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Today is the exact centenary of the birth of Joy Batchelor, director, animator, producer and one half of the Halas & Batchelor Cartoons Studio. Although a crucial figure in British animation, she has for years been unfairly passed over for recognition. This new short film seeks to redress that balance and to introduce Joy’s work to a wider public:


‘Halas and Batchelor gave us all the lead. In our early days at Aardman, we could only dream of aspiring to their stature. In their heyday, the studio was renowned for innovation and creative ambition, always experimenting with technique, form and style. At the heart of the company, Joy Batchelor’s writing, direction and design, especially on ‘Animal Farm’, has earned her status as one of the true pioneers of British animation.’

Peter Lord, Aardman Animation


‘Joy Batchelor was one half of the celebrated/famous animation studio, Halas & Batchelor, responsible for over forty years of ground breaking animated films, including the first British cartoon feature, ‘Animal Farm’. This is the story of the life and work of one of animation’s unsung heroines.’

Brian Sibley, author, broadcaster and film critic


As a special tribute we are also posting a selection of her films on the Halas & Batchelor YouTube channel:


Charley in New Towns (1947) – excerpt:

Dolly put the Kettle On (1949):

Dustbin Parade (1941) – excerpt:

The Five (1970):


Dying For A Smoke (1967) is also available on the BFI Vimeo channel:


There is also a new book

A MOVING IMAGE, Joy Batchelor 1914-91 ARTIST, WRITER AND ANIMATOR published by Southbank Publishing

Available from the H&B we site, Amazon and by

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Halas & Batchelor Collection celebrates100 years since the birth of Joy Batchelor


Celebrations include a new limited edition publication by Vivien Halas, Joy’s daughter, and a special screening event at the Barbican on 13 April, as part of the Bird’s Eye Film Festival – as well as events at international animation festivals later in the year.

2014 marks 100 years since Joy Batchelor, the pioneering animator, was born in Watford. Even today, there are markedly less women in powerful positions in the film industry than men, so Joy Batchelor’s career, as half of the Halas & Batchelor Studio is extraordinary.


The daughter of a commercial artist and a former golf club manageress, Joy was brought up to believe that talent, ambition and hard work were paramount, and that a woman’s place was not necessarily in the home. A gifted artist, Joy went to art school in Watford and was offered a place at the prestigious Slade School of Art, but unfortunately there was not enough money for her to attend. She found work at an animation studio creating films about a ‘dreadful little koala bear’. Appalled at the quality of the films, she taught herself animation, and soon became so skilled that she trained her colleagues – and was earning more than her father.


Joy met John Halas, an animator from Budapest, when she was looking for a better studio to work for. John was impressed by Joy’s talent and intuitive sense of movement. He hired her and they both went to Budapest to work on the series The Music

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Man. Production halted because of the threat of WW2, and at the outbreak of the War, the pair returned to London where they both eventually found work creating animations supporting the war effort for J. Walter Thompson’s advertising agency.


By 1940, they set up Halas & Batchelor Studios, and got married. Throughout its history, the studio always strove to pioneer new styles and techniques from paper cut-out figures to computer animation, and it went on to create more than 2,000 films over 50 years.
The studio’s best-known work is Animal Farm, regarded as the first British feature length animation, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2014.


Joy not only animated, designed the characters and wrote many of the early scripts – she was also a producer and director at a time when women in the animation industry worked mostly as painters and tracers.


13 April: A celebration of Joy Batchelor at the Barbican, Sunday 13th April, Cinema 2

JOY BATCHELOR, LIFE IN ANIMATION (Part of Birds Eye View Film Festival)

This event, celebrating the centenary year of Joy’s birth looks at her career co-running a creative studio as well as her role as a mother. Event and films curated by Vivian Halas and followed by a ScreenTalk chaired by film critic and author, Brian Sibley; BFI film curator, Jez Stewart, animation curator/author Clare Kitson and Vivien Halas, director Halas & Batchelor Collection and the daughter of Joy Batchelor.


Limited edition publication: A Moving Image, a celebration of Joy Batchelor

Vivien Halas will launch her new publication on 13 April. The book celebrates Joy’s energy and talent, and acknowledges her considerable achievements. Her critical eye ensured that standards at Halas & Batchelor Studios were high. Her drawing style shaped the studio, as did her talent for script writing and being able to take difficult subjects and make them accessible and entertaining. This lively exploration of her work includes contributions from broadcaster and film critic Brian Sibley, BFI curator Jez Stewart, animation writer Clare Kitson and academics Jim Walker and Paul Wells.


Order yours today!

Robin Allan Tribute by Maureen Furniss

RobinandDianeI am writing this rememberance in honor of Robin Allan, an outstanding Disney scholar and founding member of the Society for Animation Studies. He passed away on January 5, 2014. Robin had been sick for a long time, first with throat cancer (strangely diagnosed at the same time as our colleague Bill Moritz) and later with strokes and I’m not sure what

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else, but he made it through them with the care of his wife Janet and his family. Last year he again sent me his traditional drawn Christmas card, which marked the growth of his family through the years. With it was a picture of Robin shaking hands with Diane Disney Miller, noting it was the last time he had seen her. He told me that he had suffered another stroke, and I meant to write back to him, but never did.

Robin was friends with members of the Disney family and archive, and two times he invited me to Disney-related parties he held at a friend’s house when he was in Los Angeles.

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The first time I went with my newly adopted daughters; the second time, he included a slide show of that first event, narrating it in his own funny style.

Robin meant a lot to me. When I started Animation Journal in 1992, as a graduate student unsure it would ever work, he was my first subscriber. He later accepted my invitation to be a member of AJ’s first editorial board. Robin’s book, Walt Disney and Europe, was a groundbreaking publication in a number of ways: one is that, for the first time, Disney allowed many images to be included in a publication from outside the company. Because of him, I was able to publish several Disney images in my own book, which came out a short time later. After Robin got sick, while I was on the Society for Animation Studies board of directors, I nominated him to be our first lifetime member. He was a permanent member of my editorial board as well.

Robin is fondly remembered by his colleagues — those who knew him personally and those who only knew of his Disney research. Gunnar Strom has written, “he was a huge inspiration for me and a good friend. I specially have fond memories of his visit to Norway during the SAS 2000 conference in Norway.” And from Suzanne Williams-Rautiola, ” I remember Robin well as a kind, generous, gentle scholar. He will be greatly missed by anyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.”

Robin was generous with anyone who asked for his help, and he was important to the younger generation of scholars as they sought his expertise. Tze-yue G. Hu took the opportunity to recall not only Robin, but also another great friend of animation studies, Bill Moritz, who passed away a number of years ago. She writes, “I first met the late Robin Allan and Bill Moritz when I attended the Cardiff Animation Festival back in the mid-1990s. Back then, I was actively looking around for professors and institutions who would take on my desired Ph. D work on Japanese animation. So, armed with a few pages of my research proposal, I approached the two gurus for advice during a tea-break time at the festival’s cafe. Both humbly commented that they did not speak Japanese and that understanding Japanese culture was the key to my research work. Robin Allan added that in pursuing his dream of studying Disney animation, he traveled to the USA to obtain primary research materials. It was classic Disney animation and its connections to Europe that he aimed his work at.”
She adds, “Their advice helped me to shape my decision to relocate to East Asia (I was living in Singapore then) and begin my long journey of discovering Japanese culture and animation. It is a journey of no regrets. Bill Moritz passed away earlier and now I have heard the news of Robin Allan’s passing. His book, Walt Disney and Europe, was an inspiration to me when I re-wrote my research into a book. I remember him telling me that he was no professor of animation, ‘just someone who is attracted to Disney Animation and its many elements of European art and cultural influences’. Robin reminds us of how the subject of animation could

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and ages, and that cross-cultural perspectives can further enrich our understanding of the subject. My only regret is that I did not get to meet

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him again; he is an inspiration to us all.”

Zabrina McIntyre is another of the many people who has been influeced by Robin’s scholarship. She says, “I never had the opportunity to met Dr. Robin Allan personally, but his work profoundly influenced me. Discovering the exhibition catalog for Once Upon a Time Walt Disney completely opened my eyes to the scholarly combination of traditional art history with animation. Upon learning that Dr. Allan

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had earned his PhD researching the European art influences on Walt Disney, and that this research led to the museum exhibition, it empowered me to follow his example. I am currently pursuing my doctorate in animation and museology and I will always say that Dr. Allan’s work inspired the career path I am following today.”

We hope it will be of some help to Janet and the rest of Robin’s family to remember how much he meant to his friends in the animation world and that we appreciate the time, knowledge, and friendship he shared.


Maureen Furniss

Inauguration of ASIFA-Cyprus

1_Animafest 2013



ASIFA Secretary General ms Vesna Dovnikovic

Director of the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture mr Pavlos Paraskevas

Hellenic Bank Director of Marketing and Culture mr Andreas Papanikolaou

Bordo Dovnikovic

ASIFA Cyprus Yiorgos Tsangaris


Hellenic Bank HeartQuarters, Nicosia – Cyprus 23 November 2013


On 23rd of November, 2013 we officially inaugurated the activities of the international organization ASIFA in Cyprus. On this occasion we welcomed in our country Mr Borivoj Dovnikovich, with an exhibition showcasing a selection of his most celebrated art works including comics, Illustrations, caricatures and animated films.

1.Inuaguration ASIFA Cyprus

In recent years the art of animation, previously an underdeveloped art, has started to flourish in our country. Animafest Cyprus – Views of the

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world, the international Animation festival of Cyprus, has raised audience awareness and is promoting cultural, financial and social development in this field. To this end, since 2007, when the festival started focusing exclusively on animation, it has introduced exhibitions,

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tributes, publications, workshops and academic programs in Animation in collaboration with the Cyprus University of Technology, Media desk Cyprus and the Department of Design and Multimedia of the University of Nicosia, through its Fine Art Program. The 2012 edition of Countryside Animafest Cyprus inaugurated an international Competition Section, with an international jury and participation of artists from all over the globe. In 2013 the

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festival introduced another competition section focusing on Cypriot creators. In this last edition of the festival the Hellenic Bank was the official award sponsor of both Cypriot and International Competition.

B. Dovnikovic with Students_Cyprus

We believe that the festival has contributed significantly in creating an interest in animation in Cyprus, as in recent years there is a new generation of Cypriot animators who live and work on the island. We are especially proud of that fact and we are committed to showcasing their work, thus

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continuing to cultivate this new field locally. From 2014 Animafest Cyprus, in collaboration with the Cyprus animation community of young enthusiastic animators, is establishing a pitching

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forum, an exiting new project to encourage Cypriot animation productions to reach a wide audience.


We are also very happy that this event was accompanied by a pilot educational program, the first in a series of children’s animation workshops with the participation of students from High School. The aim of the workshops, which are organized by ASIFA Cyprus, is to introduce children to the basic principles of traditional animation. The inception of this new series of activities is realized in collaboration with the Hellenic Bank, and is under the auspices of the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Culture and Education.

B. Dovnikovic with Students_Cyprus

We feel that the result of this rich activity of the last seven years is the foundation of the ASIFA Chapter in Cyprus in 2013. On this occasion it was with great joy that we welcomed here in Cyprus Ms Vesna Dovnikovic from Croatia, Professor of Philosophy and German Language, the ASIFA secretary general. Ms Dovnikovic with her presence in Cyprus officially inaugurated the activities of the recently established ASIFA Cyprus Chapter.

Vesna Dovnikovic at Cyprus

We would like to thank the Hambis Printmaking Museum for its continuing support in establishing and later co – organizing the festival with us, the Ministry of Education and Culture for supporting the festival since its establishment and the Hellenic Bank for hosting and supporting this historic occasion for animation in our country. Both the Ministry and the Hellenic Bank have shown continued faith in our cause and their contribution has been vital, especially in these times of crisis.


In closing we would like to express our warm gratitude to the ASIFA International board for the positive vote that established an ASIFA Cyprus Chapter and for welcoming our country to the international animation family.

Animafest 2013

Yiorgos Tsangaris

Artistic Director / Animafest Cyprus

Animation Lecturer – University of Nicosia

ASIFA Board Member
Animafest Cyprus

ASIFA Cyprus

Association Internationale du Film d’ Animation

Hambis Printmaking Museum

ASIFA President Status 2013

What did we accomplish

We’ve done quite a bit this past year. We saw the finalization of multiple elections and have appointed a great many of you into roles of responsibility – just check out the ‘contact us’ page for more information. We saw the successful completion of two major committees which included a review of our prize and our magazine. We welcomed our latest chapter ASIFA-Cyprus. Awarded the ASIFA Prize to Bruno Bozzetto at the Annecy Animation Festival. Brought up a new website to showcase our member’s work. Our new directors have begun working through their roles and responsibilities. Welcome letters have been provided for your new members. And thanks to Mohamed our online

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presence has recently skyrocketed. But most of all, we’ve begun working together and finding that our goals really are the same although we may have different ways of tackling them.


What is the status of our projects

Our website is what it is. We’ve had many complaints and some movement forward with it. It has a long way to go and, of course, everyone has a different idea of what it should be; should it become a blog with opinions of writers, should it report on the news of animation, or contain scholarly articles, or maybe it should just be informational containing the details of our organization, and then again it could be product or marketing oriented, should it be for members only, or should it be for the world at large. There are so many ways to turn but we need to determine what is needed by our community which may be a moving target. Forming a committee to review what the website could be a focus for the new year.


The magazine is yet another story. We need some kind of publication according to our statutes – although this could fall on the website to provide. Well, our magazine committee gave us some insight. And it looks like the board took that insight and determined that we should have an online magazine as well as an annual print edition with a culmination of the online artices that are expanded. This is great news – but now comes the tough part, putting it together. Again, forming a committee to get the ball rolling will be another focus in the new year.


The Prize gives us another dilemma. To trophy or not to trophy? Many other things need to be determined around this but the prize committee wrote a document with the options, we review it and will need to vote on it. This should come up again before the 2014 Prize – we hope anyway. But first, let’s vote on the 2013 Prize as we have in the past.


Some other things that need to be discussed are our statutes and our fees. Certainly not easy topics. Seems all of our topics are quite explosive topics. In these cases, the fee task force is now in progress and the statutes task force will be defined in the coming year.


IAD is now an interesting topic. We do not have an IAD coordinator at the moment – or at least not since Juliette left for greener pasture. Thankfully her co-worker Josephine offered to finish out 2013′s IAD. I hope that in January or February we will have new elections to elect representatives for both IAD and the Prize.


We do have quite a number of chapters now as well. We voted in a few in 2013 and have many more in the works for 2014 and beyond.

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Our reach is certainly growing!


The ASIFA film archive came up a couple of times this year. The details are on available on request but do know that the films are safe and will probably not be released until we have another location to which they can be transferred and stored (if this is necessary).

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Where can we go?

ASIFA has a long history and has built a wonderful network of animators and people tied to the animation community. Our job now, as the ASIFA Board, is to steer the organization in a direction that makes the most use of this network and builds upon it. We have a great opportunity

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to push forward and promote the art of animation while at the same time protecting the art and our artists.


I would like to see the organization make more use of its affiliation with UNESCO. We have the capability to provide workshops and training to our lesser developed friends. We can create projects that build powerful messages to make sure the world keeps on track and stays away from its self-destroying methods. Animation is a language that is universal and awe-inspiring. It has a far-reaching impact on its audience. Together with UNESCO we can help the world in new and amazing ways. We should also use a sister- or twin-chapter method to share our cultures, artwork, and techniques.


Our festival reviews need to be strengthened to give our membership not just a list of what we think as the best festivals and conferences, but a way to judge for themselves and to be critical of what might be a good event. We should look at providing other reviews as well, for schools (as Thomas points out) and even industries. Many of us look at animation as being entertainment, but it is so much more and we need to look at that from a student’s and a professional’s perspectives. The industry is booming and expected to double in size in the coming years with focuses on animation for education, mobile content, and augmented reality.


As such, can we now build a catalog of professionals that are interested in presenting to our community? Some place where not only can a presenter offer his/her services, but a chapter can also look to see who might be available and when. Many experts travel and knowing this timetable would provide easy access to our chapters and their need to offer events to their memberships.


I’d like to see us move away from being just chapter focused and perhaps being more international. If I travel to Atlanta or China or France what activities might I as an international member be able to attend? If we could open our calendars so that a gathering of animators in San

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Francisco or Bulgaria could be just what I’m looking for when I travel to the region wouldn’t that make us more available and interesting. Shouldn’t that be what an international membership gives us? Access to all chapters?


Over the coming years, we should look at standards. Should there be standards for schools, festivals, industries, awards, publications, etc? We should look

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at involving our membership in our activities. Will common projects bring us closer, does sharing resources make sense, for example who can I contact if I’m in Croatia and want to share something I’ve been doing or want to view something new?


Lastly, it should be possible for ASIFA to come together and create a forum where all of the ideas and possiblities for the organization and the animation world are discussed and planned. This should not be during festivals which already overbook their schedules to provide the best experience to attendees. But it can be a 2-3 day event before or after a given festival or conference. We need to work at raising money for these meetings that can provide benefit to our membership. Can this start out as a board member forum and grow into an ASIFA sponsored meeting or conference of animators?


We have so much we can offer and do. Let’s work together and bring membership into the community! Let’s make 2014 an exciting year for ASIFA!


Ed Desroches

USA-Colorado, 2013





AWG was very active that period as always….thanks to the enthusiastic members that volunteering are spreading around the spirit of ASIFA and the knowledge

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of animation.


‘Animated Memories’ 30’ project (DVD available)

Animated Memories

Animated Memories

During 2012 AWG launched a project entitles ‘Animated Memories’. The world premiere of the Animation Workshop Group was scheduled during the Monstra festival on March, Lisbon , Portugal .

The world premiere and the annual AWG meeting as well took place at the same time thanks to the project coordinator Fernando Garlito who also organized a forum in the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The subject of the forum was the animation as an education tool. The forum was international with interesting meetings, presentations and workshops.

During that meeting we promote the ideas of ASIFA and a number of Portuguese animators and teacher were interested to join the association.

‘Animated Memories’ also screened in several festivals around

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The children who worked on the project were used several mediums (clay, cutout, drawing etc) to express themselves. Fourteen workshops around the world participated, presenting remarkable work.


‘Colours’ (ongoing AWG 2013 project)

10 studios are participating and they have chosen various animation techniques to realize their ideas.

We are expecting the compilation to be finished early Spring 2014, thank to the efforts of the coordinator of this project Christel Degros.

The world premiere of the Animation Workshop Group project for 2013 ‘Colours’ is scheduled during the Vafi festival on April 2014 as well the AWG annual meeting. Also the Asian premier is going to be during the Hiroshima Festival next August.

The board of AWG is working to make a project archive as well a history report for upload it to the internet.


We are looking forward to hear ideas for educational activites.


On behalf of AWGAnastasia Dimitra

I wish you to have a very happy new year!!!

Anastasia Dimitra

SF News :: October


DON’T MISS THE TYRUS WONG RETROSPECTIVE IN THE NEW SPECIAL EXHIBIT HALL OF THE WALT DISNEY FAMILY MUSEUM The museum has turned a fairly large army gym into an excellent two story space for temporary exhibits that is a short walk from the building that houses the permanent collection. The first show is a major educational experience as well as a chance to see a large important exhibit honoring an artist who created the look of Bambi before going on to a career at other film studios.

The show begins with Tyrus coming from China as a boy, his lonely stay on Angel Island and his being reunited with his father. (He never saw his mother or sister again,) It touches on his family’s poverty including his not being able to afford ink so he learned how to use the Asian bamboo watercolor brush by painting with plain water on paper. It covers his formal art school education, life as a struggling WPA mural artist during the depression and then his being hired by the Disney Studio (he never met Walt).

Wong introduced the studio to a visual approach quite different from the gothic architecture and atmosphere of Snow White and Pinocchio. He combined his love for Chinese painting with the subtle “less is more sensibility” and interest in abstraction found in some early 20th Century modern art. The studio used his ability to render forests and fields with a soft brushwork to create soft focus backgrounds that added to the film’s illusion of depth and atmosphere. They didn’t need to add details like individual branches or blades of grass to create lush forests.

Wong also contributed a natural look by having the sun light come through the trees, allowed for dark areas that showed little or no details. That let the audience focus their attention on the animals in the patches of light and color. By having a single source of light, the sun streaming through the trees, Wong created the films appealing look.

The Bambi portion of the exhibit consists of approximately 40 small color sketches and two video displays. One shows scenes from the film while the other features interviews with Wong, who is now 102, and others. There are more than 150 works displayed including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, delightful looking toys created for his kids, wonderful kites, and more. The show closes Feb. 3. To learn more read the exhibit notes by the show’s curator at:


THE EXPLORATORIUM’S KANBAR THEATRE IS AN AMAZING SPACE It is an impressive unorthodox looking hall with the walls fanning out at a wide angle from the curved stage. It can seat over 150 people on the flat main floor with additional seating on the raised curved back level. On one side of the back section is a built in lounge with a food and drink bar for catered occasions. The theatre has a complex lighting system and two sound systems. One is a sophisticated public address system and the other is a state-of-the art multi-channel system. The person in the booth can combine the two systems to utilize almost 100 speakers placed strategically around the hall. When I visited the hall they were showing a video of the South Bay’s salt ponds shot from a blimp. The sound system led you to believe the hall was actually the cockpit of the blimp and I sort of felt the sound vibrations coming from the blimp’s engines.

The glassed in booth contains a bright high definition digital projector, a new 16mm film projector and the hall’s lighting and sound controls. The booth is a room that juts out above the raised seating area at the back of the hall.

There is a lot more to the theatre. Off the stage area there is a storage area on one side and a hallway on the other that leads to a green room and a much bigger room that Liz Keim, the Exploratorium’s Cinema Arts Program Director and a Senior Curator, uses as her office and work space. It can also be used as a reception room or food prep area for a reception in the theatre as it has a built in sink, long counter and cabinets. The office is in the south west corner of the building so Liz plans at some point to experiment projecting on the room’s large plate glass windows so people walking or driving past the Exploratorium can watch moving images.

ASIFA-SF will use the theatre on special occasions in the future, once the Exploratorium trains techs to operate the equipment (it isn’t a one person job) and they need to figure out other basics. Also a problem was created when they had to cut their budget and staff. They are presently closed every evening so our first event there might end up being on a weekend afternoon early next year.


FIVE SMALL BAY AREA ANIMATION STUDIOS Today when the public thinks of Bay Area animation studios they think of big local studios like Pixar, PDI/DreamWorks and Electronic Arts, but there are also several small companies creating impressive work. Here are five with websites that you can visit to see for yourself what they have produced.

Little Fluffy Clouds’ website is full of lovely, beautiful work. Betsy de Fries and Jerry van de Beek run this award winning studio that has been around since 1996. Before they opened Little Fluffy Clouds they were party to some of the amazing work created by Colossal Pictures. Today their list of clients includes IBM, Toyota, BOSE sound systems, Mercedes Benz and other major corporations. More importantly they have provided their clients lovely gentle images rather than the typical aggressive images and soundtracks found in many commissioned projects. Don’t miss seeing Today, a lovely short poem by Billy Collins made for the Sundance channel. Click on “more” to see other fine samples of their creativity.

Special Agent isn’t a San Francisco detective bureau run by Sam Spade; it is a full service animation boutique doing big things for their clients. It is run by animation director Phil Robinson (formerly a partner in WildBrain) and Any Capen (formerly a production manager at WildBrain). They represent some of the top directors and animators in the Bay Area including Ed Bell, Tim Blair, Mike Hewitt and Mike Oveerbeck. Their website shows work made in a variety of styles. There are impressive ads for Oracle, Nesquik, Starkist, Cookie Crisp and other clients. There is also a funny how to fasten your seatbelt message for Virgin America and a mini-documentary for Disney.

Cartoonland run by Kevin Coffey is the oldest studio in this group. He started it in his spare time while doing animation effects on major features at ILM and animating on national commercials at Colossal Pictures. Today, Cartoonland can produce anything from very silly stuff to serious hand-drawn or computer generated 2D animation with a warm, friendly style of art. Coffey has a long list of local and national credits including Safeway, Bank of America, Van De Kamp Foods, Farmer’s Insurance, United States Post Office, Nextel, Chevron, Wells Fargo Bank and others. He also provides book publishers with illustrations for books and interactive art for iPad and iPhone apps. He fills an interesting niche today, providing smaller clients with reasonably priced work.

Six Foot Two Productions, founded in 1992 by Robbin and Suzzane Atherly is an award winning studio that has produced TV commercials, motion picture visual effects, documentaries, music videos, interactive educational and entertainment games, web animation, museum displays and a lot of other things including multiple attractions that can be seen in the Disney Theme Parks. Their website includes ads for HP, Apple, Toyota, Iron Chef America and other clients.

Ghostbot, founded in 2004, is an award winning studio working in styles that appeal to youths who grew up loving cool stuff like anime, robots and monsters. One of their first clients was Mondo Media who needed help animating Happy Tree Friend. More recent clients include Weird Al Yankovic, Zynga, EA, Samsung, Dolby and a long list of other satisfied customers. Their longer shorts include La Munkya and Sly Cooper who has a gang of thieves. Alan Lau, Roque Ballesteros, and Brad Rau founded the company after paying their dues at WildBrain, Laika, Curious Pictures and other studios. This team goes above and beyond to blend style, story, and delivery to developing strong, memorable characters in a distinctive Ghostbot way.

If you have a cool website, contact us for a mention in a future newsletter.


PIXAR WILL NOT RELEASE A FILM IN 2014 Although Ed Catmull, their president, recently told the press they want to release an original feature every year and a sequel or prequel every other year, the release date of The Good Dinosaur has been moved from 2014 to Nov. 15, 2015. The last year they didn’t release a feature was 2005.

The change in the release date resulted from serious script problems that were not resolved. Bob Peterson was removed as the film’s director. A replacement director has not yet been named.

The movie is based on the premise that an asteroid never hit Earth, and dinosaurs and humans coexist. (That sounds like a dubious premise. KC) Catmull says that nobody remembers that you skipped a year, “but they will remember a bad film,” suggesting that the unresolved problems were serious flaws.

Pete Docter’s Inside Out, a project set inside the brain of a young girl, is still set for a June 19, 2015 release. Finding Dory was moved from that date to the summer of 2016.


Three Scenarios in which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail

CORRIE FRANCIS PARKS HAS CREATED ANOTHER FINE LOOKING SAND ANIMATED SHORT She writes, “I’d like to announce an exciting animated collaboration with my friend and writer Kelly Luce. Kelly is releasing her debut collection of short stories this October and I had the privilege of animating a few scenes from her book. With an oracular toaster, volcanoes and a woman in a shower among the plot points, this turned into a fun project. Enjoy this brief glimpse into Ms. Luce’s strange & wonderful mind.”

Corrie also says, “Kelly and I met at the MacDowell Colony during the Great Ice Storm of ’08. A week without power in rural New Hampshire is a great way to start a friendship. Five years later, we finally found an excuse to work together.”


WOMEN IN ANIMATION HAS REORGANIZED THEIR BAY AREA CHAPTER The local chapter had been inactive until Lead Lighting Technical Director Angelique Reisch, Animation Producer Mary Kate Dangoia and Storyboard Artist Angela Entzminger started a new version of the chapter last fall. The chapter includes women and men involved in animation, story, visual development, production, recruitment, modeling and lighting throughout the animation industry including film, television and gaming. Their goal is to build a vibrant animation community throughout Northern California encompassing all aspects of this great industry. Some of their events have included a screening of Monsters University at PIXAR and a panel of women in animation at the Walt Disney Family Museum. Check out the following links to see what they do: Facebook


Twitter: @WIASanFrancisco


DAVID TART IS STARTING A SEQUEL TO “THE STORY OF ANIMATION” His The Story of Animation won first prize in the professional films category in our first annual spring show. To find out about his sequel, Into the Animation Factory, visit his kickstarter campaign for details

CONGRATULATIONS TO GHOSTBOT ON YOUR BIG WIN AT THE OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL Written by a Kid ‘La Munkya’ by Roque Ballesteros, Ghostbot Studio in SF was awarded The Best Short Animation for Children .“Because it’s happy and creative.” Written by a Kid ‘La Munkya’ There is also a delightful making of the film at


LOUIS M. BRILL, AKA “LOUIE LIGHTS,” HAS AN ART BOOK OUT OF HIS LUMIA IMAGES For information about his unusual book, Sacred Destinations and Journeys Along the Way, visit

THE BAY AREA FILM COMMUNITY HAS LOST A GOOD FRIEND Ray Dolby’s whose Dolby Labs has been supportive of ASIFA-SF and the entire local film community for many years, was 80 when he died. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and was diagnosed with having leukemia in July.

Dolby was born in Portland and he attended Sequoia High School in Redwood City. While in high school he was a student projectionist. He also worked after school at Ampex Corp., where he started to figure out how to reduce unwanted background noise in tape recordings. While still working at Ampex he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Stanford (1957). He earned a doctoral degree in physics from Cambridge University in England in 1961. In 1965 he founded Dolby Laboratories in London and he later moved the company to the Bay Area.

Apparently his first successful product was a system for eliminating the static noise on cassette tapes used for copying music from vinyl albums. Today, Dolby Labs’ technology has been built into 7.4 billion consumer electronics products, from car stereos to DVD players to high-definition televisions. Dolby is a publicly traded company with 1,600 employees.


THIS COULD BE A DELIGHTFUL EXHIBIT “Comics, Cartoons, and Funny Papers: The Rube Goldberg, Phil Frank, and Gus Arriola Archives at Bancroft” will be at The Bancroft Library Gallery, UC Berkeley from Sept. 26 -Feb. 2014. (Open 10 am – 4 pm, Mon. – Fri.) Phil Frank’s long-running cartoon strips Travels with Farley and Farley have recently joined the drawings of Rube Goldberg, one of UC Berkeley’s best-known alumni, and Gus Arriola, creator of the ever popular Gordo strip, at The Bancroft Library. In addition works by underground artist Dan O’Neill, creator of Odd Bodkins, and Lou Grant, editorial cartoonist for the Oakland Tribune from 1954 to 1986 will be on display.


The Mill Valley Film Festival

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, Sun. Oct. 6, 12:30 PM at the Rafael and Sun. Oct. 13 at 11 AM at the Lark


Six animated shorts They are split between four “5@5” programs. The films are I Spy with my Little Eye from Germany, Luminara from Argentina, Marcel, King of Trevuren from the US, Two Chips from the US, Missing Scarf from Ireland and The Visitor from the Netherlands.

Details at


COMING IN NOVEMBER Our Nov. ASIFA-SF event is tentatively a screening of a historic 1980s Tournee of Animation program of exceptional shorts.


THURS OCT. 10, NOON – 1:50 PM, WORLD WAR TWO PROPAGANDA, HOW ANIMATED SHORTS AND DOCUMENTARIES MADE BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE WAR TAUGHT US WHAT TO THINK A presentation by Karl Cohen, SF State, Coppola Theatre, Fine Arts building, room 101, free. The presentation goes from the isolationist non-intervention era to Roosevelt making the war a popular cause and finally films that influenced the aftermath. A fascinating look at how Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Daffy and other animated stars persuaded us to recycle, pay our taxes (to buy guns, guns and more guns!), to laugh at Hitler and whom to hate. The docs include Women in Defense written by Eleanor Roosevelt to encourage housewives to get involved. There is also the Oscar winner Seeds of Destiny, a plea by the UN to rebuild Europe after the war. Two of the ten persuasive films to be shown won Oscars (2 others got nominations). Caution: some films are now seen as offensive.




Wed. October 23, 7:15 PM

At San Francisco State, Coppola Theatre

Fine Arts Building, Room 101, Public Invited, Free, See flyer for details




HAYO MIYAZAKI’S NEW AND FINAL FEATURE “THE WIND RISES” WAS ONE OF THE SURPRISES OF THE 2013 TELLURIDE FESTIVAL A print of The Wind Rises arrived at the town’s airport on the final day of the festival along with news that the great Japanese animator is retiring.

The film, Miyazaki’s 11th animated feature, is set between WWI and WWII. It is a fictional biography about the man who designed the Japanese Zero as a beautiful work of art. Unfortunately his dream machine resulted in the hated fighter plane Japan used in WWII to inflict tremendous death and destruction. The film also includes a tragic love story. The artwork for the wedding sequence is described as “one of the most beautiful things the director’s ever put on screen,” The Playlist.

The LA Times reports that the film’s pacifist message has stirred controversy as Japan’s present prime minister is trying to amend their constitution so Japan can rearm itself. Apparently Japanese conservatives on the Internet are calling Miyazaki a “traitor” and “anti-Japanese.”

The film is being screened theatrically in Japan and by the Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York international film festivals. It has received rave reviews as a work of exceptional art (“the animation is a joy to behold,” The Guardian, “astonishing visuals shout that life is wonderful,” The Hollywood Reporter), but some critics have already expressed mixed feelings about the film’s innocence in glorifying a plane that was built with slave labor and was used for kamikaze missions (not mentioned in the film). The Wind Rises will have its Oscar-qualifying run starting Nov. 8 at Landmark’s NuArt in LA and Disney will be distributing it in North America. Disney might just end up with 3 Oscar nominated animated features this year (Monsters University, Frozen (opening Nov. 27) and Miyazaki’s film). In Japan the film remained number one in ticket sales for several weeks, beating out hit US features released at the same time for the top spot.


HAYAO MIYAZAKI SAYS HE WILL RETIRE FROM DIRECTING ANIMATION Miyazaki held a press conference in Tokyo to announce he really is retiring from directing as his eyesight is failing and at 72 he feels he is too old to start another long term project. He said that if he started a film now he might be 80 before it is finished. Also it has become hard for him to draw very much each day (almost everything he and Studio Ghibli does is hand-drawn). It is unrealistic for him think he can finish another feature or even a short; however, he will continue to go to the studio every day as long as he can continue to drive there by himself. He refused to say at the press conference if he was giving up drawing completely. “I won’t make any promises, because I might break them.” For now the future of the studio is in the hands of its younger staff.


MARSHALL McLUHAN’S VISION OF THE GLOBAL VILLAGE HAS HAPPENED One example is Tencent, China’s largest Internet company has signed a deal with Disney Media Distribution to bring a collection of Disney, Pixar and Marvel Studios titles to the Chinese company’s streaming movie service, Hollywood VIP, a Netflix-like service.


LAST MONTH CARTOON D’OR 2013 ANNOUNCED THE SIX FINALISTS AND ON SEPT. 19 THE WINNER The six nominated films, all winners from top European festivals, are Betty’s Blues, by Rémi Vandenitte featuring the voice of Nancy Phelps, Head Over Heels, by Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, Am Tom Moody by Ainslie Henderson, Women’s Letters (Lettres de femmes), by Augusto Zanovello, and Off the Track (Ecart de conduite), by Rocio Alvarez.

The Award ceremony took place in the church of Saint-Pierre des Cuisines in Toulouse. It has been turned into a modern auditorium. The winner of the Best European Short Film is Head Over Heels by Tim Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly. Ron Diamond showed it in the 2012 Animation Show of Shows.


ENJOY A LOVELY HAND-DRAWN STUDENT FILM FROM FRANCE Carl Willat sent us a link to Le Retour by Natalia Chernysheva. He said, “It reminds me of some of my favorite John and Faith Hubley films.”


“GET A HORSE” IN 3D CGI FROM DISNEY IS A FASCINATING THEATRICAL MICKEY MOUSE SHORT The film begins with b/w footage that looks like it was made at the beginning of the sound era, but then characters come off the b/w screen and become 3D actors in full color watching the b/w cartoon from inside a movie theatre (think Purple Rose of Cairo). Gary Meyer showed it four times at Telluride and loves it and it may hold the distinction of being the first animated Disney short to be written and directed by a woman. Lauren MacMullan created the seven minute film that begins as a musical hayride with Mickey, Minnie, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow. Then the evil Peg Leg Pete disrupts things and the story gets exciting. Thanks to Ron Diamond we saw it in Sept. in his Animation Show of Shows program.

When the film was shown at Annecy and a trade show (D23) this year Disney/Lasseter misled the audience into believing the film was developed from a long lost unfinished film fragment from about 1928-‘29. In a long interview the director sets the record straight. It is a new film that starts out in the style of the first Mickey Mouse cartoons, a style she grew up loving. She used old soundtracks to build the new one so Walt’s voice is in fact the voice of Mickey. She talks about pitching the project to Lasseter and Ed Catmull before there was much of a script (Ed’s reaction was “Hey, let’s make that short”) and she talks about lots of other things. It opens with the feature Frozen on Nov. 27. The interview by Bill Deesowitz was published Aug. 26 by



DISNEY DECIDES NOT TO SEEK LEGAL ACTION NOW AGAINST A NAUGHTY HORROR FILM SHOT WITHOUT PERMISSION AT DISNEYLAND Escape From Tomorrow, opening Oct. 11, depicts Disney princesses as prostitutes and was filmed without permission inside Disney’s parks. While Disney may have a solid case against the film’s producer for trademark infringement, etc. it appears the company will ignore the film’s release at the present time. A legal challenge now might get lots of publicity and benefit the film’s box office.






”GRAND THEFT AUTO V” FROM ROCKSTAR GAMES GROSSED OVER $800 MILLION IN ONE DAY, BREAKING THE RECORD FOR FIRST-DAY SALES OF A VIDEO GAME The title Once again sex and violence sells! easily passed the first day sales record ($500+ million) set last year by Call of Duty II. Grand Theft Auto V had a combined production and marketing budget of $265 million, making it the most expensive video game ever made. Consumers around the world gathered in anticipation to be among the first to experience the new product! Grand Theft Auto IV was released in 2008.


THE OTTAWA ANIMATION FESTIVAL’S TOP WINNERS The Grand Prize for Best Short Animation went to Lonely Bones by Rosto (France, the Netherlands) “For the engrossing, immersive, dreamlike experience.” The Grand Prize for Best Animated Feature went to Tito on Ice by Max Andersson and Helena Ahonen (Sweden) “For its’ daring use of the medium” and an Honorable Mention to The Boy and the World (O Menino e o Mundo) by Alê Abreu (Brazil) “Because it was full of some of the most beautiful images we’ve ever seen.” The Best Short Animation for Children went to Written by a Kid ‘La Munkya’ by Roque Ballesteros, Ghostbot Studio “Because it’s happy and creative.” For a full list of winners (posted Sept. 22)


ASIFA-HOLLYWOOD SEEKS ENTRIES FOR THEIR 41ST ANNUAL ANNIE AWARDS For entry information visit: for categories/ rules


FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES CONTINUE TO GET SUED FOR A VARIETY OF ABUSES by KC When I searched for information about the disposition of the $11 billion suit against the Education Management Corporation that runs the Art Institute chain, I found very little information. I did read that a judge dismissed a challenge to the suit by the corporation, so the legal action continues.

What I found instead was a lot of news items about other for-profit schools flaunting the laws of our land and getting into trouble. I found multi-million dollar lawsuits against individual schools in the Art Institute chain and also suits against other for-profits that do not teach art.

A former employee of The Art Institute of Tucson has filed a lawsuit in federal court this year accusing the school of discrimination and wrongful termination. At another Art Institute school in the Midwest four staff members filed an age discrimination suit saying the school has tried to get rid of better paid employees over 40.

The Career Education Corporation that runs the Culinary Academy in San Francisco and dozens of other schools has paid impressive sums of money over the years to settle lawsuits. One news item reported that in August 2013 they paid over $10 million to settle claims for their systematically deceived students with misleading advertisements and inflated job placement statistics. They apparently paid out $20 million in 2012 and $40 million in 2010 in cases against their culinary schools. Also their shareholders have sued them at least once claiming that the company doctored its graduation and job placement statistics in order to avoid losing its accreditation and eligibility for federal funding.

At Donald Trump University (not a real university, but the school’s name sounds impressive) they face a $40 million suit representing over 5,000 former students who claim he charges a great deal for real estate information that is available for free on the Internet. They also claim Trump U. uses false and misleading recruiting practices, etc.

If I kept digging I probably would fill the entire newsletter with news of other for-profits being sued and losing lawsuits, but I’ll stop with one last ugly item. In July 2013 Chester Career College (formerly Richmond School of Health and Technology) in Virginia paid $5 million to eight former students who claimed the school targeted minorities to get them to enroll and then the school failed to provide an adequate education.

Unfortunately it appears that a lot of students are either unaware that there are far less expensive state and city run schools or they don’t have the qualifications to get into one. Many who enroll in more expensive for-profit schools probably lack the skills or aptitude necessary to complete a course of study and then to find work in their highly competitive chosen field. At some school I read about over half of the incoming students dropping out in the first year. They may be the lucky ones who just owe the cost of one or two semesters.

Potential students need to know the truth about for-profit schools. The schools often have no admission standards except the ability to pay. They rarely turn anyone away for lack of talent, education or ability to communicate in English. Students need to understand that getting accepted by a for-profit school doesn’t mean you will get a great education and end up on Easy Street with a great high paying career. And for some reason the school recruiters don’t stress that if you get an educational loan from Uncle Sam you have no choice but to pay it back. While some for-profit schools are well run and provide a good education, others hire recruiters that will say whatever it takes, including lying, to get kids to sign contracts. The school may or may not have adequate facilities, equipment and/or faculty. Some schools are well aware that some prospective students don’t have what it takes to graduate or even pass their first year courses, but “money talks.”


HENRY SELICK TO BE A GUEST OF THE 5TH MONTREAL STOP-MOTION FILM FESTIVAL The festival will be held October 18-20 at Concordia University. The event will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of The Nightmare Before Christmas with a screening of the film that will be presented by the director Henry Selick.


RICHARD WILLIAMS HAS FANS EVERYWHERE Nancy Phelps told me about a young animator who was on the student film jury at ANIBAR in Peja, Kosovo. His mother once gave him a choice, to either buy new shoes or buy The Animators Survival Kit. “I bought the book although I already had a scanned version. I was so proud looking at my old shoes with holes because I knew that I made the right choice.” He also bought the expanded edition when it came out.


ANIBAR, AN ECOLOGY CONCIOUS FESTIVAL, IS EVEN BETTER THE SECOND TIME AROUND (ANIBAR ANIMATION FESTIVAL, August 9 – 24, 2013 in Peja, Kosovo) by Nancy Denny Phelps Sometimes when you attend an animation festival for the second time it isn’t quite as exciting as you remember, but this is certainly not the case with the Anibar Animation Festival in Peja, Kosovo. This year the film programming was excellent and the staff so warm and gracious and I returned home with many happy memories.

Anibar not only brings excellent animation to the community, the festival also has a strong emphasis on ecology as Peja, located at the edge of a plain with beautiful mountains rising above it, is a festival concerned about protecting the earth. The mountains are a popular rock climbing area in the summer and are known for skiing in the winter. The stream running through the center of the city flows down from pristine springs in the mountains.

To educate people to the importance of caring for their beautiful surroundings, to promote sustainable living and to lower the impact of the festival on the environment, Anibar has inaugurated a series of down to earth programs that festival goers could participate in called Earth. To manage waste and promote local products everyone that brought empty aluminium cans for recycling to the information booth received local organic tea as a reward.

The number of visitors travelling to the festival from outside Peja increases every year. People were encouraged to bicycle to the festival instead of driving to help reduce the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Everyone who peddled from their city to Peja was rewarded with free admission to screenings based on the number of kilometres they biked. Free water was available so that visitors didn’t have to buy bottled water. There was also a daily workshop for kids using a variety of materials that are usually thrown away to create animation.

This year Nik and I were invited to arrive two days before the festival began so that Nik could give a Master Class specifically for the volunteers about the relation between music and animation. It also was Nik’s turn to serve on the International Jury along with our old friend Andrea Martignoni, Italian sound designer, and Albanian graphic artist Ilir Kaso. With ten programs to watch the jury had their work cut out for them because even though the programs were short, the quality of the competition films was very high. Along with films that have already won numerous awards such as Dutch animator Hisko Hulsing’s Junkyard and Feral by Daniel Sousa from the United States, there were also many new delights.

In keeping with the festival theme Earth, Spanish animators Joseph Prim and Fernando Maldonado’s Shave it was screened as part of the opening night ceremony. The five minute film is the story of a monkey in a jungle where bulldozers are destroying the trees and vegetation. The monkey finds a razor and uses it to shave his body. With a human appearance, he moves to the city and sets out to conquer the world of business and gain political power. When he is elected President he is ready to make changes. The other two opening night films were

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the twenty-five second film Performance and Feral.

Capturing a convincing portrait of Alzheimer’s from the afflicted person’s point of view is very difficult. Polish clay animation master Izabela Plucinska made a very good portrayal of it with her latest film Liebling (Darling). The film is a close personal view of a person’s descent into a world of fear where your closest loved one becomes a stranger and familiar objects turn into a trap. Izabela has

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created a captivating picture of the feeling of being lost and alienated, as a woman attempts to put pieces of her life together without success. The jury seems to have agreed with me because Liebling received the Grand Prix.

French animator Augusto Zanovello’s Women’s Letters touched me deeply. Zanovello used stop motion to tell the story of a medic on a World War One battle field who has run out of bandages and uses love letters to patch up shattered bodies. The emotional story is beautifully animated and very fitting this year because the 100th Anniversary of the start of the First World War is being remembered all over Europe. Women’s Letters has been nominated for the 2013 Cartoon D’Or. The Cartoon D’Or winner will be announced on 19 September at Cartoon Forum in Toulouse, France.

Egyptian animator Mohamed Ghazala, Fatmir Gjevukaj , character designer and painter from Prestina, Kosovo, and Serbian animator Krunoslav Jovic did double duty as jurors for the Balkan films and student animation. This year there was a big improvement in the quality of the Balkan films. Greece, Serbia, Albania, Turkey, Croatia, and Bulgaria were all represented on the screen.

The Unfinished Painting by Rositsa Vangelova from Bulgaria stood out from the other films to me. Her student film combines classic animation with live action to tell the story of a young surrealist artist trying to complete a painting. The eyes are the last missing piece of the women’s face. No matter how many sketches he draws, his attempts to finish the picture are futile.

The style of the film was influenced by the 20th Century Italian artist Giorgio De Chirico’s work. In his art De Chirico evoked the hidden meanings behind everyday life. His scenes of empty cities, mysterious menacing statues, and strange combinations of everyday objects inspired the artists of the Surrealist movement.

In the Student category German animator Gottfried Mentor’s Oh Sheep is a favourite of mine. You can read my comments about the film in my 2013 Anima Brussels article.

Israeli animators Liran Kapel and Yael Dekel’s film Nyosha is based on the recollections of Liran’s grandmother during World War II. The true story of Naomi (Nyosha) Kapel, a Polish holocaust survivor, is told by Nyosha herself. I felt that mixing the puppets with drawn animation scenes distracted from the story rather than adding to it but I could overlook that as I listened to the elderly lady recall her dream as a ten year old girl to buy a pair of shoes with shiny buckles on them. The 12 minute film was Liran and Yael’s graduation project at Sapir College in Gaza and I look forward to seeing more interesting, advanced work from them.

Along with the competition screenings and three programs for children, there was a tribute to the great pioneer of Serbian animation Nikola Majdak who passed away earlier this year. In 1963 he made the films The Soloist and The Chalk-Man that were the first animated films made in Belgrade. Nikola’s work on over 300 documentary, feature, and animated films as director, scriptwriter, director of photography, and camera man has influenced a generation of young film makers and he had been honoured with numerous awards world wide.

Nikola was Head of the Department of Film and Television Camera at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts and head of the Animation Department at Dunav Film School. He was also my colleague on the ASIFA International Board (Association Internationale du Film d’Animation) representing Serbia for many years, and I considered him a close friend.

Mohamed Ghazala presented a program of African animation. Many people are surprised to discover that animation thrives all over the African continent. As Mohamed’s program proved this culturally diverse continent has been creating animation since the late 1930’s when the Frenkel Brothers made their first film in Egypt. Moustapha Alassane from

Nigeria is one of the most widely known African film makers with more than thirty animated, live action, and documentary films to his credit. He has sat on numerous festival juries as well as winning numerous awards for his work. Mohamed’s program included Moustapha’s 1963 film Bon Voyage Sim as well as The Tale of How by South Africa’s Blackheart Gang which has won numerous awards worldwide.

Honayn’s Shoe which earned Mohamed the 2009 Animation Award at the African Academy Awards, with music composed and played by my husband Nik Phelps, was also part of the screening. As well

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Mohamed is an assistant professor at Minia University and has recently published Animation in Africa, the only serious book about African animation. (*see note at end of this article) Mohamed is also founder and International Board Member of ASIFA Egypt.

Unfortunately I did not get to see Animated New Wave, the program of contemporary Italian animation present by Andrea Martignoni. I had already seen several of the films and Andrea gave us 2 DVD’s of Italian animation that have all of the films on them so I will be able to enjoy them at home.

Andrea gave a two day workshop. On the first day he showed films, many of which he had worked on as sound designer and composer, and talked about the art of combining sounds with film. On the second day the workshop members had the opportunity to put what they learned the previous day in action as they took to the streets to record sounds to incorporate into an existing short film.

I presented Stories Women Tell tracing the history of women animators from Lillian Friedman, the first woman to animate at a major animation studio down to the present. Lillian animated and directed at least fifteen films at the Fleischer Brothers studio although she was only credited on six of them. I showed her 1936 Betty Boop – Be Human, a lesson about animal cruelty.

Mary Ellen Bute, who lived in NYC, is another early unsung heroine. She was a pioneer in mixing music and electronic animation to create what she called “visual music” where abstract images moved in sync with music (similar in concept to Oskar Fischinger’s work about the same time). Symphony # 4 – Escape (1937) is the example of her work that I opted to screen.

Everyone is familiar with the brilliant films of Joanna Quinn but Elles (1992) is not shown frequently. I think her hand drawn depiction of two of Toulouse Lautrec’s models taking a lively and boisterous break from posing is a classic.

I ended my screening with the 2005 Mind the Gap by Russian animator Anastasia Zhuravieva. This creative depiction of a busy twenty-four hours in a Moscow subway station created using ordinary sewing supplies such as buttons, safety pins, and a zipper is a true classic.

With three cinemas, two of them outdoors, workshops, master classes, daily director’s chats, and nightly parties there was plenty to see and do every day. There were also a lot of volunteers to answer questions or help at the information booth. Even though Anibar is only four years old it is full of great young energy. None of the organizers are over twenty-five years of age and two are still at university. The seventy-five enthusiastic volunteers chosen from the one hundred fifty that applied ranged in age from thirteen to eighteen years old.

Once again this year an open air theatre was created by volunteers at the hill top park’s lake. Unfortunately due to the drought the lake was too low for us to be able to watch the films from rubber boats, but it was still a lovely setting for a film screening. Following the evening screenings at the lake there was a nightly dance party with live bands ranging from reggae to Balkan rock. The bands were followed by DJ’s for late night dancing. The festival provided a camp ground for visitors in the park’s forest. There was a nightly campfire at the camp which was the perfect place to relax and have conversations under the stars. The staff prides itself on cleaning the camping area thoroughly after the festival and leaving the park exactly as they found it.

I was invited to host the director’s chat every afternoon at the Exit Café, the official festival meeting place. I was already friends with many of the guests I interviewed but I had not met Fatmir Gjevukaj prior to Anibar so I was particularly interested to talk to him one on one and hear what questions the audience had to ask him.

Born in Peja, Fatmir lived in Austin, Texas for several years working as a character artist in the video game industry. He is also a very accomplished painter and when he showed us his work I was particularly taken with how expressive the eyes were. It seems to me as if Fatmir looks into the soul of his subject through their eyes.

Gjevukaj told us about the high school he attended in Peja which at the time was the top school in the Balkan’s for the arts. Sadly during the war its quality declined but it is slowly regaining its former prestige. Fatmir and his family returned to Pristina, Kosovo, the capital city, in 2012 where he is founder and co-owner of the new School of Visual Arts KAP, the first 3D and animation school in Kosovo. There were no short animations at the festival from Kosovo this year but hopefully with Fatmir’s new school this will soon change.

After all the talking at the Director’s Chats, many of us stayed at the Exit for a cold beer. A word about the beer, Peja brand beer which is the only beer brewed in Kosovo, is very refreshing and made with the clean, clear water from the mountain springs. August in Peja is extremely hot, sometimes reaching close to 40 C. (close to 100 degrees) and nothing tastes better that an ice cold beer when it is that hot. Kosovo also has excellent red wine which is perfect for the warm evenings.

One afternoon the festival took the guests up into the mountains to see first-hand the majestic beauty of the Rugova Gorge where the high sheer walls of the gorge are a rock climber’s delight. Anibar Executive Director Vullnet Sanaja is also an avid ecologist and belongs to a group that builds and restores mountain trails. After a drive up the curvy paved mountain road we walked up a dirt road to a trail that Vullnet and his friends are responsible for maintaining. The trail followed a babbling stream up to two waterfalls. Wild life abounds in these mountains and we were told that bears are reported to still live there although no one from Peja in our group had ever seen one. After the walk we were treated to a meal of traditional local specialities at a lovely rustic restaurant in the mountains. The large platters of assorted grilled meat had some of the best goat I have ever eaten on them. Eating outside with views of the mountains added to the experience.

The biggest problem with Anibar is that I eat too much. One of my nicest memories from last year was the delicious food that Executive Director Vullnet Sanaja’s mother Nevryze with the help of his cousin Qefsere cooked for the festival guests and staff every evening. It was a special treat to eat home cooking which is quite different from restaurant fare. Once again we were all treated to her special evening meals and it was just as delicious as I remembered.

Nik and I were honoured to be invited by Nevryze to lunch at the Sanaja family home. It was so nice to get to know Nevryze and her husband over a delicious, relaxed meal. She is a charming and gracious lady who is a teacher but loves to cook.

Last year Rron Bajri, festival Artistic Director, introduced me to the Qebaptore Te Gega restaurant and I ate lunch there every day. The restaurant serves some of the best grilled meat and peppers that I have ever eaten. The festival staff remembered how much I loved Qebaptore Te Gega so after the hour long drive from Prestina airport Nik and I were taken there for a late night welcome feast. Rron ordered the largest platter of assorted grilled meat that I have ever seen with cold Peja beer to wash it down and Nik finally got to taste the food I had talked about all year. I introduced my good friend Mohamed to the delights of the restaurant and we ate lunch together almost every day. The chief even let Mohamed grill meat and peppers on the open grill in the front window.

When Mohamed and I are at the same festival we make it a point to visit the local market or bazaar together. Peja has a large bazaar surrounding the historic Bajrakli Mosque. The date that the mosque was built is unknown but it is believed to be from the first half of the 15th century. The architecture is beautiful. Nik, Mohamed, and I spent many happy hours wandering through the narrow street stalls of the bizare. Nik and Mohamed bought matching pairs of plaid short pants and I came home with pink high top tennies along with the several extra kilos I gained.

Fiona Beqir, Rron Bajri, and Vullnet Sanaja were the perfect hosts and I can’t thank them enough for inviting me to Anibar again. I saw a big improvement in attention to detail this year but the staff has a lot more work ahead of them as they are trying to build a local audience in a community where there is no cinema. The only theatre closed during the Communist era. The projector and sound system were so terrible that people stopped going. Now it only opens for special screenings such as the festival. Hopefully in the future Anibar will be able to schedule monthly film shows of animated features so that when the yearly festival happens there will be a larger local audience.

I encourage anyone who is invited to Anibar to accept the invitation. You will see lots of good films, explore a fascinating city, and have an experience that you will never forget. I am already looking forward to next year at Anibar!

I am off to KROK in the Ukraine next and will give you a full account of my adventures when I return.

*Note: Mohamed Ghazala’s book Animation in Africa covers works from N. Africa to South Africa. There is a forgotten film that dates from 1915, several short films made before WWII and more recent work including features, theatrical cartoons, work made for TV and personal films. I was fascinated by several parts of the book including a discussion of how Europeans depicted black Africans in animation and cartoons including Herge’s Tin Tin.

The limited first printing is almost sold out and the English edition has flaws. Nancy Phelps is working with Mohamed on revising the text for a revised edition that could be available in 2014.


MAJOR SEQUELS TO BE RELEASED IN 2015 Universal will release the fourth installment of the Jurassic Park franchise, Jurassic World on June 12, 2015. Warner Bros.’ tentatively-titled Batman vs. Superman, will open July 25. Disney’s schedule for 2015 includes Star Wars: Episode VII, another Avengers movie and Pixar’s Inside Out and late in 2015 The Good Dinosaur. The next installment in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will be delayed beyond its planned summer 2015 release date. It might be a 2016 release. Script problems are stated as the reason for the delay, but after Disney’s Lone Ranger disaster, possibly a $190 million loss, they might be rethinking the budget. The last Pirates movie, 2011’s On Stranger Tides, grossed $1.04 billion