Frank Gladstone Talks the Annie Awards
It really is a fair and equitable way to handle things. It keeps things on the up and up. It has worked and nobody has gotten upset about it. If a major a studio doesn’t participate, it really isn’t a competition. Everybody knew that. I think everybody was eager to get past this. Everybody was looking for an answer. We worked really hard to figure out an answer that everyone could look at and say, “OK, that’s fair.”
Another thing that I did was open up our advisory board to representatives from every studio that wanted to be on it. Twice a year, there’s a very interesting lunch. We have heads from all the studios. They all sit down in the same room. And we talk about ASIFA. We are Switzerland. We are a neutral country. We’re not there for any other reason than to celebrate ourselves. At the end of the day, the Annies are to honor the community, the people who work in our industry. No other reason. We don’t have another agenda. So everybody feels comfortable sitting in that room. Until I ask for money.
FG: And that’s something I’m going to continue to do. You have to. No organization survives just on member dues. We have lots of big plans. We’re planning on having a curated archive. If all goes well and the creek doesn’t rise, we’re going to have a paid staff this year. I’m hoping, down the road, that we will have an Academy, both brick and mortar and virtual, that will minister to our members, which number several thousand. We’ll be able to do screenings, qualify films for the Oscars, hold events, celebrate our history, things like that. We have our educator’s forum, which is extremely important, which has done fantastic work this last year. We also have our fund for animators that are in trouble, which we are using. People get in trouble and we try to help.
DS: It will be great to see all these initiatives come to pass.
FG: It’s hard work for everyone. But, it’s really fun and very rewarding. We’re going in the right direction. It’s a bit slower than I’d wish, and it’s a bit harder than I might wish, but we’re getting there.
Dan Sarto is editor-in-chief and publisher of Animation World Network.