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SETTING the SCENE - The Art and Evolution of Animation Layout

SETTING the SCENE - The Art and Evolution of Animation Layout

By Fraser MacLean

Foreword by Pete Docter

Published by Chronicle Books

Price $60.00, £40 ($37.80 on Amazon)

260 Pages,   Hardcover

At first glance Fraser MacLean’s Setting the Scene: The Art and Evolution of Animation Layout looks like a lovely coffee table sized picture book, but the minute you begin to read it you realize that it is a major work, full of information on the important but often overlooked art of layout.

Fraser knows who and what he is talking about because he worked on Touchstone’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Space Jam at Warner Bros., and Tarzan at Walt Disneyalong with several other Disney Productions. This book takes the reader behind the scenes in this under-appreciated segment of the animation world, from the early days of Winsor McCay, the Fleischer Brothers, and 1930’s Walt Disney right up to the latest 3-D and video game technology.


Rausch Brothers win Peabody

The Rauch Brothers, Tim and Mike, have won the prestigeous 71st Annual George Foster Peabody Award for their StoryCorps animated shorts commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. They share the honor with StoryCorpsPOV, the 9/11 Memorial and MusuemNPR’s Morning Edition, and YouTube. My congratulations The Rauch Brothers  and the teams who worked on StoryCorps' 9/11 radio broadcasts and mobile app, which was also named as part of the award. The StoryCorps 9/11 animated short series was also recently announced as an Official Honoree of the 16th Annual Webby Awards for Documentary Series.
In a press release Tim and Mike Rauch said "Thanks to our partners—StoryCorps and POV—for helping us share these important remembrances, and to commemorate the 10th anniversary last September. We especially thank the courageous families that so generously shared their stories with us. We must always remember the people who lost their lives that day."

If you have not heard StoryCorps on Morning Edition or seen it on POV be sure to check out the Rauch Brothers web site:


Tricky Women - Women in Animation, a Book Review


12 Essays on Women in animation and one DVD

Edited by:  Brigitt Wagner/Waltraud Gruber (Hg.)

Published By:  Schuren Verlag  (Marburg, 2011)

Price  : €24,89 (approximately $33.00 USD)

You can order the book on line at the Tricky Women Animation Festival Store (

or from the publishers.

The Tricky Women Animation Festival have published a 189 page book honoring  women in animation.  Birgitt Wagner and Waltraud Grausgruber (Hg.), directors of the Vienna based festival have edited the twelve essays written by scholars, animators, and educators.


Call for Entries - KLIK Animation Festival

KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival: 7-11 November 2012

And... your entry will also automatically compete for the following awards:
Amsterdam Audience Award
Young Amsterdam Audience Award
Political Animation Award

So send those animated beauties to our offices, pronto! Submit your film online via

P.S. Keep an eye on the deadline: June 1, 2012.
P.P.S. KLIK! doesn't charge entry fees.
P.P.P.S. Films are eligible when the submitted film does not exceed 25 minutes and was finished after January 1st, 2010. For more regulations, read our Terms and Conditions.


CALL FOR ENTRIES - Punto y Raya Junior

This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who teaches animation to young people, have a young animator in your home or are a JUNIOR animator. I am familiar with the festival's work and can wholeheartedly recommend it.  -- Nancy

version of our festival, made FOR and BY children aged 6 to 12 years.
Following the same spirit that has earned us the title of "Most abstract festival in the World", this edition will host the same kind of activities as the "adult" one (calls for entries, workshops, screenings, installations, exhibitions and live PyRformances) under the motto "No representation, only dots and lines".



For me the New Year really starts when I go to ANIMA Brussels each year in the beautiful, historic Flagey.  For ten days it becomes the center of the animation world.

The This is Belgium programs are always a highlight for me since they are a chance to see the newest works from of the Walloon and Flemish regions of the country I live in.  I had been curious to see Natasha, the new film by Russian born Roman Klochkov who has lived in Gent since he was seventeen.  Roman’s multi-award winning film The Administrators is a humorous, but all too true tale of government  bureaucracy run wild.  Natasha takes us into the world of immigrants trying to assimilate in a new world.


ANIFEST ROZAFA ~ September 23 to 30 2012 Shokdra, Albania ~ Call For Entries

Animation festivals for and or by children are always special events and the third edition of the AniFest Rozafa International Animation Festival is no exception.

The festival has competitions for animations made for children, films made by children, and works by animation students.  Last year 191 films from 55 different countries were screened with the competitions judged by a jury made up of 30 children.   The Festival has issued a call for submission for 2012 beginning on February 1 until June 10th.

In addition to the screenings there will be workshops and seminars.  During the 2011 festival a two minute animation was created by the children’s workshop.


CALL FOR ENTRIES: CHILEMONOS 1st International Animation Festival - Santiago, Chile

If the gray skies of winter are getting you down, then it’s time for a trip to CHILEMONOS Animation Festival in Santiago, Chile from 25 to 29 April 2012.  If you can’t get away your film can enjoy the trip if it is selected to be screened.

CHILEMONOS has issued a call for competition entries in three categories:

International Short Fiction Animation

Work by Chilean Animators

Animations by Chilean Students

Films completed from 2009 to present are elgible for consideration by the selection committee.

You can read the entry regulations and download an application at:

Unfortunately the information on the web site is only in Spanish but the entry form is easily understandable.


A NORDIC – BALTIC ADVENTURE - Fredrikstad Animation Festival 9-13 November 2011

For five days every year the historic town of Fredrikstad, Norway becomes the center of Nordic/Baltic animation.  The festival brings in an illustrious roster of names from the international animation community and this year was no exception.

I am a fan of Ren and Stimpy but had never met John Kricfalusi.  He turned out to be as delightfully wacky and fun as his characters.  During his Masters of Animation presentation he talked about characters and films that inspired him and he showed animation classics from UPA and Disney among others to illustrate his points.  He also shared excerpts from his favorite live action Hollywood films which he considers just as good, if not a better inspiration for cartoonists as classic cartoons.  I was fascinated to learn what a big influence film noir played in his life.



If you are still searching for the perfect gift idea then check out the National Film Board of Canada’s  brand new Animation Express 2. The 27 films on the DVD include new films by such well known names in animation as Paul Driessen (Oedipe/Oedius), Academy Award Winner Koji Yamamura (les Cordes De Muybridge/Muybridge’s Strings), and Romance, a beautifully romantic saga by Georges Schwizgebel.

Two of the 2011 Academy Awards Short Listed Animations are included on the DVD.  Patrick Doyon’s  Dimanche/Sunday is a magical tale of life seen through a child’s life. It has been 12 years  since Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby garnered the Palme d’ Or and an Academy Award nomination for their beautiful film When Day Breaks.  Their long awaited new film Une Vie Sauvage/Wild Life  has put them on the 2011 Academy Short List.  Their story of the beauty of the 1909 Canadian prairie and the pain of feeling out of place and homesick is my personal favorite of the short listed films.


18th KROK INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ANIMATION: September 24 – October 3, 2011

With 12 competition programs, workshops, retrospectives, and daily chats with the directors, there is plenty of film activity.  It is an opportunity to watch films from countries that are not represented at most other festivals.  This year films from Uzbekistan, Belarus, and Equatorial Guinea were among the 37 countries represented along with a wide selection of Ukrainian and Russian animation.

The festival got off to a great start with the opening ceremony and screening of the first competition program at Dom Kino in Kiev.  The Kino has a beautiful theatre and is also where the Ukrainian arm of KROK has its offices.  The ceremony and screening was followed by a delicious celebration dinner on the boat.

The Films

One of my favorite films at the festival was Papercutting by Belarus animator Mikhail Tumelya.  Based on a traditional fairy tale about a young man looking for a wife, the film was created using beautiful three dimensional paper cut designs created by the famous Belarus paper artist Vyacheslav Dubinka.  Mikhail combined his animation with Vyacheslav’s intricate vytsinankas.  Vytsinanka is the Western Belarus, Ukrainian and Polish word for both the process of cutting  paper lace art and the handmade patterns themselves.   In Eastern Belarus the word is vyrazanka.



Gunnar treated us to a meal in their historic dining room that was one of the most delicious I have even eaten.  The melt-in-your-mouth steak came from a locally grass fed cow and the vegetables tasted as if they had just been plucked from the garden.  We ended by having tea and coffee on the veranda overlooking the beautiful meadow, which made me feel as if I were back in the 1800’s.  Gunnar presented us with a beautifully illustrated book tracing the history of Hotel Union Oye, the famous guests, and the rich history of the area which I treasure as the perfect rememberance of a wonderful day.

Volda may be a small town but with a population that is made up of almost half students there is a lot happening.  One evening we attended the monthly movie night hosted by Volda animation professor Dave King who is a UK transplant.  Dave has great movie taste and it was a real treat to watch and sing along with one of my favorite films Little Shop of Horrors while eating popcorn and  enjoying the bottle of red wine that Dave includes with the price of admission.  After the film there was dancing to a local DJ.   A truly fun night!

Nik and I were fortunate enough to get to spend two weeks in Volda, so Gunnar arranged for us to stay in a top floor apartment of a lovely home owned by friends of his.  Nik had a nice work space and I spent hours watching the ferries cross the fjord from our living room window or gazing at the mountains from our balcony.

On one of our last days in Volda our hosts Anne Steinsvik Nordal and Olev Egsett took us to the other side of the Volda fjord that I had been looking at for two weeks (yet another lovely ferry ride). We visited Anne’s old family farm.  From there we drove to the couple’s beautiful water front cottage where we ate a delicious deer stew.  Olev is not only a superb cook but also an exceptionally talented woodworker.  One of my most treasured gifts from our memorable visit to Volda is a beautiful wooden butter knife made by Olev.

Animation Volda 2011 is so full of memories that I could write a book about our two week there.  There are so many people to thank but first and foremost our deep thanks go to Gunnar Strom, Anja Malec, Lara Zlatar, and Ivan Dujmusic for inviting us to be part of Animation Volda.  Also our gratitude goes out to Anna and Olev for providing us with such a lovely home away from home and especially for the delicious plums from their garden that they kept leaving on the stairway.

If you are ever lucky enough to be invited to be part of Animation Volda you will be guaranteed a wonderful time.  I hope that we will be lucky enough to be invited back again sometime.

Check  out Animation Volda at:


Monstra Festival Extends Film Entry Deadline for Monstra 2012

I received this e-mail from MONSTRA Festival in Lisbon and want to encourage all of you to submit your films.

The Festival is very well run, treats animators and their films respectfully and is in beautiful Lisbon just when all of us in colder parts need to see some sun.

Dear Friends,

following the request of several, directors, producers and schools we decided to extended the deadline until 15 November, 2011.

We would like to thank all of you that have already sent their films. Those who didn't please do it by the 15th of November.

See you soon with more news!

Fernando Galrito

Artistic Director MONSTRA Animation Festival - Lisbon, Portugal


Anima 2012, Brussels: Last chance to register!

I  recommend sending your film to this festival BUT beware the deadline is approaching.
Anima 2012, the International Animation Film Festival, will take place in Brussels,
Belgium, from February 17 till 26, 2012. This important animation appointment hosts an international competition with
many awards:

-Award for Best Feature
-Award for Best Short Film
-Award for Best Studentfilm
-Award for Best Advertising Film
-Award for Best Music Video
-Nomination for the Cartoon d'Or

This 31st edition will also present retrospectives, exhibitions, lectures, a series
of "pro" encounters (Futuranima) and workshops.
Every year the festival brings together more than 35.000 people: professionals,
journalists, students as well as a large local audience of children and adults.


ANIMATORS how did you do that? By Tobias Wengert

If you have ever watched an animated film and wondered “How did they do that?” then Tobias Wengert’s  ANIMATORS how did they do that? is the book for you.  Wengert has transcribed in print his conversations with twelve diverse members of the Stuttgart, Germany animation community who reveal the secret techniques behind the magical images they create.

Jakob Schuh and Max Lang of Studio Soi reveal how they took The Gruffalo, a well known children’s book, which takes five minutes for a parent to read to their child and turned it into a 27 minute film.  The creators of the picture book, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, gave tips to the directors on hidden elements in the book that could be expanded into additional plot lines.  The book illustrations include references to the squirrel family, so Jacob and Max expanded a story line from those visual references.


Animafest 2012


Animafest 2012 Call for Entries

22nd World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb

dedicated to short animated films will be held from 29 May – 03 June 2012 in Zagreb, Croatia.

Animated shorts completed in 2010 or later with max running time of 30 minutes are eligible to apply for the following competition categories:

- Grand Competition

- Student Competition

- Films for Children Competition

- Commissioned Films Competition

Submission deadline is 1 FEBRUARY 2012.

For further information about competitions, regulations and online submission visit


ANIMASOPHY by Ulo Pikkov - Theoretical Writings On The Animated Film

Estonian animation director and educator Ulo Pikkov has accomplished a remarkable feat in producing a most readable book on animation theory.  For those who do not know about the technical side of animation Animasophy – Theoretical Writings On The Animated Film is a great place to start.  Readers who are already well versed in animation techniques will be reminded about what they already know but don’t always think about.

The first three chapters define animation, outline its history from its beginnings to the present, and analyze the role animation continues to play in modern communication.  The next eight chapters go on to analyze structure, timing, storytelling, sound, characters, and realism as well as the use of space.  Each chapter includes a detailed case study of a specific film by an Estonian animator to illustrate the chapter’s topic.


Call for Entries - 15th Japan Media Arts Festival: Application period July 15 - September 22

This is the 15th year since the Japan Media Arts Festival was first held in 1997. The festival is organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, with the aim of promoting the creation and development of media arts (comics, animation, game and media art).

The call is for entries in four divisions, Art, Entertainment, Animation and Manga, and is open to entries from anywhere in the world. The Agency will award a Grand Prize and a number of other awards at the festival, and the winning works will also be exhibited.

Last year saw 1951 entries from Japan and 694 from elsewhere (48 countries and regions) and more than 70,000 visitors attended the exhibition of award-winning works. The festival has grown into an event that attracts wide attention both in Japan and around the world.



I am a big fan of Estonian animation and the Animated Dreams Animation Festival in Tallinn.  Now the festival has launched a new project, AnimaCampus Tallinn, which sounds like it is going to be a wonderful opportunity for young animators.  Even if you can’t attend do take a minute to read about what they are planning for their first edition.

November 15-19, 2011 / Tallinn, Estonia

Deadline for application: August 1, 2011.

AnimaCampus Tallinn is a brand new networking platform and training event for up-and-coming young filmmakers working in the field of animation. The five-day creative summit takes place in parallel with the Animation Film Festival Animated Dreams, the sub-festival of Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.


FILM AND FUN ABOUND AT ANNECY 2011 June 6 -11 2011, Annecy, France

As usually happens I did not agree with some of the prize winning selections.  I definitely felt that Pixels directed by French animator Patrick Jean was not the very best short film that I had seen at the festival.  Watching New York City transformed  into a gigantic video game as retro characters ala Packman and Donkey Kong invade the city was fun and the 1 minute 30 second film was an impressive use of technology but it seemed more like a music video and once you’ve seen it you’ve seen it.  I prefer films that I want to watch several times and have to think about.  That said, I know that awards are made by a committee who has to come to an agreement.

The closing night party in the now empty MIFA tents was a last chance to discuss films and have fun with old and new friends.  The animation community is a close knit family, so for me it is never “goodbye”, but just “see you soon”.  This year there was one very big exception.  The Bonlieu, heart of the festival, will be torn down next year and construction of the new, larger theatre complex will not be completed in time for Annecy 2012.  There was a lot of speculation about where the festival will be located next year but no decision has been announced yet.  All I know for sure is that I am looking forward to Annecy 2012 and hope to see you all there.



Jury:  Akeksandra Korejwo, Poland; Regina Pessoa, Portugal; Pes, United States

Annecy Cristal – Pixels, Patrick Jean, France

Special Jury Award – Big Bang Big Boom, Blu, Italy

Jean-Luc Xiberras Award For A First Film – Switez, Kamil Polak, Poland, France, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark

Special Distinction – Paths of Hate, Damian Nenow, Poland

Sacem Award For Original Music – Maska, Quay Brothers, Krzystof Penderecki


Jury – Lisa Hachim, 12 years old; Thomas Jacoulet, 14 years old; Khalil Benani, 12 years old; Oumaima Aziz, 13 years old

A Morning Stroll, Grant Orchard, Great Britian

AUDIENCE AWARD – Luminaris, Juan Pablo Zaramella, Argentina


Marc Du Pontavice, France; Mathias Malzieu, France; Yoshihiro, Japan

Feature Film Cristal – The Rabbi’s Cat, Joann Sfar, Antoine Delesvaux, France

Special Distinction – Colorful, Keiichi Hara, Japan

AUDIENCE AWARD – Colorful, Keiichi Hara, Japan


Jury – Matthew O’Callaghan, United States; David Sproxton, Great Britian; Will Vinton, United States

Graduation Film Cristal – Plato, Leonard Cohen, France

Special Jury Award – Trois Petits Points, Lucrece Andreae, Alice Dieudonne, Tracy Nowocien, Florian Parrot, Ornelie Prioul, Remy Schaepman, France

Special Distinction – The Eagleman Stag, Mikey Please, Great Britian


JUNIOR JURY:  llyes Boutemeur, 15 years old; Noemie Tarpin, 16 years old; Oumayma Rmila, 14 years old; Bassam Lhnaoui, 13 years old

Plato, Leonard Cohen, France


Jury – Laurence Blaevoet, France; Tapaas Chakravarti, India; Lucineh Kassarjian, Armenia

TV and Commissioned Films Cristal – The Amazing World of Gumbal “The Quest”- Mic Graves, Ben Bocquelet – France

Special Award For A TV Series – Le Petit Nicolas “A La Recre On Se Bat” (Little Nick “At Playtime We Fight) – Arnaud Bouron, France, Luxembourg, India

Award For Best TV Special – Das Bild Der Prinzessin (Princess’s Painting) – Joannes Weiland, Klaus Morschheuser, Germany

Educational, Scientific, or Industrial Award – Comment Nourrir Tout Le Monde? (How to Feed the World?)- Denis Van Waerebeke, France

Advertising or Promotional Film Award – Canal J “Royaume Du Gnagnagna”- Olivier Jeannel, France

Award For Best Music Video – Wax Tailor Featuring Charlie Winston “I Own You” – Romain Chassaing, France


Unicef Award – L’Apprenti Pere Noel (Santa’s Apprentice) – Luc Vinciguerra, France

Fipresci Award – Luminnaris – Juan Pablo Zaramella, Argentina

“Canal + Creative Aid” Award For A Short Film – Chroniques De La Poisse (Sticky Ends)- Osman Cerfon, France

Fnac Award for a Feature Film – Chico & Rita – Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal, Tono Errando, Spain

Annecy 2011 You Tube Award – Sidewalk Scribble – Peter Lowey, Australia



Jury Prize Rhone-Alps Cinema, TVPaint Development- Oripeaux, Sonia Gerbeaud, Mathias de Panafieu, France

Arte France Prize – Le Sens Du Toucher (The Sens of Touch) – Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo, France

Abbaye de Fontevraud Prize – Tagli Di Capelli (Haircuts), Virginia Mori, Italy

Prix ToonBoom Prize – Stripes, Heather Larkin, United States

Canal +, Folimage, ONF Prize – Amelia E Duarte (Amelia and Duarte) – Maria Alice Eca Guimaraes Azevedo, Monica Fernandes dos Snatos, Portugal

Prix Cube Creatiive Productions Prize – Quartet, Jean Bouthors, Thibault Chimier, Vincent Djinda,  France


Feature Film – A Poings Fermes – Jean-Jacques Kahn, Franck Van Leeuwen, Jean-Jacques Jauffret, France

TV Series – Le Bien Chasser – Boris Belgghiti, Dimitri Cohen-Tanugi, Pierre Razetto, Maxime Paccalet, France

Cross-Media – Bubbleman Superstar-  Alban Gily, France



This year the sun was shining down brightly on the Trickfilm Festival in Stuttgart in more than one way.  Outside, the sky was a beautiful blue and in the screening rooms the films were as brilliant as the sun.

While the competition programs were strong and the feature films in competition offered some interesting surprises, and the highlight of the festival for me this year was the large number of special presentation screenings.

Five programs of African animation covered everything from an overview of current African animation to Revolutionary Films from Egypt and the Middle East.    Revered Nigerian animation pioneer Moustapha Alassane introduced a retrospective of his work, which covers five decades.  Known as the father of African animation, Moustapha uses animation to make people aware of his continent’s culture and to address its problems in a satirical way.  F VVA:  Femme, Voiture, Villa, Agent, his first feature  (1972) is a satirical attack on Africa’s Nouveau Riche and their greed.  Mr. Alassane was also a juror for the International Competition.



My friend Angela Poschet is coming to Annecy with a mission.

She is working as scheduler on Tim Burton’s stop-frame feature Frankenweenie, currently being shot in London, UK.  They are looking for experienced stop-motion animators.

Angela and Supervising Animator Mark Waring will have a recruiting session at Annecy on Friday 10 June from 12 noon until 3 PM at the Creative Focus Events Area.

To arrange an interview e-mail or call the contact person, PA Roxanne Donovan before or during Annecy at:

e-mail:  Mobil:    +44 796 109 01 59



Australian animator Darcy Prendergast’s 2009 music video for the All India Radio track Lucky was a true feast for the eyes.  The video used glow stick with long-exposure techniques to create the effect of moving neon.  The first time I saw Lucky I was amazed with the fluid motion and brilliant colors and obviously I wasn’t the only one because the You Tube/Guggenheim judges short listed it in their 2010 video competition.

After six months of work, Darcy has created Rippled for All India Radio’s new album.  For his new video Darcy takes the techniques he invented for his first music video and expands and refines them.  He captured the images in-camera and brought them to life with precise frame by frame attention to detail.


The 24-Hour Animation Day Call For Entry

Based on the principle of the 24 Hour Comic Strip Day initiated by Scott McCloud, this year Atelier Zorobabel will organize the 24 Hour  Animation Day, in partnership with L’Employe du Moi, Grandppapier, Radio Campus, Nova Cinema, and Periscopayes Festival.   You can work on line and send your work at the end of the weekend so everyone can participate no matter where you live in the world.

The event will take place in Brussels, Rennes, Montreal, and all over the world on May 21st and 22nd 2011 at the same time as the Brussels 24 Hour Comic Strip Day.  The principle is simple:  making 24 seconds of animation (credits included) in 24 hours around a theme that will be unveiled at the beginning of the 24 hours.


CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS - Anifest ROZAFA 2011 -- a Festival By and For Children

The second edition of Anifest ROZAFA in Shikodra, Albania will take place 12 – 18 September 2011.  The festival invites animators of all ages to submit films to this festival By Children and For Children.

Along with the International Competition, the festival conducts seminars and workshops. In the 2010 workshop group, the children made a two minute animation titled “To Face the Consequences”.

The festival has a hard and fast rule that any film that violates human rights, especially children’s, as defined by the Convention of Human Rights or Convention of Children’s Rights will not be accepted.

Films must have been completed after 1 January 2008 and be no longer than 30 minutes.