The World Animation Celebration: Pasadena's Festival

The World Animation Celebration offered a number of events ranging from screenings to technology seminars to employment expos. Animation World sent a bevy of specialists to report.

At the World Animation Celebration, the closing night awards ceremony was the one opportunity for filmmakers to be recognized on stage. Photo courtesy of Michelle Klein-Häss.

At the World Animation Celebration, the closing night awards ceremony was the one opportunity for filmmakers to be recognized on stage. Photo courtesy of Michelle Klein-Häss.

The World Animation Celebration (WAC) crept into Pasadena rather slowly for a week of activities from February 16-21, 1998 with a large number of events. The New Animation Technology Exposition and Conference was a well-organized success and so were the panel discussions included in the International Business Conference of Television Animation (IBCTA) and the World Summit for Feature Films and Visual Effects. While this festival doesn't have a market or provide the type of business opportunities like MIFA at Annecy or NATPE, it does offer executives a chance to schmooze with one another and hear their peers discuss ideas and points of view. WAC also did a good job at providing learning opportunities and classes to students and folks wanting to break into the biz through the classes offered at the New Animation Technology Exposition and Conference and the booths at the ASIFA-Hollywood Opportunities Expo. Afrustration with the Celebration, however, was the feeling that the different events were spread out and disconnected. There wasn't a list of attendees and contact information, mailboxes or a central location to meet people, like a festival bar or restaurant.

The MTV/Nickelodeon development panel was one of the more informative corporate-sponsor programs at the World Animation Celebration. Front row, left to right: Rebecca Poole (Nickelodeon), Melinda Toporoff (Nickelodeon), Machi Tantillo (MTV) and back

The MTV/Nickelodeon development panel was one of the more informative corporate-sponsor programs at the World Animation Celebration. Front row, left to right: Rebecca Poole (Nickelodeon), Melinda Toporoff (Nickelodeon), Machi Tantillo (MTV) and back

The meat and the potatoes of most festivals are the filmmakers and their films. This is not the case at WAC. The competition screenings at WAC are not the centerpiece of the festival. For example, filmmakers are not asked to stand after their film is screened, which is a customary courtesy at most festivals. While those filmmakers from California are probably not that disgruntled, one has to think about how the filmmakers attending from farther afield like New York and Europe feel. Also, the selection of films were not strong and the programming of some special screenings, like The World's Funniest Cartoons, was very uneven. Once, again the filmmakers suffered. Those that had their films screened in programs that didn't match their film's style and tone were unfairly criticized by audience members who were justifiably expecting different content. For better or worse, depending on whom one asks, WAC focuses on studio showcases. While some of these were quite exciting and informative overviews, others did not present certain promised treats. For instance, many attended the DreamWorks/PDI Studio Salute strictly to catch a moving glimpse of Prince of Egypt. This was the hot ticket (and with a $10 price tag!), but not only was a clip not shown, DreamWorks did not make a complete presentation. Costs run high at this festival so participants should try to do as much homework as possible to ensure that they are going to get the biggest bang for their buck. It is hard in the midst of pre-festival chaos to do research but in the long run a little homework would save time and disappointment.

Please read the following reviews to learn more about this year's World Animation Celebration:

In The New Animation Technology Exposition and Conference Viewed and Reviewed, Ben Fried reveals that this event was well worth his while.

Tuning in to the IBCTA by Sherry Niedelman reviews this executive pow-wow, the International Business Conference for Television Animation.

Mark Farquhar found the World Summit for Feature Films and Visual Effects to be quite inspiring. Find out why...

In Thinking about the World Animation Celebration '98, Michelle Klein-Häss reviews the screenings and retrospectives, including the WAC Lifetime Achievement award winners.

The Winners Are Announced

The winners of the World Animation Celebration are as follows. All prizes are credited as they are on the official list of winners, however, only first place is listed.

Grand Prize: T.R.A.N.S.I.T. by Piet Kroon.

UNICEF Prize: When Life Departs by Karsten Kiilerich.

Special Student Jury Prize: Over the Hill by Amanda Enright.

Special Jury Prize: Everybody's Pregnant by Debra Solomon.

Best Theatrical Feature Film: I Married a Strange Person by Bill Plympton.

Best Use of Animation as a Special Effect in a Theatrical Feature Film: Contact by Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Best Use of Animation in a Motion Picture Trailer: Space Jam by Warner Bros. Feature Animation.

Best TV Commercial: Dagwood Clay by Luis Cook, Aardman Animations.

Best TV Commercial Campaign: "Animate Your World" by Curious Pictures.

Best Music Video: Beyond by Nathan Vogel, Sherri Sheridan, Mind's Eye Media.

Best Public Service Announcement: The Right to Express Yourself by Amy Friedman, Nickelodeon.

Best Showreel: Pascal Blais Productions.

Best Title Sequence: One Saturday Morning by POP Animation.

Best Animation Produced for a TV Special: Flatworld by Daniel Greaves.

Best Animation Produced for a Daytime TV Series: Angry Beavers: Born to be Beavers by Mitch Schauer, Mary Harrington, Nickelodeon.

Best Animation Produced for Primetime: The Simpsons , "22 Films About Springfield" by Bill Dailey, Josh Weinstein.

Best Direct-to-Video Production: Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas by Walt Disney Television Animation.

Best Animation Produced for CD-Rom/Games: Titanic-Adventure Out of Time by Bill Appleton, Andrew Nelson.

Best Animation Produced for the Internet: Protozoa's VRML Skits by Dan Hanna, Emre Yilmaz, Steve Rein.

Best 2-D Computer Generated Animation by a Professional: The Conference of the Birds by Zoltan Lehotay, C4/S4C/Varga Studios.

Best 2-D Computer Generated Animation by an Independent: Plug by Meher Gourjian, Jamie Waese.

Best 3-D CGI Effects by a Professional: Geri's Game by Jan Pinkava.

Best 3-D CGI Effects by an Independent: Bunkie and Boo Boo by Terrence Masson.

Best 3-D CGI Character/Creature Animation by a Professional: Anaconda by John Nelson, Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Best 3-D CGI Character/Creature Animation by an Independent: The Physics of Cartoons by Steph Greenberg.

Best Use of Computer Animation in a Traditional Film by a Professional: Mousehunt by Rhythm & Hues.

Best Stop-Motion Produced Professionally: "Animate Your World: Bob" by Meredith Fierman & Bee Murphy, Cartoon Network.

Best Animation Produced for Educational Purposes: When Life Departs by Karsten Kiilerich.

Best Animation Under 5 Minutes: The Ambiguously Gay Duo, "Safety Tips" by J.J. Sedelmaier Productions.

Best Animation Between 5 and 15 Minutes: T.R.A.N.S.I.T. by Piet Kroon, Iain Harvey.

Best Animation Between 15 and 30 Minutes: Survivors by Sheila Sofian.

Best Performance Animation: We Should Go by Emre and Lev Yilmaz, Protozoa.

The Jim Henson Award: Best Stop-Motion by an Independent: Clops by Corky Quakenbush.

Best Work by a Student: Unborn Baby Blues by Mark Levine.

Best First Work by an Independent: Spring by Silke Parzich.

Best Animation for Children: The Adventures of Sam Digital in the 21st Century by Adam Shaheen, Dorothy Engelman, Steve Angel, Cuppa Coffee Animation.

Best Experimental Animation: The Dowager's Feast by Joan Gratz.

Best Animation for Theme Park Ride Simulation: Race for Atlantis by Rhythm & Hues.

Best Director of Animation for a TV Commercial: George Evelyn, (Colossal) Pictures for Coca-Cola Factory.

Best Director of Animation for a Daytime TV Series: Robert Hughes for Angry Beavers, "Born to be Beavers," Nickelodeon.

Best Director of Animation for a Primetime Series: Mike Anderson for The Simpsons, "Homer's Phobia."

Best Director of Animation for a CD-Rom Game: Lorne Lanning for Oddworld: Abe's Oddyssey.

Best Director of Animation for a Home Video: Andy Knight of Walt Disney Television Animation, for Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas.

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