When I was hired as Editor of Animation World Magazine, my assignment was relatively simple: Produce a literate, independent on-line journal about animation. It was to include material of interest to a wide variety of readers from around the world, including professionals, aficionados and those whose concerns about animation may be more "casual," but nevertheless serious. Among other things, it was to be a magazine which allowed people in animation, especially animation artists, a venue in which they could express themselves and communicate with one another. It was an assignment I gladly accepted.
Animation World Magazine is a new venture in more ways than one. Attempting to publish a magazine on the Internet is in itself something of an adventure. As such, we expect our magazine evolve and grow as time goes on. In the meantime, we are having a lot of fun doing it and hope that you will enjoy it as well.
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For most of its history, animation has been considered a marginal part of the film and television industries, whose product was mostly suitable only for children. It has also been a labor-intensive craft, that has always evoked a wondrous sense of curiosity, by both journalists and the public, about how cartoons are made. (How many drawings does it take to make a animated film has been a stock question posed to animators almost from year one.)
While animation has moved aggressively over the last few years out of its ghetto-like existence and squarely into the mainstream, the public's (and the industry's) curiosity with animation technology and technique remains more intense than ever. It is also something that vitally concerns filmmakers and producers alike, who now have to come to terms with the consequences and opportunities presented by the digital revolution. These issues which are addressed rather strongly by Bill Kroyer and Barry Purves, filmmakers of distinctly different pedigrees, but remarkably similar concerns.
Despite the impression that may have been left by Toy Story, high quality 3-D computer animation is being done all around the world. Thus, we asked computer animator Olivier Cotte to provide an introductory survey of what's going on in France, one of the leaders in digital animation, while Georges Lacroix elucidates on in an interview I did about the delightful French TV series, Insektors, which is also done in 3D.
Our digital roundup also includes an interview by Eric La Brecque with Rick Dyer, one of the real pioneers of interactive animation who talks about his newest CD-ROM, Shadoan.
A more general survey of what's happening in Europe is provided by producer Iain Harvey, who shows the role played by the European Union's CARTOON initiative. More focused on one particular studio, is Kenneth Huttman's story of how one Chinese studio is trying to keep its traditions alive, while at the same time trying to deal with the needs of Western producers.
A tribute to the late Shamus Culhane by Mark Langer, Giannalberto Bendazzi's look at a new history of animation by filmmaker René Laloux, and Nicole Salomon's commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Annecy Animation Workshop rounds up our first issue, along with the first of Frankie Kowalski's first roundup of animators' "Desert Island" favorites (this time, focusing on Oscar-nominated filmmakers).
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Finally, I would like to personally thank Ron Diamond and Dan Sarto, who were crazy enough to hire me as Editor. Not so crazy (although she may not agree) is my Associate Editor, Frankie Kowalski, whose enthusiasm and talent have kept both me and the magazine right on target.
Harvey Deneroffharvey@awn.com Editor-In-ChiefAnimation World Magazine