October 27, 2008
If you didn't get a chance to attend Richard Williams' masterclass at the 2008 Ottawa International Animation Festival, and live on the west coast, you may have another chance to catch him. Beginning today, the award-winning animator will be touring several west coast cities until November 7th.

Tonight, ACM SIGGRAPH's Vancouver chapter will host a free two-hour masterclass, signing and a screening of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

On Wednesday the 29th, he will be in Redmond, WA, at as a run-up to Seattle's 2D Or Not 2D festival. While the event is free, it is open only to DigiPen BFA alumni and working professionals, so follow the link if you qualify to find out how to get your tickets.

On Thursday the 30th, it's Portland time with the Cascade ACM SIGGRAPH chapter. The event is free for chapter members and 5.00 dollars for everyone else, but attendees need to RSVP by the 28th.

The last public event on November 2nd happens in San Francisco. A benefit for ASIFA-SF, this event will feature the two-hour masterclass and the event will be moderated by author and chapter president Karl Cohen (shown above, left, with Richard Williams, and Cohen's wife Denise McEvoy at the OIAF Animators' Picnic). The admission is only 9.00 dollars and only 6.50 for a child or a senior. A mere pittance for the wealth of information and experience that will be available and to help a great organization.

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May 29, 2008
Richard Williams is one of animation's living legends; if you don't know why, then all you have to do is follow these three steps: (1) Rent Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (2) Watch the opening scene, in which Roger is tormented in an homage to Tex Avery. (3) Put your eyes back in your head when you realize that was probably one of the least remarkable bits of animation Williams has ever directed.

If you're in San Francisco tomorrow, you can better appreciate Williams' brilliance at ASIFA-SF's tribute to the master, a free event in honour of his 75th birthday. His title sequences, commercials and more will be screened, along with the documentary I Drew Roger Rabbit and an eight-minute promo of the soon-to-be-released DVD set of his Animation Masterclass lecture given at Blue Sky Studios.

The screenings will be at the McBean Theater in the Exploratorium Museum tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

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July 9, 2007

Thinking about global warming this summer? Animate your thoughts on the subject, and enter to win yourself a copy of Toon Boom Solo AND get screened on IAD (International Animation Day). The ASIFA (International Animated Film Association) and Toon Boom Animation Inc. announced the launch of an International Animation Contest for the Web this past week.

The contest is scheduled from July 6 until October 28, 2007. The production date for entries must be between January 1, 2007 and September 24, 2007, so get cracking! Games are not eligible, but interactive creations that run on autoplay only are acceptable.

Work can be created using Toon Boom Studio, Adobe Flash, Shockwave (.SWF), or other equivalent software packages, respecting the theme: "Global Warming" in any language. Ten movies will be chosen and submitted to a public vote. The three movies with the highest votes will be showcased online for a year, AND will be screened in different cities around the world during the evening celebrating the International Animation Celebration Day on October 28th, 2007. For more info, visit ToonBoom's contest site.

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April 14, 2007
I've let a small pile of items gather over the last few weeks, because I haven't had the time (or, with my recent cold, the stamina) to mention them. Here they are, in no particular order.

Last March we devoted the In Progress section of the magazine to Today, a short based on a poem by poet laureate Billy Collins and directed by Little Fluffy Clouds co-founders Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries. It was announced recently that Today will join 19 other promotional films (Today was commissioned by the Sundance Channel) in competition at the Annecy festival in June. Congratulations, Jerry and Betsy!

The Norwich International Animation Festival changed its name to Aurora a few weeks ago. Can't argue with that, but their reasoning is questionable. "The change of the name is the annual festival's latest move towards a truly multidisciplinary program, and represents the opinion that 'animation' itself has become a restrictive tag, which rarely does justice to the myriad artistic activity that it encompasses," reads the press release. "It follows, then, that an 'animation festival' is no longer capable of staying abreast of this enormous artistic diversity—so in order to more freely reflect the way the programmers think animation is heading, we're dropping the label." Huh? The debate as to what is and isn't animation has been going on for a long time, and animation festivals—not to mention books, academic programs and even mainstream coverage—have evolved to suit. What's the big deal? Seems to me that if they really wanted to "[challenge] the traditional boundaries of animation," they'd present the nifty installations and live performances they're trumpeting under the old name, then defend their presence. It's not much of a challenge if you punk out and change your name.

If you've been hungering for new Ghibli material and you can't wait until the Sci-Fi Channel's North American rights to Earthsea lapse in 2009, you can always pick up the Japanese DVD of Tales of Earthsea (Gedo Senki) in June, which will come with English subtitles; or you can get the Iblard Time OAV, a collaboration between Ghibli and surrealist artist Naohisa Inoue, which is due for a July 4 release on both DVD and Blu-ray disc (both come with a soundtrack CD).

Next Saturday ASIFA-Hollywood will be hosting the one-day Stop-Motion Expo at Woodbury University in Burbank. Guests include Will Vinton, Screen Novelties' Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh and Robot Chicken's Tennessee Reid Norton. $25 for the panel discussions, $35 for the seminars or $50 for the whole thing. ASIFA-Hollywood members get a $10-$15 discount.

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October 27, 2006
Karl Cohen at ASIFA San Francisco (ASIFA-SF) wrote about International Animation Day, and made a list of International Animation Day events. This is a long read—it covers every continent that has at least one cinema—so you'd better sit down.

[Source: Maureen Furniss's Animation Journal mailing list.]

In 2002, ASIFA (www.asifa.net), the International Animated Film Association, launched a global event to celebrate the art of animation. October 28th was proclaimed as International Animation Day, commemorating the first public performance of Emile Reynaud's Theatre Optique at the Grevin Museum in Paris in 1892.

Beyond the several national ASIFA national Chapters (more than 30 different countries) which celebrate the International Animation Day, ASIFA invites you to join in by screening animated films, organizing workshops, exhibiting artwork and stills, providing technical demonstrations, and helping to promote the art of animation.

Such a celebration is an outstanding opportunity of putting the animated film in the limelight, and making this art more accessible to the public.

This year International Animation Day will be observed in 49 different countries all over the world. For the first time, countries as culturally diverse as Columbia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Turkey, Lebanon, Greece, Cuba, Estonia, Italy, China and even Russia will participate.

In Brazil, Canada, Finland, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Portugal, Spain and USA, there will be several days of celebration in different places, two weeks in France and a whole month in Beijing China (French Institute).

In 2006, a system of program exchanges has been created to help participants put together culturally diverse animation programs from around the world. Some ASIFA chapters have planned free programs on DVD (Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Israel, Japan and USA Atlanta) and some programs have also been proposed from countries without ASIFA chapters (Argentina, Brazil and Portugal). This will definitely be a great benefit for the development of International Animation Day.

List of the countries participating, by continents:

Africa - Algeria, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal.
America - Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Paraguay, Uruguay, USA.
Asia - China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, Taiwan.
Europe - Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom.
Oceania - Australia.


The 6th and 7th of November, the association Patrimoine and the French Institute will organize a lecture with Mr Jean-Pierre Pagliano about Paul Grimault and the French Animation Graduation Showcase will be screen in four different cities.

Between the 21th and the 27th of October, in Accra, The NAFTI (The National Film and Television Institute) will organize the second edition of the African animation celebration.

The 28th and the 30th of October, the French Institute of Meknès, organizer of the Intenational Animation Cinema Festival (FICAM), will organize several screenings of the French feature films It's Raining Cats and Dogs by Jacques-Rémy Girerd and Kaena, the Prophecy by Chris Delaporte and Pascal Pinon and will organize a workshop with the Moroccan animation director and teacher Said Bouftass.

The Neighbourhood Film Festival of Dakar, will present the French animation graduation film showcase.


The 27th of October, at the Spanish Cultural Center, the Cordoba International Animation Festival "Anima", will screen a selection of animations from its three first editions as well as the French animation graduation showcase.

At Villa Maria (Cordoba state), in collaboration with the collective of artists DestilArte Project, Anima festival will also organize the screening of a selection of animation schools from the UNC and the UNVM.


At the Demiurgo Animation Workshop, screening of a selection of student works, a Nicobis Showcase (a production company that developped animation in Bolivia) for its 25th birthday, the feature Emeterio (1965), first animation film in Bolivia. The celebration will end by the screening of two features from Ghibli studios with the collaboration of the Japanese embassy.

Coordinate by the ABCA (Brazilian Animation Cinema Association), The International animation day will be celebrate in 19 different cities all over the country, with many screenings of the ABCA programme, the House of Animation of Portugal's programme, the French Graduation Film Showcase's programme and differentworkshops and lectures.


The 28th of October, the Canadian Film Institute in Ottawa, in collaboration with the Ottawa International Animation Festival will screen a special program of ten short films, from Fantasmagorie by Emile Cohl, 1908 to Red Buffalo Skydive by Jude Norris, 2005.


The 17th of November, The Emily Carr Institute of Vancouver will present the French Animation Graduation Showcase.


The 28th of October, à the CinéRobothèque, the NFB (National Film Board of Canada) will organise a master workshop « Animation witloof préméditation » with Jean Detheux.

The same day, will begin the animation contest « Animate your clicks ! »


The 27th at the Musée de la civilisation in Québec, will held a live performance by Frédéric Alouf, inspired by Norman McLaren's work and the 28th and 29th, workshops witloof camera will be directed by Geneviève Roy and Karl Lemieux, and the 29th, a program of McLaren's classiques will be screen


The 28th of October, The Cinematheque québécoise will screen the 10 films selected for the Animation Celebration Contest organized by the AFCA and Toonboom.


The 24th of October, the Cinetheque of the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso, will organise two lectures, one with Jaime Cañas Lemesch and the other with Carlos Sespedes Aravena and will screen the French animation graduation showcase, the student films of Cordoba university, two short films programs and the documentary Magia Russica.


At the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano and the Universidad Los Libertadores, ASIFA Colombia will organize several screenings (including French animation graduation showcase), speeches and a forum.

The International School of Film and TV of Havana will organize a whole week of exhibition of contemporary animation in the school and in San Antonio de los Baños. Besides, there will be a workshop and a special lecture of the greatest collector of animated films in the country.

The 15th Asunción International Film Festival (5th to 26th of October) celebrated animation in screening 7 animated features : Waking Life, Howl´s Moving Castle, The Dog, the General and the Birds, The King and the Monckinbir, It's Raining Cats and Dogs, Black Mor's Island, The Triplettes of Belleville and over 30 animated shorts from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Czech Republic and the United States.

The 26th of October, Lourdes Villagomez will give a presentation of Mexican Animation and a talk on independent animated shorts production in her country


From the 9th to the 14th of November the Cinemateca Uruguaya will present 5 days of animation, on the topic proposed by the French Foreign Office : « Le Long s'anime », with 7 French feature films, from The King and theMockinbird by Paul Grimault to Black Mor's Island by Jean-François Laguionie.


ASIFA Central will organize screenings in several schools in Michigan, including Grand Valley State University, Kellogg Community College, and Kendall College of Art and Design.


Baltimore University will screen the French animation graduation showcase.

ASIFA Hollywood will do a setting entitled "Smokin' Toons"


ASIFA San Francisco
ASIFA-San Francisco asked David Andrews, a former director at ILM, to present an illustrated talk on creating animated characters in features. He discussed various acting styles to a large audience of students, professionals and the general public at San Francisco State University. He showed clips that included Snow White and Dobby, the character he directed in the second Harry Potter feature.


ASIFA Atlanta
The 4th of November, in the Atlanta Relapse Theatre, ASIFA Atlanta will screen several animation programs, including the French Animation Graduation Showcase, ASIFA Japan program and ASIFA Hungary program



The French Cultural Center of Beijing will present during the whole month of October a large panorama of French contemporary animation, with Christian Volckman - who directed the feature Renaissance- as a special guest. Three short films programs and six features will be screened (Renaissance, Kirikou and the Sorceress, It's Raining Cats and Dogs, The Triplets of Beleville, Kaena the Prophecy), with a special non stop day screening, the 28th of Octobre at the Chinese Cinematheque.


The 28th of October, in Tata Theatre, National Centre for the Performing Arts at Mumbai (Bombay), ASIFA India and TASI (The Animation Society of India), will organize several events.

Kicking off the celebration will be the Arts Mela, a 3 hour long free flow banquet of screenings, interactive sessions and animation art. The screenings will take place in multiple mini theatre settings, highlighting the finest of Indian and international animation from studios and students. In addition, the best animation from the Gaming industry and the best Indian ad films will be screened. A special showing of the award winning short film, Ryan, from the National Film Board of Canada, will also be screened. Interactive sessions will include Indian Puppet Shows, Claymation/Stop Motion, 3D Animation and 2D Animation.

The main auditorium activities will include the world premiere of Maaa, a short film by Animagic for the Children's Film Society of India. This will be followed by the ASIFA Awards of Excellence for the best films in Indian animation for 2006. After dinner will be a special sneak screening of a new animated feature film… surprise!

Smaller regional celebrations are planned to be held in other cities around the country including Delhi and Bangalore.


L'ASIFA Iran celebrates the day in Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts, a bit in advance this year, from October 6th to 8th. It will include screenings of French new animated films, with the co-operation of the French Embassy, two workshops on traditional and new technology in 2D, 3D computer animation, two meetings of three generations of animators, an exhibition of drawing and design for animation from 30 artists, a Media Art non stop screening, a tribute to Mr. N. Karimi one of the pioneers in Animation art and a closing ceremony including awarding Plate of Honor to top artists in different professions of animation.

There are some parallel activities in animation held in the provinces as well.

From 27th of October to 28th of November, Co-ordinated by ASIFA Israel, nine different places will celebrate International Animation Day, in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, in screening 19 different programs including Among the Thorns, Lotta and Uzi Geffenblad, the documentary Pace of Peace, the French animation graduation showcase, The Moon and the Sun by John Canemaker, the Portuguese House of Animation's Program and an International selection of short films.

ASIFA Japan will organize screenings at Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto.


On the 28th of October at Aman, the Abu Mahjoob Studios will screen several Jordanian short films from Hadi and Hajjawari Productions, Jordan Pioneers Productions, Tharamedia, Saba & Younis E-Solutions, and animation independant directors Abtal Al Mahaba, Mahmmoud Hindawi, Mohammad Hushki, Lama Al Johary, Tarek Al Khateeb and Anas Balawi.


Three days of célébration will be organized between the 17th and 19th of November, at the Seoul Animation Center Theatre, by the ASIFA Korea, in association with Korean Animation Artists Association, Korean Society of Cartoon & Animation Studies and Korean Independant Animation.

On the 28th of October, the French Institute of Beyruth will screen the French animation graduation showcase and a selection of Lebanese short films.

From the 27th to the 31th of October, in the Digital Content Institute and Dun-Nan Eslite Bookshop in Taipei and Tunghai University in Taichung, the Taiwan Animation Association (TAA) will organize the screening of "Taiwan New Talents", « Welcome Taiwan-2004 Annecy », "ASIFA Japan program ", "French animation graduation showcase from AFCA" and films from the Russian " Pilot Animation Studio". There will also be two master classes, the first with the French director and producer Georges Lacroix, and the second with the English director Joanna Quinn and the producer and scripwriter Les Mills.


From the 28th to the 30th of October, at Tashkent, the Uzbekfilm studios will screen the French animation graduation showcase, the Portuguese program of the House of Animation, the documentary about Russian animation Magia Russica, a program of Argentinean University of Cordoba graduation films and will propose a meeting with the Uzbek director Sergey Alibekov, with a retrospective of his short films. There will also be a meeting with the pupils of Children's Art Studio.

International Animation Day will also be celebrated in Indonesia.


ASIFA Austria will present "Mozart Animations" - animated films connected with Mozart, "YEAH ! - Vol. 01", Yearly European Animation Highlights, A programme from the Crossing Europe Filmfestival.


From 26th of October to the 7th of November, the Folioscope Association will present the Best of Anima 2006 in 14 movie theatres of Wallonie, Brussels and Flanders.


The High School of Visual Arts of La Cambre of Bruxelles and The Jacques Franck Cultural Center will present the 2005/2006 promotion of the school.

The 21th of October, the Hogeschool in Gent (K.A.S.K.) had screened a selection of films from around the world, collected by Nancy Phelps, the French animation graduation showcase, a reel from students at the K.A.S.K. and a history of music through animation which Nancy and Terry Phelps originally created for the Film, Television and Animation Museum in Bradford, England.


At the cinema of the Bulgarian Films Archives, ASIFA Bulgaria will screen different animation programs, including the French animation graduation showcase.

On the 29th of October, ASIFA Croatia will present "The Day of Croatian Animation", with the screening of animation works from Croatian children workshops 2005/2006, animation works by students of animation at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb (Animation Department) and professional Croatian animation 2005/2006. Three awards (one by category) will be attributed on this occasion.

Czech Republic
On the 24th and 25th of October at the Ponrepo Cinema, in Prague, the National Film Archive of Prague will present two programs : at first, a Russian program nammed Russian Impression, composed by films from the beginning of Russian animation, with also some Alexandre Alexeieff and Youri Norstein's short films. The second program is a VSMU (the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts of Bratislava) selection, presented in co-operation with the Biennial of Animation of Bratislava.


On the 28th of October, the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival's animation sub-festival "Animated Dreams" will organise a special screening with some of the short animations from their archives.


The ASIFA Finland and The Finnish Animation Association will co-ordinate different events in the whole country. On the 28th of October, The Finnish Film Archive, will offer a tribute to Walerian Borowczyk. The Animatricks festival held on the same week end with several programs. The Art House Cinema in Tampere and the Turku Art Academy will screen the French animation graduation showcase. Sininen Verstas (workshop for educating unemployed youth) will screen their own animations in one of Helsinki's shopping centers.

Two full weeks on célébrations in France (October 18-31).

Our guest of honor this year is filmmaker Florence Miailhe. During the fifteen days, she will present her films in different cities throughout the country. We will have an exhibition of her work in Paris where, on October 28th, Miailhe will have carte blanche to present, along with her work, her own special selection of films by her favorite artists.

Thanks to the organized efforts of our regional co-ordinators throughout France, we have succeeded in planning almot 300 events. These include, of course, screenings: powder animation in Beaubourg - Paris (with artists Nag Ansorge and Alexandra Korejwo attending); a night of animation in Lille; tributes to Frederic Back, Jean-François Laguionie, Jérôme Boulbes, Norman McLaren, and the Ghibli Studio; exhibitions (including Alexandre Alexeieff, Philippe Jullien, Michel Ocelot, and Norman McLaren; workshops; conferences (including animation creation in France in the Grand Palais, Paris) and The Internet « Animation Celebration Contest » in association with Toonboom.


On the 28th of October, the House of France (French Institute) of Mains will present the French animation graduation showcase.

On the 27th of October in Ianos Bookshop in Athens, will held a presentation about the art of caricature, with the presentation of Aristarchos Papadaniel's book Greek Political Caricature -The Serious side of a Funny Art and Dutse Recalls, the first Greek animation movie (1945), directed by the famous caricaturist Stamatis Polenakis. Several personalities and specialists will give some lectures about this subject.

On the 28th of October, ASIFA Hungary will organize at the Uránia National Motion Picture Theatre and the Toldi Arts Cinema in Budapest several screenings of the ASIFA Hungary, France, Japan, Atlanta programs, House of Animation Portuguese program, Argentinian Cordoba Uiversity's films, ABCA's Brazilian programs, the selection of Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Best of Anifest, Best animation of Mediawave, Best of Kecskemétfilm Ltd, features A Monkey's Castle, Asterix and the Vikings, Cars, the documentary Magia Russica...

There will be also a children animation workshop and a one for comics development with the collaboration of the association of "Hungarian Comics Academy" at the Uránia National Motion Picture Theatre, different exhibitions, performances and chats about animation and comics.


On the 27th and 28th, at the Grand Café, Szeged, screening of Animated Tales, Howl's Moving Castle, Pal Toth's 3D animation short films (meeting with the author), Youri Norstein's short films, Cat Tales' serie (meeting with Béla Ternovszky), Cat's City's serial, Istvan Orosz's short films (meeting with the author) and French animation graduation showcase.


On the 28th and 29th of October, the International Festival of Animation Cinema and Comics "Cartoon Club" of Rimini, will screen the feature Curious George, and a selection of short films.


In Animation Museum in Riga will be celebrated the 80th anniversary of the first European feature film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, and the 40th anniversary of Latvian animation. The famous Lotte Reiniger's film will then be screened, with the live accompaniment performed by the Orchestra of Academy of Music, as welle as two Latvian films programs.


From the 23th to the 29th of October, the House of Animation of Porto, will organise several projections of the Brazilian Animation Cinema Association (ABCA) programme, the Moholy-Nagy Fine Arts Academy of Budapest, the French animation graduation showcase, the Bezalel Academy of Jerusalem, the 2006 Golden Cartoons, the new Aardman feature Flushed Away's making of and a children's programme.

Several events will also be held in about 15 different cities, including Lisbon, Coimbra, Espinho, Vila do Conde…


From 26th to 28th of Octobre, at the Filmmakers' Union's head, ASIFA Romania will organize, with the British Council's collaboration, a screening of a Czech "best of 2002-2006" and a selection of films awarded in the most important animation festivals.

On the 28th of October, the International Festival of Animation Arts "Multivision" of St-Petersburg will screen the French animation graduation showcase, the ASIFA Japan program and documentary Magia Russica.


Several screenings will organize different screenings in Belgrade, Vranye, Nis, Cacak, etc.

During The Biennial of Animation of Bratislava (17th to 20th of October), to celebrate International Animation Day, the festival has screened the "Celebrity of Czech animated film" in collaboration with the National Films Archives of Prague, as well as the French animation graduation showcase.

On the 28th of October, Izolanima Festival (26-28th of October) will organise two special screenings, the first will be dedicated to Norman McLaren and the second will present the French animation graduation showcase.


The 30th of October, Animadrid Festival will present at the Capitol Theater in Madrid a short films program with a selection of awarded films of Animadrid 2005 and 2006 and other shorts including Vincent by Tim Burton and Guide Dog by Bill Plympton.


The 4th and the 5th of November, Cinetic association will organize different exhibitions, a presentation of Alfons Moliné's book "The Great Book of Mangas" and will Screen film of Jan Baca, "Film Film Film" and "The Island" by Fiodor Khitruk and the feature "It's Raining Cats and Dogs" by Jacques-Rémy Girerd.

On the 28th and 29th of October, during the festival Cinematou for children, at the Grottes Cinema, the GSFA (Swiss Animated Films Group) will screen a special selection of Swiss films, presented to the Soleure Animated Film Festival.

On the 28th of October, at Zoo, Istanbul, the Kolektif Produksiyon will organize three screenings of the French animation graduation showcase.

United Kingdom
On the 28th of October, at the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, The Bradford Animation Festival will present screenings of My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke by Hayao Miyazaki, a BAF06 Selection Preview, a Bradford Big Screen Festival Preview and will offer a free workshop.


On the same day, the Barbican Centre in London will screen the Taiwanaise feature Grandma and her Ghosts and throughout the day will be screened a short animation before each of the new releases : Rabbit by Run Wrake, Know Your Europeans UK by Bob Godfrey and Love Then First Fight by Tim Hope.



On the 28th of October, The Queensland animators Group will organize the screening of Queensland Animation Show and French animation graduation showcase at the Globe, Fortitute Valley.


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Tomorrow is International Animation Day, an event started by ASIFA in 2002 to celebrate the art we all love. (Why today? It commemorates the first public screening of Emile Reynaud's Théâtre optique in Paris in 1892. Animation has many parents.)

How does one celebrate a day like this? Easy—by watching, creating, and discussing animation and its creation. The ASIFA website lists events 11 events happening in Bulgaria, Brazil, the US, Portugal, Canada, Israel, Hungary, Argentina, France, and Japan, but there's a lot more happening. Here are just four examples from our neck of the woods:

As part of the National Film Board of Canada's 65 Years of Animation at the NFB, the CinéRobothèque in downtown Montreal is presenting Animation Without Premeditation at 1:00 p.m., a workshop on music and abstract animation. At 7:00 p.m., the Cinémathèque Québécoise presents La Fête du Cinéma d'Animation, the results of a joint venture by Toon Boom Animation and l'Association française du cinéma d'animation (AFCA), in which films were submitted, screened and subsequently voted on via the Internet. The theme for the films was "An Unusual Encounter." Admission to both events is free.

In nearby Quebec City, the Musée de la Civilisation presents a special program on 65 years of animation at the NFB, a Best of Norman McLaren program, and Paris's VJ Oof doing a live remix of McLaren's music and animation. These events start today and end on October 29.

And finally, in Ottawa, the Canadian Film Institute and the Ottawa International Animation Festival are screening ten short films from France, the US, the UK, Canada and Japan at Library and Archives Canada at 2:00 p.m., from Emile Cohl's 1908 Fantasmagorie to 2005's Great Emarican Music.

How is International Animation Day being celebrated in your neighbourhood? Find out and let us know.

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June 19, 2006
With the increasing number of animation blogs popping up daily some greats have begun to emerge. This week I'd like to point out John Kricfalusi's All Kinds of Stuff. Popularly known as the creator of Ren & Stimpy, this Ottawa native has brought his unique perspective on animation to the blog-o-sphere. Beginning with a simple series of caricatures of Hollywood celebrities called "Beautiful People", his blog has taken on a life of it's own. Most recently he started working with the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive on a series of posts called The $100,000 Animation Drawing Course. Structured around Preston Blair's influential "how-to" cartoon drawing book Animation (Book 1) John, breaks down each section with the intention that readers follow along lesson after lesson. As John mentioned in his first post,
You can go to animation school, spend a $100,000 and not learn a damn thing about the basics of good animation drawing- OR you can buy a Preston Blair book for $8 and learn it all in a couple months. You pick.

If you learn the principles correctly, you will be able to draw in any style today. You'll be miserable having to dumb down your abilities- but you will be in demand.
Also for those who love classic cartoons there's nothing more interesting than John K breaking down one of his favorite Clampett cartoons pose by pose (which he also does quite often). So without further wait check out All Kinds of Stuff.


December 7, 2004
ASIFA's nominees for the Annies were announced today, and I'm struck by how ASIFA casually wades into the waters in which AMPAS (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who hand out the Oscars) fears to tread. Three of the contenders for Best Animated Feature are The Incredibles, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.

Could you find three more different movies? One is comedy action-adventure, the other is pure comedy, and the third is gritty science-fiction drama. And because this is animation, where we tend to use technique as a measuring tool, one is pure CGI, another pure hand-drawn, and the third deliberately in-between.

AMPAS would never go near something like this for Best Picture. Comedies are rarely nominated for Oscars in the first place, even if they're crafted with the same care as a drama. It's just one of those hypocrisies: Hollywood relegates comedies to second-class status when it's time for awards to be handed out, based on the assumption that it's just about unthinkable that a comedy could never be an Important Film. Comedies have to work harder to be, er, taken seriously.

Animation has the same problem, but, interestingly, it leads to a different conclusion. The Academy, in creating the Best Animated Feature category, is forced to do what it doesn't want to do with live-action films: it has to judge comedy features against dramatic features. So far, it's had an easy time of it. But in a year with some pretty strong features of both stripes, I wonder how they'll fare.

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