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

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

June 2015



100 Potrero Ave. SF. FREE. Public welcomed
Arrive early to sign in, lots of free parking


Ben Ridgways Inner Space Artifacts
It takes us on a wonderful journey into the unknown
Ben teaches at SF State

David Chai's Behind My Behind
A fine humorous production made with the assistance of over 20 people,
most are David's students from San Jose State

Dan McHales Splotch

Norman McLaren Centennial Wall Project by Lei Lei from China
(Shown outdoors in Montréal by the National Film Board of Canada)
with a soundtrack by Nik Phelps from Gent, Belgium

John R. Dilworth's infamous Dirdy Birdy Redux (1994/2014)
An updated version of his classic Spike and Mike hit from their early Sick and Twisted shows
John went on to create the TV series Courage the Cowardly Dog and other fine works

Debra Solomons My Kingdom
Bill Plympton calls it,“The audience favorite, very whacky”

John Fadiffs Mulligan 14
Siqi Song Food
Charlie Canfields Amour Vert
Tony Claars Unwanted Guests
“A hand-drawn sci-fi cartoon comedy with spacey characters, effects and unexpected twists.”

Carol Easters Rush and the Rockets

Justin William's line drawing study for Break

Canlum Cens Where from CAL Arts, a very impressive looking work
Anne Ross from SF State, The Visioner
Also works from San Francisco State, Canada College, and Arts University of Bournmouth (the UK's top undergraduate animation school








Plus lots of other news items & comments


BEN RIDGWAYS INNER SPACE ARTIFACTS TAKES THE AUDIENCE ON A WONDERFUL JOURNEY His latest 3D CGI film takes us through an ever changing 3D visionary world where walls pulsate and sometimes rotate as they change shape and color. At times parts of the surfaces seem to glow and intricate sculptural patterns in bas relief sometimes appear as decoration. Do they have meanings that are unknown to us? I found this to be a wonderful two minute experience and hope you get to take the journey soon. You can on Thursday, June 11 at 7 PM at Dolby Labs. It will be in ASIFA-SF’s 4th Annual Spring! Show.

The film will be shown at several festivals around the world in June including Fest Anca in Slovakia; Currents 2015 New Media Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Northwest Animation Festival, Portland, Oregon. In May: Lucidity Festival 2015 in Santa Barbara, CA; Lightning in a Bottle in Bradley, CA (May) and Garden of Fernal Delights, San Francisco.

WILL PIXARS INSIDE OUT BE A SMASH HIT? By KC By the time Inside Out is released on June 17 Disney’s publicity campaign for it will hopefully have caught the attention of a majority of the people in the US that loves Pixars work. Expect to see ads and articles about it almost everywhere.

John Lasseter and other top Pixar administrators have come out from behind their desks and are appearing at major events including the Cannes Film Festival, telling the world about this and the other great Disney films they hope we will see in 2015. As a serious film person you probably are well aware of the old adage that making a film is only half the work. The other half is getting people to want to see it.

One important group Disney tries to excite with their products is the young adult market. Since it includes college students studying filmmaking, Pixar sends people who worked on each feature to give educational talks about the making of it to students. What intelligent animation student would want to skip a chance to learn something about how Inside Out was made and to ask questions of a Pixar staff member about “how to apply for work at Pixar.

Pixars speaker at their San Francisco State event was Eric Langley, the art department manager. He worked on the film for over four years, starting on it when Pete Docter, the films writer/director, was beginning to discuss what the unusual visuals might look like. His work on it ended after the last details were designed.

Eric supervised a crew of about 15 artists. Part of his job was to make sure all their work was properly scheduled so the production moved smoothly. Remember, everything in the film had to be designed and approved from door knobs and the color of a wall to the designs of the actors. His department is small, but they played an important role in the production.

He began his presentation by showing a behind the scenes video that portrays Pixar’s younger staff members as having fun at work. We were shown some of their cool personalized work spaces, people goofing off in the company’s social area, director Pete Docter explaining something to an artist and lots of other images that say Pixar is a great place for young adults to work. There were a few shots of John Lasseter and other key officers in the company, but the emphasis was on youth enjoying being part of the Pixar team.

Then Eric told us how his career began in 2004 working on Cars. He was a young assistant in the production office. He had previously been turned down for a job at Pixar when they were working on the Incredibles, but now he was in an office where he could learn the ropes. A bonus was watching John Lasseter in action several times a week.

After Cars Eric moved on to other departments as Pixar wants their promising young crew to have a wide range of experiences as they develop their careers there. Now that his work on Inside Out has ended he has become the manager of the lighting department.

Eric introduced us to Inside Out by talking about the thousands of decisions that had to be made in the designing of the key characters. He explained that while the film is about Riley, a cute young girl with big eyes, the main characters in the film are actually somewhat unusual looking. They represent five basic emotions inside her mind! He was careful to point out they reside in her mind and not in her brain since most people think of brains as squishy gray matter while minds are an undefined abstract space in our he! ads. Can you pinpoint where your mind is located?

One of the art department’s first big jobs was to design Riley who is 11 and the five characters representing her emotions. Rather than talk to us about these creatures, he showed the first seven minutes of the film as it introduces the emotions to the audience.

The film bends over backwards to make our understanding of who the five emotions are as simple as possible. To help us remember who each creature is, each is a different shape and color. Yellow is happy, blue is sad and red is angry.

Eric told us there was a great deal of time spent deciding which emotions should be represented in the film. The writers needed to make each an interesting and distinct character so no one would be confused.

How many would there be was another issue. They decided four didn't seem enough, five sounded OK and more than six or seven might be too confusing. They knew there are actually more emotions than four or five in our minds, but they wanted to keep the script simple. They consulted with psychologists and other experts on how best to represent human feelings visually.

Even though experts differ on how many basic emotions exist (their research told them that adults have from 7 to over 25 depending who you ask), Pixar settled on five for their film. They are Joy voiced by Amy Poehler, Fear voiced by Bill Hader, Anger voiced by Lewis Black, Disgust voiced by Mindy Kaling and Sadness voiced by Phyllis Smith. In the question and answer portion of Eric’s presentation he noted that Pixar considers the five emotional characters as their equivalent to Snow White’s seven dwarfs.

Deciding on how to represent what the mind looks like was another big challenge. Was there architectural detail or is it some kind of cosmic void? In the end the mind is depicted as a rather abstract space dominated by a chamber called the "control center." In that space individual memories are stored. The design team decided that memories could be represented by colored balls stacked on racks and that nice memories are bright happy colors while bad memories are dark balls. Each represents an individual memory ! and in a scene he showed us a vacuum cleaner type of device was sucking away old balls, memories we no longer use so there would be space for new memories.

As for the film’s plot we learn that Riley was uprooted from her comfortable Midwest life when her father accepted a new job in San Francisco. She must adjust to a new life so she suddenly finds herself on a bumpy road. Her emotions help guide her along that road, giving advice as needed. There are times in the film when there are conflicts between her emotions. They must struggle to adjust to situations she is confronted with.

Joy becomes Riley's main and most important emotion. She tries to keep things positive, but conflicts do arise as Riley must decide on how to best navigate through life in a new city, new house and new school.

Eric’s talk covered a great deal more about working on the film. He discussed what some of the other departments at the studio do and the steps each scene in the film goes through before it is ready to be seen by the public. He touched on designing minor characters, adding graphics to backgrounds, modeling, rigging, wireframes, cloth and hair, lighting design, and other things that a film needs.

It may surprise you to learn that Eric was a pre-med student in college and that before Pixar he worked in administrative jobs in a TV station and talent agency. He hinted that your personality and enthusiasm are important both to getting hired and to advance within the corporation. He also pointed out his career was not creative, but administrative.

Inside Out looks like a great film for older kids and adults. I assume it will be another impressive hit both with critics and at the box office. I'm not sure younger kids will really understand it once the film gets underway, but I suspect it will be a lot of fun for them even if they don’t get it. At what age do kids really understand what emotions are all about? Will they worry that little creatures are living in their minds, or will this all just be a somewhat wacky fun film ! that they don't quite understand?

BRAD BIRD IS FINALLY WORKING ON A SEQUEL TO THE INCREDIBLES” Brad Bird, who wrote and directed the Pixar hit Incredibles (2004) told the press in th! e past he wasn’t going to consider doing a sequel until he had really great script ideas for it. Apparently he now has that vision and has started writing. He says his script will include “a lot of ideas for the original Incredibles that I didn't get a chance to use, that I like. I have ideas that I wanted to pursue a little bit, and there wasn't enough time in Incredibles. There are new ideas I have, and I think there are enough of those together to make an interesting movie."

Bird said that once his live action feature Tomorrowland opens on May 22 he will focus on developing the script for the sequel. Bird’s original Incredibles (2004) grossed $631.4 million worldwide and picked up two Oscars, including best animated feature.

Bird also revealed that he has talked to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy about the possibility of his directing one of the Star Wars films. He says he is excited by that possible project, "but I'm writing (the Incredibles sequel), and I ca! n't think too much farther beyond that. I have other things I want to do as well."

In another interview Bird said that after Incredibles he would like to do another hand-drawn animated project. He believes there is so much more that can be done by hand. His Iron Giant and Family Dog were hand-drawn films.

Other Pixar news includes Disney is planning a third Cars feature.

WOULD ANYBODY WHO LIKES TO WRITE ARTICLES, LIKE TO EXPLORE AN INTERESTING WAY TO NETWORK WITH LOCAL COMPANIES? BECOME A REPORTER FOR OUR NEWSLETTER COVERING WHAT LOCAL STUDIOS ARE DOING This might be a good way to meet the right people and to let our members and friends of ASIFA-SF get to know that you exist. Contact karlcohen@earthlink.net

THE GOLDEN GATE AWARDS FOR SHORT FILMS The best animated short prize went to A Single Life by Marieke Blaauw, Joris Oprins, Job Roggeveen from the Netherlands. The film is about a woman who can travel through time to different stages of her life when different parts of a mysterious 45 rpm record are played. It received a $2,000 cash prize. Earlier this year it was given an Oscar nomination.

The best Bay Area short went to The Box by Michael I Schiller. It is a powerful and disturbing short about a 16 year old kid who did 300 days in solitary confinement on Riker’s Island (NY City) without his case going to trial. It received a $1,500 cash prize.

The Golden Gate award for best family film went to The Story of Percival Pilts by Janette Goodey and John Lewis (Australia/New Zealand). It is based on a humorous children’s book about a boy whose feet never touch the ground. He is a stilt walker. It received a $500 cash prize.

The Family Film Honorable Mentions went to Lava by James Ford Murphy (Pixar) and One, Two, Tree by Yulia Aronova (France/Switzerland).

ENJOY AN ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH SALLY CRUIKSHANK Her Quasi at the Quackadero was made when she lived in Berkeley. It is part of the Library of Congress’ National Registry of Films, films to be preserved for posterity. http://www.artofthetitle.com/feature/sally-cruikshank-a-career-retrospective-part-one/


Thursday, June 11, 7 PM

LAST CALL FOR ENTRIES INTO OUR ANNUAL SPRING SHOW It is too late for your film to be listed on the program?s flyer, but we can still consider showing your work if it arrives by June 9th. Send DVDs (movie format, no data files) to Karl Cohen, 478 Frederick, SF, CA 94117 Let us know something is coming. E-m! ail karlcohen@earthlink.net

Sat. June 13, 2:30 PM and Mon. June 15, 7 PM SHORT ANIMATED DOCUMENTARIES using a variety of techniques. At the Roxie

Their landlord has extended their month-to-month tenancy at 655 Mission Street through September.


AARDMAN’S “SHAUN THE SHEEP” FEATURE OPENS IN THE US AUGUST 7 Dot Janson, an ASIFA-SF board member saw it on a plane flying back from the UK in May and reports it to be a fun, charming, cute and entertaining family film. He is a smart little sheep that organizes and controls not only the herd of sheep and the sheep dog, but he also runs the farm as the farmer is a klutz. It is delightful innocent fun.

Two big fans of Sean in Belgium are Nancy Phelps and her dog Remi. She says Shaun is pure entertainment and “Remi gives it four paws up.” Nancy has told me several times that they love watching the TV series together. The feature is based on the TV show.

ANIMAL LOGIC IS OPENING A STUDIO IN VANCOUVER The Australian studio that worked on The Lego Movie and Happy Feet has a three picture deal with Warner Bros. so they are opening a new studio in Canada that is expected to employ about 300 people. Their studio in Sidney employs about 500 people.

DESPITE A MAJOR FINANCIAL LOSS ON “THE INTERVIEW” SONY PICTURE’S ANNUAL REPORT SHOWED A $488 MILLION PROFIT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING MARCH 31 Considering all the fuss made over the Sony hack and the fears that the loss would be a disaster for Sony, the corporation still made a profit for the year ending March 31. They had a $488 million profit and a gross income of over $8 billion.

OH NO! BARBIE’S SALES ARE A FALLING To make up for the slump in revenue Mattel has developed a new DC Superhero line for girls.

ADAM ELLIOT’S “ERNIE BISCUIT” Adam won an Oscar for his clay animated Harvy Krumpet and his feature Mary and Max won numerous awards. Now, five years later Adam has a new film. The world premiere was at the Sidney International Film Festival (May) and it will be shown at Annecy this month.

NINA PALEY’S QUILT OF HORSES COMES TO LIFE USING ANIMATION She designed a quilt based on 12 photographic images of a horse galloping that were taken by Edweard Muybridge in 1878. She then photographed her 12 quilted images and turned them into an animation loop. See this unusual animation at: http://blog.ninapaley.com/2015/04/29/horse-quiltimation/

NICK PARK’S “EARLY MAN” IS GOING INTO PRODUCTION The film has already been presold to many markets so Aardman was at Cannes looking for the best US deal. Aardman has had a successful year with Shawn the Sheep doing well in many international markets. It premieres in the US August 7. Now Nick Park, their star director who has already won four Oscars, is getting a lot of attention.

Nick’s Early Man will be a stop-motion comedy about inept cave men living in the time of dinosaurs. The plot centers on “a plucky caveman during the era of dinosaurs and woolly mammoths. They must unite his tribe against a mighty enemy.”

Nick told the press, "I’m very excited to be making this film with such great partners, StudioCanal and BFI, and with the support of the incredible team at Aardman. Bringing this inept bunch of cavemen to life is going to be a hilarious feature.”

Nicks previous achievements include Creature Comforts, his Wallace & Gromit series, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Chicken Run. Early Man was produced by Aardman, was ! co-financed by StudioCanal and the BFI. Sales will be launched in Cannes.

JOHN CANEMAKER PRESENTS TWO LECTURES ABOUT ANIMATION IN NY The first was a profusely illustrated analysis of Tyrus Wong’s studies for Bambi (1942), and Wong’s experiences working at the Disney Studios for three and a half years. It was presented at the Museum o! f Chinese in America in NYC on May 14.

The second will be The Secrets Of Walt Disney's Movie Magic at the Museum of Modern Art on Sat., August 1. It will include the lecture plus a screening of Fantasia (1940) and a book signing of The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis and the Secrets of Walt Disney's Movie Magic. The book focuses on the secrets behind their creation of special effects at the Disney Studio in the late 1930s to 1941, many of which are long forgotten, even within the studio. The book covers the complex mechanical and optical processes that enabled Disney to delight our eyes with dancing snowflakes, erupting volcanoes and other visual treats.

Jerry Beck writes, “John Canemaker is not only an Academy Award winning animator and one of our greatest animation historians, but he is a gifted speaker and a most entertaining lecturer. When we get word of his upcoming appearances we are compelled to enthusiastically spread the word. Here comes two more Canemaker events, both coming up in New York, which I highly recommend you mark your calendar now.”

WE NOW KNOW ABOUT WAGE FIXING IN THE ANIMATION AND SPECIAL EFFECTS INDUSTRIES, BUT HOW COMMON HAS THE PRACTICE BECOME IN OTHER INDUSTRIES? We now know how Pixar, ILM, DreamWorks and other animation and special effects houses joined together to create a wage-fixing cartel. They even agreed to not hire people working at one company if they wanted to work for another employer at a higher salary.

A private school teacher wrote me a similar conspiracy exists in private schools today, so I’m asking you if it is going on in other areas of employment.

Here is the teacher’s letter that I received:

It may interest you to know that among private schools (K-12) in the US, certainly in California, there's an open policy of this same (to my mind, illegal) anti-labor practice of not hiring from each other. The main purpose and result is to lock teachers into schools without recourse to alternative employment, and to undermine their bargaining position in discussions about compensation. In my 13 years working for such schools I had numerous experiences, and many more observations and direc! t warnings from school administrators and even hiring agencies, that this is how it's done. I even had a budding contract offer collapse over a head of my current school finding out and calling the possible hiring head to warn her off (following this code and in spite of any normal professional or even legal practice in normal US industries). This is all quite normal, to the extent that it's openly put in your face if you try to buck the system. The Tech companies got the headlines because they're sexy, but this seems to be a much bigger and broader problem in American professional life, certainly among the thousands of private schools in the supposedly top-notch National Association of Independent Schools.

I find myself wondering how many other areas this practice occurs in, as it seems to be part and parcel of the American "managerial mentality" that it's OK to do this, especially in non-unionized workforces.”
If you can add to this discussion please send me a note karlcohen@earthlink.net

ALL THINGS FALL” IS AN AMAZING 3D PRINTED ZOETROPE It is a detailed circular sculpture made with 350 different figures, environmental elements and architectural pieces. Every thing was created using a 3D printer. It becomes animated when the carousel is spun in front of a synchronized strobe light. The motion is based on two paintings by the Baroque Flemish master Peter Paul Ruben. It depicts The Massacre of the Innocents, a biblical story about the murders ordered by King Herod to prevent the prophesied birth of Jesus. Herod had all newborn sons in Bethlehem put to death. The artwork is credited to Matt Collishaw from the UK. https://vimeo.com/125791075

686 SCREENS IN GERMANY BOYCOTTED “AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON” Disney got greedy and upped their share of the gate from the standard 47.7% to 53%. They are also cutting their advertising budget for the film and will not provide advances for 3D glasses. A spokesperson for German theatres told the press, "We are worried, particularly about eastern Germany. When prices go up, then we have a serious problem that could force movie theaters to close." Disney told the Hollywood Reporter, "We don't discuss the negotiations that we are engaged in with our partners in exhibiti! on." The film opened in Europe a week before the US release.

DISNEY FINALLY HAS A LATINA PRINCESS Her name is Elena Avator and she was created for the Disney Junior show Sofia the First. This teenage princess has extremely long black hair, big round eyes, perfect skin and a great smile. In 2015 she gets her own show.

ELLEN DeGENERES IS PRODUCING A NEW ANIMATED VERSION OF DR. SEUSS’ “GREEN EGGS AND HAM” FOR NETFLIX It is part of a series she is producing that will be released in 2018.

SEE ON YOUTUBE “LOONEY TUNES FUNNY PAINTINGS CLIP” It is a great moment from the feature Looney Tunes Back in Action. This delightful sequence in a museum was animated by Eric Goldberg.


FOX RENEWS “THE SIMPSONS” FOR TWO MORE SEASONS TV’s longest running primetime scripted series is now scheduled to last through the 28th season. The current season averages 6.2 million total viewers per episode. Fox has also renewed Bob's Burgers and Family Guy, as well as comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Last Man on Earth, New Girl and dramas Sleepy Hollow, Empire and Gotham .

DISNEY ANNOUNCES SOME OF THE VOICE ARTISTS WORKING ON THE ANIMATED “ZOOTOPIA,” TO BE RELEASED MARCH 4, 2016 Once Upon a Time star Ginnifer Goodwin has joined Jason Bateman as a voice star in Walt Disney Animation's Zootopia.

The project is being directed by Byron Howard (Tangled) and Rich Moore (Wreck-it Ralph) and co-directed by Jared Bush. The script by Bush, is set in a modern mammal metropolis comprised of neighborhoods such as ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown. The animals wear clothing, go to work and use iPhones.

Goodwin will voice a bunny named Judy Hopps (get it?), a by-the-book meter maid with dreams of being a police officer. But being the first bunny on the force is not within reach, so when a mystery is discovered, Hopps forges an unlikely friendship with a fast-talking scam-artist fox (Bateman) to solve it. Together they will upend the predator-prey preconceptions that permeate this metropolis.

Goodwin is already a friend of the Disney kingdom. In addition to Once Upon a Time, which airs on Disney’s ABC network, she voiced one of the main characters in Disney's most recent installment of its popular Tinker Bell home entertainment franchise, Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast.

DISNEY QUARTERLY EARNINGS EXCEED WALL STREET EXPECTATIONS On May 2 Disney announced their fiscal second quarter earnings exceeded Wall Street expectations, up 10 percent to $2.11 billion, or $1.23 per share, compared with $1.92 billion, or $1.08 per share, in the same period last year. Wall Street had predicted earnings of $1.10 per share. Revenue rose 7 percent to $12.46 billion.

CEO Bob Iger also says they have "very deliberate" plans for the Dec. 18 release of Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. They want to avoid "too much, too soon" as the studio introduces the franchise to new audiences in China and elsewhere. He also spoke of ne! w Star Wars consumer products appearing before the movie opens along with video games. The film will also be "a huge opportunity" for Disney theme parks.

ACLU TAKES ON HOLLYWOOD'S BIAS AGAINST WOMEN DIRECTORS (AND WOMEN DIRECTORS RESPOND) The bias may not be a surprise to you since animation has had a long ugly history for not hiring women for the top creative jobs. Also Pixar let go the talented creator of Brave before it was finished. The animation industry has been marginalizing women for decades starting with the "ink and paint" mentality. What is new is that Indiewire and New York Time! s are bringing this issue out into the open in articles that were published in May.

While the recent articles acknowledge that there are a few well-known female directors, they are exceptions to the rule. In this century the number of women directing the top 250 highest-grossing films has declined according to a recent study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking state and federal agencies to investigate Hollywood's hiring practices and possibly bring charges against the major studios, networks and talent agencies for intentional gender discrimination in recruiting and hiring female directors.

"Women directors aren’t working on an even playing field and aren’t getting a fair opportunity to succeed," according to Melissa Goodman, director of the L.G.B.T., Gender and Reproductive Justice Project (A.C.L.U. of Southern California). "Gender discrimination is illegal. And really Hollywood d! oesn’t get this free pass when it comes to civil rights and gender discrimination."

While about 25% of the films shown at Sundance between 2002 and 2014 were directed by women, significantly fewer women are offered the plum big-budget Hollywood directing jobs after proving their skills directing indie films, while male directors are much more likely to be offered Hollywood features after directing just one indie film (according to research by Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism).

Female directors are often dismissed as being difficult to work with. Hollywood studios often counter criticism of hiring practices by saying there aren't enough female directors to hire. The long articles on this issue still say “women are simply not put on directing lists, it is an industry not interested in caring to figure out how women can have kids and directing gigs, and not interested in stories about women and in women's visions."

Indiewire reached out to a select group of female directors for their responses. One person wrote, “It's my understanding that the Director's Guild implemented a quota for ‘minority’ hires on TV shows...and you know what happened? The number of women hired for TV went down last year...shows ended up hiring men...be it Hispanic, black, Asian...which is all fine and good but it doesn't solve OUR problem.” Another said we need “a sort of affirmative action program for women working at the studio level both in TV and feature film.”

Gender discrimination in Hollywood is an institutionalized problem and thus will take an institutionalized solution. Audiences are hungry for female-driven stories and there is no shortage of woman directors eager to tell them. My graduating class in film school was one of the first where half the students were women, in no small part due to Title IX laws. The independent film world has made great progress in supporting films directed by women, and yet in Hollywood the statistics for female directors remain abysmally low. We have been talking about this for years without much change. Hopefully, legal action by the ACLU will be that tipping point we so sorely need.”

Another woman responded by saying, “Hopefully, such a public investigation will force more transparency and open dialogue in an industry that is still very much a lawless state where the capital is personal relationships and old-boy deal making at boutique hotel bars. And hopefully this will encourage female directors to present ourselves as confident leaders who are ready for these higher budgets, rather than becoming intimidated and embittered by the statistics and allowing that to affect our ambitions.”

Such openly biased hiring practices have thrived into this century. Dismantling them can't come soon enough and I'm sure the benefits of widening Hollywood's narrow hiring pool will eclipse the disappointment I feel that they were incapable of doing it on their own.”

There were lots of other comments. One of the more startling ones was, "It's insane that Hollywood has the same hiring practices as Yemen" by Negin Farad, director of 3rd Street Blackout. “I'm thrilled that the ACLU is prompting a real in! vestigation. What I've noticed is that studios seem to offer men with little to no experience huge tent-pole films, but a female director would have to make multiple low-budget films that win every festival and have rabid critical acclaim before they're given half of that opportunity.”

Pixar is at least putting non-white males in the director’s chair. Inside Out will have its first non-white co-director, Philippines-born Ronnie del Carmen. Their next feature, The Good Dinosaur (November release) is being directed by Korean-American artist Pete Sohn. The short with that film, Samjay’s Super Team, is being directed by Indian-American Sanjay Patel.

HARD TO FIND MARV NEWLAND DVD IS NOW AVAILABLE The Best of International Rocketship is now available from Amazon. It contains work he and his employees made including Bambi Meets Godzilla, Pink Komkomer. Sing Beast Sing, Dog Brain, Black Hula, Anajam, Lupo the Butcher and 4 or 5 more gems.


ANNECY 2015 WILL PRESENT SEVERAL MAJOR COMMERCIAL STUDIO EVENTS The keynote speeches of their trade show are by Hotel Transylvania director and Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky and Illumination Entertainment founder Chris Meledandri. The festival is showing clips from Disney’s Zootopia with the film’s directors present. Annecy will present the world premiere of the new version of Ghost in the Shell: The Movie and screen Illumination’s The Minions. Pierre Coffin, co-director of Despicable Me and Minions will also present a talk. Blue Sky will show footage from their work-in-progress, The Peanuts Movie. Pixar will show footage from The Good Dinosaur with Pete Son present. There will also be sessions on The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and The Book of Life.

Annecy still honors independent short works as a major component of the event, but as the commercial animation industry has grown over the years so has Annecy. Today it is also Europe’s largest trade show for animation including Hollywood features. A friend who attend Annecy almost every year says there is always much more than anyone can possibly see, so you can still view nothing but shorts for six packed days, if you want to.

UPDATE ON CORINTHIAN COLLEGE CLOSING They have declared themselves bankrupt (chapter 11) leaving their former students facing thousands of dollars in debt with no degree or job to show for it. They were the largest of the for-profit schools and they spent years lying about the great school including tall tales about former students getting great, high-paying jobs, etc. Among their disgusting acts was convincing students to obtain enormous loans that ! they must pay back. It turns out one of the lobby firms helping Corinthian was Karl Rove’s Crossroads G.P.S.

Thirteen Senators, including Elizabeth Warren, have signed a letter to the Department of Education calling for for-profit regulations to be reviewed and for the Corinthian students’ debt to be discharged. There are petitions going around asking for the loans made to students to be canceled as the colleges have closed. An ad-hoc group of students have hired a law firm to represent their interests during the bankruptcy proceedings. Finally, an ugly observatio! n I found in the NY Times said, “Unsecured creditors of Corinthian Colleges, including students, have little hope of recovery because the company has few assets.”

ANNUAL 2 WEEK SUMMER PROGRAM ON ANIMATION INSTALLATIONS IN PORTLAND Boundary Crossings Institute in Animated Arts at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is a two-week intensive institute for animation professionals and students interested in a hands-on exploration of animated installation as a medium. Details about this program ar at: pnca.edu/programs/c/boundarycrossing.

NANCY DENNEY PHELPS SHARES WITH US HER KNOWLEDGE OF BULGARIAN ANIMATION She was invited to Sofia, Bulgaria to select films for the 6TH Golden Kuker International Animation Festival. In her discussion about her experience in Bulgaria what I found quite interesting was her meeting Boryana Mateeva, the head programmer at the Bulgarian National Film Archive.

The jury in a serious deliberation

She says, “Like many people outside of Bulgaria I didn’t know a great deal about the country’s rich animation heritage before my visit. Boryana gave me a DVD titled Bulgarian Classic Cartoons 1960-1983. Professional animation in Bulgaria can trace its beginnings back to 1948 when an animation department was started at the Bulgarian Cinematography. The first film! s were created using hand-drawn art or puppets. They were primarily children’s tales based on folk lore and influenced by Disney’s films.

At the end of the 1950’s and throughout the ‘60’s, children’s films were replaced by philosophical parables for adults, without dialogue but heavy on intellectual humor. Many of the films used parables alluding to failures in social life or ridiculing unpleasant characteristics of the nation. Animators were the only people working in film at that time that were able to work unhindered by ideological censorship by cloaking their satire in parables and Aesopian language.

A prime figure during this period was Todor Dinov. His films won numerous National and International prizes at festivals. In 1965 Margaritkata/Daisy garnered Dinov the Best Animated Film Award at the 6th Cannes International Film Festival of Young Cinema. It is still a mystery why the film won a Young Cinema Award when it was clearly aimed at adults. In the film a square shaped little m! an tries to cut down a daisy. When he fails he becomes more and more enraged. His methods become increasingly brutal. In the end the daisy only responds to the love of a child.

The Sofia Film Studio was established in 1971 and became the home of a new wave of rebel animators. These angry young men of Bulgarian animation were interested in global issues and existential plots. Eschewing folk tales and parables, the anger toward the system that Anri Kulev displayed in Hypothesis and the sarcastic attitude of Slav Bakalov’s 1979 Caw! are typical of the black humor and existential plots that prevailed during this period. A new generation of animators emerged in the 1980’s. Their work was aimed at a much broader audience and frequently used main stream humor. Such young animators as Sotir Gelev and Velislav Kazakov carried on the tradition of the Bulgarian Animation School, but added unconventional techniques as opposed to the traditional hand drawn films. At the end of the ‘80’s film production had reached 55 or 60 new films per year and helped to establish the reputation of Bulgarian animation abroad.

The 1990’s brought about a sudden decrease in the production of animation due to social and political changes. The transition to a market economy forced many young animators to migrate. Velislav Kazakov worked at Richard Williams’ studio in London in 1991-92 and then moved to Montreal where he still lives and works. Theodore Ushev graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia and began work as a poste! r artist in his native country. Then In 1999 he moved to Montreal where he has gained a reputation as a major animator who has garnered numerous international awards.

Bulgarian animation is springing back to life with yet another crop of promising young animators. While watching films submitted to the Golden Kuker Festival there were several short animations and a feature film from Bulgaria. They are premiering The Golden Apple, an animated series created for prime time television by Dimmitar Petrov and a team of young Bulgarian animators. So far 24 episodes of 24 minute long series have been completed. The fantasy series is based on European mythology and folklore. The Golden Apple is a legendary wish granter which appears only once every century. The series hero is a 14 year old girl who goes in search of the apple to help her parents.

The 6th Golden Kuker International Animation Festival will host the Design School of the London College of Communications and the University of the Arts in London along with over 20 special guests. Sadly I will not be able to attend the festival this year because I have already accepted an invitation to sit on the jury of ANIFILM in Trebon, Czech Republic, but Nadia has already invited me to be part of the 2016 jury and I ! am really looking forward to returning to Sofia and discovering more of its hidden treasures.

There are no words adequate enough to thank Festival Director Nadezhda Slavova for her generous hospitality. The meals she created introduced me to traditional cuisine and new taste treats created with home grown meat and produce from the country home Nadia and her husband live in. So many lovely memories packed into 5 days.

The 6th Annual Golden Kuker International Animation Festival in Sofia was May 4-10. Nancy’s article about being a judge for the festival is on her blog hosted by AWN.COM. Visit Nancy's Animated World at http://www.awn.co! m/blogs/sprockets You can find out more about the festival at: www.animationfest-bg.eu

ARE YOU TOO OLD FOR THIS FABULOUS, EXCITING OPPORTUNITY? The Boy Scouts of America has just approved the creation of a merit badge in animation! For information about the badge” http://usscouts.org/! usscouts/mb/mb158.asp

FILMMAKER JOHN WATERS GAVE THE COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT RISD – TELLS STUDENTS IT IS THERE TURN TO GO OUT IN THE WORLD AND CAUSE ARTISTIC TROUBLE At Rhode Island School of Design he also urged the 669 graduates to go out and "outrage outdated critics" and "make me nervous."

“SONG OF THE SEA” WINS THE BEST FILM OF THE YEAR AWARD At the Irish Film and Television Academy Awards it was competing against five live action films. Cartoon Brew said, “It isn’t an animated feature award; it’s the best Irish film of the year.” I was surprised to learn that the film hasn’t opened yet in Ireland. It opens in Ireland in July.

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Newsletter Editor: Karl Cohen
Contributors include Nancy Denney-Phelps
Cover illustration by Ricci Carrasquillo
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Special thanks go to the Dolby and Paul Burt for hosting our Spring Animation Festival, 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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