhead expanded the limits of what was allowable. Avery's cartoons with Miss Red Hot and his horny wolf are Red Hot Riding Hood (1943), Swing Shift Cinderella (1945) Wild and Wolfy (1945*) The Shooting of Dan McGoo (1945*) and Little Rural Riding Hood (1949). *Droopy, a little dog, and the wolf are in these two films. Miss Red also solos in Uncle Tom's Cabana (1947).

Avery also depicted females at a concert going wild over a caricature of Frank Sinatra. Little Tinker (1948) has female rabbits fainting from the excitement of seeing him, but when they rush to the stage to get closer to their idol they flee after one sniff. The singer is really a skunk!

Breaking taboos, the first X rated animated features

When censorship rules changed in the US in the late 1960s it became possible to show X-rated films in theatres. Ralph Bakshi, who had created animation for children, directed the X-rated Fritz the Cat (1972), a film that broke several taboos. Fritz smokes marijuana, uses four letter words, gets involved with terrorists and is seen having interspecies sex with a female black crow with big breasts and enjoying an orgy with several kinds of animals in a bathtub. The film premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and it proved to be financially profitable.

Another X-rated animated feature was released in the US prior to Fritz, but it didn't meet with much success here. Cleopatra, Queen of Sex (1970) from Japan was directed by Dr. Tezuka, the father of anime. In the US it was considered too esoteric and the historic story was of little interest, while Fritz was successful as it depicted contemporary rebellious American youth.

Bizarre shorts by independent animators

An animated short made for the hip counter culture was Thank You Mask Man (1968, animated by Jeff Hale in San Francisco). It uses an outrageous Lenny Bruce soundtrack about the Lone Ranger saying he wants to perform an "unnatural act" with Tonto. Most audiences misunderstood the point of Bruce's humor. He was poking fun at homophobic men, but not even the gay community seemed to find it funny in 1968.

A film that still delights audiences is Instant Sex by Bob Godfrey (1980). It is sophisticated British humor about an old man in a trench coat who discovers a can of Instant Sex at his grocery store. We will never know what happened in his apartment when he opened the can as we are left out in the hallway. All we know is bright colorful lights flashed around the door to his apartment and that a flower on a plant in the hallway suddenly blooms. When the man finally opens the door he looks disheveled and happy. Delighted with his experience, he rushes back to the store and buys every can on the shelf. That greed leads to the film's funny ending. Instant Sex was part of Godfrey's erotic trilogy that also includes Dream Doll (1979) and Kama Sutra Rides Again (1972).

New York animator Bill Plympton has been called the King of Independent Animation. Part of his enormous popularity results in his frequent depictions of sexual humor. His naughty films include the short "Sex and Violence" (1997) and the features I Married a Strange Person (1997), Mutant Aliens (2001), Hair High (2004) and Idiots and Angels (2008).

The wildest and most unusual animated film with sexual content is Pink Komkommer (1991). Marv Newland in Vancouver and Paul Driesen from Holland came up with the idea of creating a sexually charged soundtrack and asking several of their internationally recognized animation friends to animate their interpretation of that track. The sounds include a female moaning, a lion's roar, whips snapping and squeaky bed springs. The artists who participated in this jam were Marv, Paul, Sara Petty, Alison Snowden, David Fine, Craig Bartlett, Chris Hinton, Janet Perlman and Stoyan Dukov.

The finished film features seven short erotic dream sequences, each using the same soundtrack. Chris Hinton created an eighth sequence of an old woman falling asleep in a rocking chair. It was used between the wild footage to suggest she is dreaming the erotic sequences. The film ends with her waking up and doing several non-erotic chores while we hear the same soundtrack that was used with the other sequences.

Marv told me he expected the finished film would be so shocking that no festival would dare show it. Instead dozens of festivals clamored to show it and it became a must see hit.

Pink Komkommer also has a notorious reputation. At its world premiere (LA Animation Celebration) a small riot broke out. A woman made loud negative comments about the film when it was being shown, disturbing people around. When the house lights came on an argument between the woman and a man sitting next to her began and quickly got louder. Then ice in an empty soda cup got tossed. That led to the two taking slugs at each other. People near them either ran to get out of their way or tried to break up the fight. As I was walking out of the theatre I saw the same woman spotting the man in the lobby and pushing her way through the crowd to get close to him so she could punch him again.

The power of abstract and symbolic forms

Many of the images in Pink Komkommer depict abstract concepts and are not literal depictions of physical activities. There is a woman lion tamer standing in the mouth of the beast and being swallowed. While monks once pondered how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, Marv Newland's sequence in the film seems to suggest more than one angel or fairy can perform fellatio on a person at one time. Images like these contributed to the film's reputation.

Unfortunately Pink Komkommer is difficult to see as it is not on the Internet (many of the films in this article are online). It is on a VHS tape Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Animation, but it is not on a commercial DVD. Marv has put it on a limited edition DVD The Best of International Rocketship Ltd. that sells for $20 (US or Canadian, shipping included). Buy it from International Rocketship, 278-1857 West 4th Ave. Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 1M4 Canada. The DVD also includes his classic Bambi Meets Godzilla plus Anijam (1984), Black Hula (1988), Lupo the Butcher (1988) and other works.

Three other remarkable films with abstract representations of sex are Clorinda Warny's Beginnings (Premiers Jours, 1980, National Film Board of Canada), Marcy Pages' Paradisia (US, 1987) and Ruth Lingford's Little Deaths (US and UK, 2010). Beginnings and Paradisia are the only animated films I'm aware of that try to capture the essence of a sensual romantic experience. Both are subtle sophisticated attempts to evoke the feelings of pleasure and bliss. Little Deaths is an intellectual discussion about the nature of human orgasm.

Clorinda Warny was animating Beginnings when she died. Thankfully Lina Gagnon and Suzanne Gervais finished this meditation on cloudlike forms that at times resemble a couple in the throes of lovemaking.

Marcy Page's Paradisia is a realistic looking series of sexual fantasies. Some of the dream sequences take place in a great castle. There is a nude bathing sequence in a lavish tiled fountain. Another has the woman encountering a serpent and being rescued by a knight in shining armor. The film's climax takes place with the couple intertwined while floating among clouds. At one point the lovers embrace and he morphs briefly into a handsome tiger. Paradisia garnered 15 festival awards and was released on the VHS tape Animation Celebration, Volume 2. Unfortunately it is not available on DVD or on the Internet. Marcy went on to become a highly respected National Film Board of Canada producer.

Ruth Lingford's Little Deaths (2010) consists of a series of sound clips of people discussing simple questions like "what is it like." The questions refer to something extremely hard to describe, the sexual orgasm. Most of the visuals appear to be chalk drawings on a black surface. This award winning experimental film is an impressive accomplishment, creating an intelligent discussion about something quite difficult to visualize or describe with words. Ruth teaches at Harvard University's Carpenter Center and was educated in England.

Sex as an educational subject

When I was present at the Tel Aviv Animation Festival in 1997, Studio Film Builder from Germany presented a series of animated sex education shorts made for TV. They were made for children and are frank, explicit, and entertaining. While they are too graphic for American TV, I discovered some countries in Europe are far less puritanical. I remember the shorts being quite tasteful and the topics were presented as matter of fact useful information.

Signe Baumane animated a series of one minute shorts called Teat Beat of Sex (2008 - 2010). Like the German project, the films are frank, honest and graphic. Her producer has sold the series to TV in several European countries and several episodes are on the Internet.

Sexual tragedies leading to rage, violence and death

A recent development is the creation of powerful dramatic films dealing with anger over tragic sexual relationships. Each of the four films I'm aware of end with rage turning into violence and death. Each is quite different, but the end results are the same. They show that an animated film can create strong dramatic tensions and can be an impressive mature work of art.

Dennis Tupicoff's Chainsaw (2007, Australia) is a disturbing film about love, infidelity, jealousy and death. The couple in the film is deeply in love, but there are flaws. When he discovers her cheating on him his rage destroys everything. The other dramatic films that end in tragic deaths are Katsuhiro's Combustible (2012, Japan/France), Hefang Wei's "The Banquet of the Concubine" (2012, France, Canada, Switzerland) and the feature Princess by Anders Morgenthaler (2006, Denmark, Germany).

Sexual abuse

There are now powerful, disturbing animated shorts about sexual abuse. Michéle Cournoyer's The Hat (1999, National Film Board of Canada) uses the hat as a symbol representing the molester that ruins a girl's life. Anna Kuntsman's Catherine the Great is a tragic story of a teen from Moldova, who being desperate for money to help her parents, is lured into white slavery. Kuntsman lives in Israel and is from Russia.

Liberated celebrations of sex

The animation world has two great women animators, Joanna Quinn and Michaela Pavlatova, who have included sexual content in their work that depicts sex in a casual positive way as being a natural part of life. Michaela's Carnival of the Animals (2006) is a delightful sexual romp that includes numerous kinds of animals performing sex acts, some of which you probably didn't know were possible. Her film Tram (2012) won the Annecy Chrystal (grand prize). It reveals the sexual daydreams of a woman who drives a tram (streetcar). Michaela's first film Rici, Rici, Rici (Words, Words, Words, 1991) received an Oscar nomination. It focuses on communication problems between the sexes.

Joanna Quinn from Wales is a prolific animator whose hand-drawn animation is exquisite. Her Dreams and Desires -- Family Ties (2006) is full of visual surprises including going up into the organ loft of a church to discover the bridegroom talking on a cell phone while pulling up his pants. In a scene at a wedding reception Beryl is wandering around looking for something. Les Mills who wrote the film's screenplay wrote me, "Beryl has become too drunk to film so she's strapped the video camera onto the back of the bride's dog and she tells him to roam around filming at random - a reference to Dziga Vertov's classic Kino Pravda doc Man with a Movie Camera. The action is the POV of the dog. The dog exits the reception room to a passageway and wanders towards the laundry room where he discovers a ménage à trois, two women and a man frantically screwing, a reference to the sex scene in Hal Ashby's film 'Shampoo' when Warren Beatty and Julie Christie are discovered in delicto flagrante at a party."

Joanna's version of The Wife of Bath from The Canterbury Tales (1998, made for a BBC special) is a magnificent telling of this classic bawdy tale. Her earlier works, Girls Night Out (1997) and Body Beautiful (1990) deal with sexual politics. Joanna has received over 90 festival prizes along with two Emmys, four BAFTA awards (the British Oscar) and two Oscar nominations.

While the films of Joanna and Michaela incorporate sex as a casual element, Maria Magenta by Orlanda Laforet of Bianca Films in France (2011) is a liberated, "no holds barred" situation comedy about a sexual encounter in the woods of Boulogne. The film opens with a man driving through the forest with his young daughter sleeping on the back seat. He stops to go behind the bushes with a prostitute. The humor builds and builds with bizarre comic moments that involve a transvestite, fetish gear and other unexpected surprises. I suspect it could be the beginnings of a new kind of film genre.

by Nancy Denney Phelps

KLIK was held November 12 -- 17, 2013, at the Eye Film Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This year KLIK, the Amsterdam Festival of Animation, took us back to the fabulous Cartoon Modern era and the classic designs of the 1950's. The retro theme was also seen in the vintage furniture and accessories in the upstairs KLIK lobby at the Eye. We sat on the furniture and could play the vintage games and read the magazines as though we were in a '50s living room while we talked and drank.

This year's guest curator was Amid Amidi whose book Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation was the inspiration for the theme. Along with writing numerous books, he is also the editor-in-chief of the animation web site Cartoon Brew. Amid introduced Cartoon Modern, The Essentials a program with films by such legends as John Hubley and Tex Avery as well as the Disney "educational music" short Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom animated by the great Ward Kimball. This was the first animated short to be filmed in Cinemascope and stereophonic sound and it won the 1954 Academy Award for Best Animated Short. Every time Nik and I watch the film, Nik points out the numerous musical misinformation that the film contains, such as everyone magically playing their instruments left handed and the backwards trumpet, but I enjoy seeing it over and over and the film always receives lots of laughs from audiences who love all of the sight gags.

In the six Cartoon Modern programs I not only had the opportunity to see many old favorites. I also learned about the Cartoon Modern movement in the Netherlands in the 1950's and '60's and the Contemporary Cartoon Modern program showed us that the legacy of the 1950's is still very much alive.

Far too often when I see a film that I saw and loved years ago it turns out to be a big disappointment, but the UPA feature Gay Pur-ee was as wonderful as the first time I saw it on the big screen when it was released in 1962. Judy Garland in her only animated film role was the perfect voice for the lovely, pampered house cat Mewsette and Robert Goulet in his first film role brought the champion mouser Jaune Tom, who is in love with Mewsette, to life. The sequence of paintings of Mewsette in the styles of various famous artists such as Lautrec, Henri Rousseau, and Picasso is a delight for anyone who knows art history. Gay Pur-ee was 85 minutes of purr-fect pleasure for me.

In keeping with this year's theme a group of University of the Arts, Utrecht students created an intermission piece based on the original 1950's Let's All Go to the Lobby theme which was shown after each screening at the festival. I can remember when every theatre had double features and that cheery little ditty sent the audience out to the lobby to get popcorn, JuJubes, and a Coke. The KLIK audiences couldn't help going out of the screenings singing "Let's all go to the lobby and get ourselves a drink," The trailer is so well done and popular that even though the theme will change next year I hope that the festival will still end each screening with this little crowd pleaser.

Opening night festivities began on the expansive stair case of the Eye, as Puck van Dijk and Mark Thewessen set the scene for the KLIK theme by taking us back to the All American Family of the '50's and the fear of the atomic bomb with their skit Duck and Cover. Then we entered the screening room.

At the Opening Ceremony the audience was given a preview of what lay ahead for us in the six Competition Programs with the screening of Soeur et frère (Sister and Brother) by French animator Marie Vieillvie. She has created a beautifully paced 2D coming of age story that captures the mystery and complex feelings of growing up. I've seen Soeur et frère several times and I appreciate that the film doesn't wrap everything into a neat ending. Instead he leaves you wondering about what will happen next.

Two awards were also handed out at the ceremony. The new KLIK World Domination Award honors an individual, organization, or studio that has helped Dutch animation take another critical step toward world domination. The jury of Dutch film industry professionals bestowed the honor on Erik-Jan de Boer. Originally from the Netherlands, de Boer now lives in Los Angeles where he worked for the now sadly defunct Rhythm and Hues Studio. Last year he won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects for his amazing work on Life of Pi. He now works at Method Studio in Los Angeles.

The Mopti Audience Award took the audience half way around the world via video to the city of Mopti in the West African country of Mali located near the border of the Sahara. Dutchman Willem Snapper who has lived there for several years, started the Mopti Foundation with the goal to bring relief and aid to the local population. He does this by creating gardens with irrigation systems so fruits and vegetables can be grown in this extremely arid area. KLIK believes that you can do good and have fun at the same time. There was a donation box at the front desk will all of the proceeds going to the Mopti Foundation.

Willem also screens a film in his back yard every month. The nearest cinema is hundreds of kilometers away so the monthly event is always a big event attracting as many as 300 people. Each year KLIK puts together a special program for Mopti and a trophy is awarded to the film that the audience votes as their favorite. The 2013 winner was The Solitary Pier by Jack Shih from Taiwan. The film, which also screened in the festival competition program, is about a fisherman who lives alone on a solitary pier with his dog and turtle until his life is changed by a visit from a young lady and the appearance of a massive fish that is devouring the local fish population. The battle between the fisherman and the fish has some excellent special effects.

KLIK likes to keep things short and sweet with no long, drawn out opening ceremonies. After the film and awards it was time to go to the lobby for a welcoming drink.

I did not want to miss the three KLIK for Kids screenings on Sunday morning. Aside from showing such wonderful films as Room on the Broom and Rabbit and Deer the first two programs designed for children aged four to six and six to nine years old respectively featured live Dutch voice overs by professional actors Remco Lee Polman of Mooves Studio and Gio van Vugt.

Members of the KLIK for Kids audience voted Forever Mine winner of the Young Audience Award. The seven minute 3-D film by Dutch animator Michael Visser is about two mimes fighting for the romantic attention of a young Goth girl who runs the House of Horrors at the Fairground. As they begin to try to bluff each other with their creative mime, their performance deteriorates into a fight to the death.

I was charmed by Good Night, Carola from German director Alexandra Schatz. Based on a children's picture book by Jokob Hein and Kurt Kroener, Carola is a fearless little girl who is not frightened by anything. She isn't even surprised when she finds a monster hiding under her bed. In fact she is delighted with this new friend, who is upset because he thinks that Carola should be afraid of him. The beautiful hand drawn film has one of my favorite lines, "She who is not afraid has more time to play." That has become my motto.

For the inner kid in all of us who has fond memories of hours spent in front of the television watching Dexter's Laboratory, Cow and Chicken, and of course The Powerpuff Girls the Cartoon Network Originals program was a must. Not only could we relive golden television memories on the big screen, there was The Powerpuff Girls cosplay act and a special Q and A with Paul Rudish, director, storyborder, writer, and art director of The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory. But that's not all folks - everyone in the audience received a Cartoon Network original T-Shirt.

For Comedy Central fans there was the Comedy Central Battle of the Fans. Fans of South Park, Family Guy, and Futurama joined forces to fight for their series' running gags, serenade their favorite series most beautifully, and diss the other two series into oblivion to help their series win the Comedy Central Fan Award. For the fan that knew the most during the pub quiz there was a well-stocked goodie bag as a reward.

While others relived their memories with Cartoon Network and Comedy Central I relived my own memories for 90 minutes at Midnight Madness. As a member of the KLIK selection committee this year the golden moments of "What was that person thinking?" came vividly back to life as Mathijs Stegnik and Luuk van Huet hosted some of the weirdest and most baffling, beyond even bad, films that were submitted to KLIK.

On Friday there was an opportunity for members of the Dutch animation community to network and attend panel discussions, presentations by professionals who shared their tips and tricks with the audience, and screenings. The sessions ranged from Creating the Feature Film Pim & Pom, based on a Dutch children's book to five Low Country animators sharing the knowledge they acquired the hard way while getting their series started. Ryan Honey, Executive Creative Director of Studio Buck, a design driven production company based in Los Angeles and New York, vented about life in the commercial animation industry. The afternoon culminated with Debutante Ball, a screening of films by the next generation of Dutch animators, where the graduating class of 2013 HBO Studies presented their one minute show reels.

Last year Israeli director Ari Folman, who garnered an Oscar nomination for his critically acclaimed feature film Waltz With Bashir, premiered his latest film The Congress at the Cannes Film Festival. The story, adopted from the legendary sci-fi novel The Futurological Congress by Polish writer Stanislev Lem, revolves around an aging, out of work actress who accepts her final job, preserving her digital image for a Hollywood studio. The feature length film combines live action and psychedelic animation and features Robin Wright, Paul Giamatti, Jon Hamm, and Harvey Keitel. The Congress was so full of visual images that I need to watch it again before I can make up my mind how I feel about it. The film already has a North American distributor, so many of you will soon have the opportunity to make up your own mind about the film.

I was very curious to see Persistence of Vision and The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut which followed it. I'm sure that everyone knows the tragic tale of three time Oscar winner Richard Williams' legendary The Thief and the Cobbler which has become known as the greatest animated film never made. Film maker Kevin Schreck has collected rare archival footage, interviews with animators and artists who worked with Williams, and pieces of animation that were completed to tell the heartbreaking story of this ill-fated project. It was particularly fascinating to see the footage of such legends Roy Naisbitt, Art Babbitt and Ken Harris along will Williams him-self at work on the film. I am very glad that I was able to see this fascinating slice of film history which should be a must see for any animation fan.

I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy The Thief and Cobbler: Recobbled Cut, but I was completely enthralled by the restoration of this unfinished masterpiece. Even though the difference between the beautiful, original work and the recreated sequences is very evident, Garret Gilchrist has cut together many of the old existing scenes with newly created footage to bring the film closer to its original form. Gilchrist, a lifelong Richard Williams fan, has restored the entire film frame by frame in Photoshop, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and other programs to recreate scenes that were never animated. He also removed dirt and splices. Garret says that he did not undertake this project for any financial gain but as a labor of love, and when word got out about his project animators who had worked on the film came forward with rare original art work that they had saved. Don't expect to see Williams' masterpiece as he intended it to look, but it is definitely worth it to see the beautiful original footage.

Last year I spent an afternoon at the Script Dating session and I felt that it was definitely time well spent so I went back again this year. The intensive workshop is designed to give script writers and animators the opportunity to bounce their ideas off the rest of the group and get constructive feedback. Session leader Matthew Curlewis, a professional script advisor, also gave each participant detailed, personal advice. The only strict rule of the session is that what is said in the group stays in the group so I can't talk about any of the projects. I can say that last year's session helped me get on track with my personal project and the advice that I received this year has helped me to refine details and fine tune my project. Whether you are still in the formative stage or you think that your project just needs a little fine tuning, I strongly recommend that you spend an afternoon Script Dating next year.

Not all of the excitement took place in the screening rooms. On Saturday afternoon the upstairs Eye Arena came alive with the Sock Puppet Sweatshop where you could create your own personal sock friend at tables piled high with yarn, sequins, and assorted bits and pieces plus hot glue guns and needle and thread. Organized by those fun loving guys from Cardboard.com who brought us Robot Wars last year, the sock puppets were a great hit this year because everyone could join in. There were some wonderful creations indeed. After a busy afternoon of creating there was a sock puppet party which featured sock puppet arm wrestling.

At the Fabulous Fifties Party the next night you could dance the evening away. KLIK! KLIK! Boom! featured loud music and your chance to lose your voice shouting over the noise at your friends.

Last year Sahar Demnati created the wonderful blue KLIKBot costume. The roving robot became an instant hit. This year she added a larger than life box of popcorn and a life sized cotton candy costume to join the robot in his wonderings around the Eye. If the costumes make your mouth water for the real thing you could get all of the free cotton candy you could eat from the volunteer manned cotton candy machine in the lobby. I hope that next year the festival will add a popcorn machine because there is no cotton candy in the Let's All Go To the Lobby trailer but there is definitely popcorn. Let's face it, we can only eat so much of the gooey pink stuff but I for one count popcorn as one of my basic food groups.

Each year I look forward to the KLIK boat trip for guests. Two and a half hours on a beautiful long boat cruising the picturesque Amsterdam canals is my idea of heaven. All of the guests are so busy at the festival so this is always the ideal opportunity to get time to have individual conversations. To add to the fun there was plenty of delicious food and drink proving that the KLIK staff really knows how to treat their guests.

All too soon it was time for the closing ceremony where the juries revealed their decisions. A complete list of the winning films is at


After the awards were announced the audience had the chance to relive highlights of the week with a Best of KLIK 2013 screening.

There was so much packed into the six day festival that I could write pages about this wonderful event and I had to touch what were the highlights for me but to read more, see lots of photos from this year and learn how your film can be submitted to KLIK 2014 go to:


Newsletter Editor: Karl Cohen
Contributors include Nancy Denney Phelps, Steve Segal and other friends of ASIFA-SF
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Special thanks 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.
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AT ODDBALL FILMS, 275 Capp St. third floor (Capp runs between Mission and South Van Ness,
275 Capp is near 18th St.), free, bring a friend

GKIDS and ASIFA-San Francisco invite you and your guest(s) to an exclusive screening of: ERNEST & CELESTINE,

AT 8 PM: ERNEST & CELESTINE, a lovely, humorous feature about a wonderful friendship between two outcasts from society, a bear and a mouse. It has won a Cesar Award and was selected for the Cannes International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and Los Angeles Film Festival. Based on the popular books by Belgian author Gabrielle Vincent, it recreates the books' lush and expressive watercolor illustrations. It has been nominated for an Annie Award and has qualified for an Academy Award. It is a film by Benjamin Renner, Vincent Patar, and Stéphane Aubier.


LOCO MOTION by Tony Claar- World Premiere, "an experimental celebration of odd & imaginative characters in crazy motion & rhythms, synchronized to a cool, hypnotic soundtrack."

TRIBOCYCLE by Ben Ridgway - Bay Area Premiere. Ben teaches animation at SF State. It was recently selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick!

BETTY BLUE by Remi Vandenitte (Belgium) Best film at Anima Brussels, Cartoon D'Or finalist. In a1980's Louisiana bar a guitarist tells the patrons the true story of Blind Boogie Jones, a famous blues guitarist. Film touches on racism and the KKK. Nancy Phelps did voice work on it.

POSSESSIONS by Shuhei Morita (Japan) On a dark and stormy night, a warrior has lost his way in the mountains and comes across a small shrine. Get set for a fascinating surreal experience.

ROOM ON THE BROOM by Max Lang and Jim Lachauer (UK), a wonderful family film by the artists who created the Oscar nominated Gruffalo. Broom had its world premiere as a Christmas surprise on the BBC on Dec. 24, 2012! It is on the short list for an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short.

AT 6PM, A SOCIAL HOUR FOR NETWORKING Come drink and enjoy a potluck. ASIFA-SF will provide the basics, please bring a little something to share if you can.