I never really wanted a big sister, but if I did, it’d be Linda Simensky.
I met Linda when she was part of the Selection Committee for the Ottawa 94 International Animation Festival. I was charged with taking care of the committee during their stay in Ottawa. I had done the same job two years earlier, but didn’t really enjoy the experience. I was hoping to hell that this committee would be a better time. It was. And if you want someone – other than Raimund Krumme – to blame for my entry into the animation world, it’s Linda. Even though I was just a staff flunky, she (along with Otto Alder and Marc Glassman) made me feel part of a big family. I couldn’t believe that Linda was an executive with Nickelodeon. Unlike the many corporate folks I’ve encountered since, Linda has no airs, false smiles, or fake laughs. She was human.
After I became director of the festival, Linda was always there to listen to my worries and insecurities. She was (and is) always supportive and encouraging. Even when she doesn’t agree with something I’ve done or, more likely, said; like Socrates, Linda has a knack for getting you to figure out why you fugged up without really saying much at all.
What makes Linda so special? On one hand, its her Dean Martin meets Buddha image. As she walks through a festival venue, she is often followed by a flock of friends, colleagues and seekers. She seems to take it all in stride, never appearing unfazed. On the other, it’s her genuine down-to-the-bone passion for animation. She actually goes to festivals, watches films, and gets to know the animators. Her work is her love.
Linda has given so much to me, the Ottawa festival, and independent animation in general, that making her Honorary President hardly seems enough - but somehow I know she thinks it’s just right.
The OIAF appoints an honorary president each year to acknowledge those who have contributed an outstanding amount of time and energy to the Festival over the years. The OIAF is proud to announce that our honorary president for the 2005 Festival is Linda Simensky, Senior Director of Programming at PBS KIDS and longtime supporter of the Festival.
Linda Simensky, Senior Director of Children's Programming for PBS, manages the award-winning PBS KIDS programming block, working with producers, co-production partners and distributors throughout development, production, post-production and broadcast.
Simensky began her career with a nine-year tenure at Nickelodeon, where she helped build their animation department and launched such popular series as Rugrats, Doug, and The Ren & Stimpy Show. Most recently, she was Senior Vice President of Original Animation for Cartoon Network, where she oversaw the development
and series production of The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy, and other major projects.
Past-president of ASIFA-East, and the founder of New York chapter of Women in Animation, Simensky has lectured at numerous colleges and animation festivals, and has taught courses in animation at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has written for numerous animation publications, with an essay appearing in the recently-published "Nickelodeon Nation." Ms. Simensky holds a BA in Communications & History from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in Media Ecology from New York University.