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The World Animation Celebration: Here It Comes

Joy Kennelly highlights the different events of the World Animation Celebration which will be held in Pasadena, California February 16-21.

This year's World Animation Celebration (WAC), in association with Animation Magazine and Variety, takes place at the Pasadena Civic Center for a command sequel. It's a festival, a trade show, a conference, a job fair, a student animation marathon, an Internet pow wow and networking haven all rolled into one.

Featuring tributes to artists such as Ray Harryhausen, Bill Plympton, Corky Quakenbush, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbara, and to studios and independents such as Warner Bros., Dreamworks SKG and Cuppa Coffee, there's something for everyone to watch. "The film competition is the core of the festival where we celebrate the art of animation. What's most important to recognize this year is the bridge taking place between live-action and animation," said Festival Director Leslie Sullivan.

As a result, the World Summit for Feature Films and Visual Effects was launched to introduce the changing landscape for animated features and the opportunities available to filmmakers. The second component of the Summit will examine how digital technology and visual effects are changing the way Hollywood makes movies. According to Director Danielle Robertson, "This event is structured to give the leaders of the industry the opportunity to share points of view in open discussions, screen clips illustrating the topics covered and provide a sneak preview of what to expect in the immediate future."

Ray Harryhausen will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for his pioneering stop-motion work. © Ray Harryhausen.

Monday, February 16, 1998

Students won't want to miss the President's Day World Animation Marathon (WAM) kick off event. High schools and colleges from around the country are gathering to create a feature length animated film with the guidance of AnimAction, Inc. (www.animaction.com). Ringling School of Art and Design, School of Visual Arts, Sheridan College, DHIMA, Gnomon, Art Institutes International and the Vancouver Film School will be recruiting as well. Awards will be given at the end of the week during the WAM awards ceremony.

Concurrently the same day, web-a-holics will enjoy the Big Internet Animation Pow-Wow put on by Animation World Network (AWN) and Unbound Media. Director Andrea Drougas has put together panels with such heavyweights as Sony Pictures Imageworks, Digital Planet, Warner Bros., Real Networks and more. Some of the topics to be discussed include, "The Future of Animation On the Internet," "New Technologies to Power your Studio into the New Millennium" and "Producing Content for the Internet." If you register on-line you can receive a discount.

Tuesday, February 17, 1998

Beginning today, check out the competitive screenings, independent showcases and artist tributes, with Ray Harryhausen, John Coates and Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards. Don't miss the Anime "Festival Within the Festival" featuring a Speed Racer tribute. Screenings occur at various times all week long. Some highlights include the ever-so-evolved South Park characters in "Big Al's Gay Boat Ride," Corky Quakenbush's repertoire of twisted take-offs, some of Cartoon Network's never before seen Dexter's Laboratory shorts as well as John K.'s new short, Ranger Smith. The schedule will be posted on the web site by Saturday, February 7, 1998.

Tuesday is also the first day of the World Summit for Feature Films and Visual Effects. This is a defining year for feature animation. Nicktoons President, Albie Hecht, Warner Bros. Feature Animation President, Max Howard and other heavy hitters will speak on such topics as "How Do the Major Studios Achieve Success in the Theatrical Marketplace?", "A Match Made in Heaven: Exploring the Role of Digital Technology as a Tool for Traditional Animators," and "3D Animation: Is it the Animation Medium that will Dominate the Next Millennium?" Listen and learn about the future of animation in feature films.

NATE's mascot. © NATE

Miller Freeman's New Animation Technology Expo and Conference (NATE) runs through Friday and explores key computer animation issues and showcases the newest hardware and software. For more information, look up www.etshows.com or call 1 800 789 2223.

Wednesday, February 18, 1998

The World Summit for Feature Films and Visual Effects continues.

A Special Speed Racer tribute will be hosted by Cartoon Network's Vice-President of Original Animation Linda Simensky with Author Elizabeth Moran. This anime presentation includes old and new episodes of Speed Racer, last year's popular Dexter's Laboratory "Mock 5," and the recent George Clooney Saturday Night Live spoof. Enter the Speed Racer trivia contest to win a Speed Racer leather/twill jacket or die-cast (Hot Wheels) collectors cars.

Thursday, February 19, 1998

For those of you interested in the "business aspect of animation," The International Business Conference for Television Animation returns this year. Director Andrew Bolt said, "If you are in the business of creating, developing or distributing television animation, this is a conference not to be missed." Taking place at the Doubletree Hotel Thursday, February 19 and Friday, February 20, 1998, the IBCTA boasts such panels and speakers as, "Why is Animation Suddenly Working in Prime Time?" and "What's the Financial Future for Animation Production?" Inquiring minds want to know. Experts want to tell. Listen to HBO Animation Sr. Vice-President Carmi Zlotnick, the new Film Roman President & CEO, David Pritchard and other top executives discuss these and other issues. This was a sold-out event last year and promises a repeat performance this year.

WAC will present screenings of Bill Plympton's work. Photo courtesy of and © Bill Plympton

Friday, February 20, 1998

Friday marks the beginning of the ASIFA-Hollywood Opportunities Expo and the end of the IBCTA. If you want a job in animation, to learn more about what it takes to make it in animation, or just to hang out with your peers, visit this Expo. A list of all the numerous lectures and seminars offered can be read on the WACfest web-site or on the ASIFA-Hollywood web-site, which is located at http://home.earthlink.net/~asifa. Please note, all schedules are subject to change.

Saturday, February 21, 1998

The final day of the World Animation Celebration is where all good things must come to an end. Learn the results of the week-long screening competitions at the awards ceremony and party on at the Closing Night Gala with another Day Glo Extravaganza. Only this year, it's also a costume ball. Come dressed in your favorite animated character costume or create a costume of day glo. The choice is up to you. Just come.

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