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Day Two: Skywalker Ranch, ILM and ASIFA-SF

Day Two of the 2010 AWN Oscar Tour begins at Skywalker Ranch and continues on to ILM in San Francisco and then to an evening screening with ASIFA-San Francisco.

Javier discussing the unbelievable "bounties" of Spain

By Tara Beyhm-Berger

Day Two’s schedule included Skywalker Ranch, ILM and an evening screening for ASIFA San Francisco.

Skywalker Ranch

I love this picture because of the perfectly aligned steer facing us in the background. They looked like they were employees of the ranch and it was their job to stand (evenly spaced) facing the Technology Center at Skywalker ranch. It’s even funnier because story has it, when George Lucas was building Skywalker, he couldn’t decide which kind of cattle should decorate his luscious hillside, so to remedy this, he had someone make wooden cutouts of different breeds of cattle and position them around the ranch. Kudos George! Not only did you find complementary shaped cattle, but a variety with a solid work ethic as well!

Raul, Javier and perfectly aligned steer

We met our host Eva and she gave us a tour of the Technology Center and the infamous research library. As Eva described all the sound recording and mixing rooms, you quickly understand that every detail was considered to achieve optimal sound recording, editing, and mixing.  There is a HUGE scoring stage, which is the same size as my high school gym, I’m sure of it. It could easily accommodate a 125-piece orchestra (who could all probably bring dates).

Javier on an ILM sound stage

Javier at the sound mixing board

The research library is an actual library (although my SFPL library card was shockingly denied) unlike some musty libraries, it’s a sunny, gorgeous room with a stained glass domed ceiling atop a spiral staircase. Books open to pages of historical military uniforms were opened on a table marked “research in progress.” I perused the shelves and wrote down random titles of books; Crowns, Encyclopedia of Slippers, History of Roman Sculpture, Hundertwasser. One could find references to any historic detail here.

Our visiting filmmakers really appreciated seeing the ranch, it is an inspiration for their growing studio in Granada, Spain.


We arrived at ILM in San Francisco, about 40-minutes after leaving the ranch.  Upon our arrival, we are informed that everyone at ILM is excited to meet one of the nominated filmmakers and that Ron Diamond’s visits each year with the noms is a highly anticipated event. We are given a tour of ILM while the films are screening. Along our tour we see a lot of maquettes, props, models, animatronic masks, matte paintings and of course movie posters.  The massive model of house in Lemmony Snickett greets us on our way to lunch.

Javier, Enrique and Raul at main house - research library

Javier and Raul using both "Hans"

Raul, Enrique and Javier discuss short film financing with R2D2

Darth Vadar defends motion capture to Javier

Raul and Javier enjoy breakfast at ILM-Hop

Javier's Yoda-moment

We had a small amount of time between the ILM visit and our Asifa screening for a quick tour of SF.  We started off at the highest point, Twin Peaks, for a panoramic view of my beautiful city.  Javier told me that he always wanted to see SF, “were the Hippies were and to wear a flower” in his hair, because of the famous song, so I accommodate him.

Javier and the SF skyline

Javier relives past SF "flower power" glories


There was a huge turn out for the ASIFA-SF screening at Dolby.  The program was a little delayed as more chairs had to be located for the standing audience.  It was an enthusiastic crowd who appreciated having Javier at the screening.  An audience member actually stumped him, when she asked why his main character had only 4 toes yet 5 fingers.  He said he didn’t know and never realized that before!

Dan Sarto's picture

Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.