Search form



Thanks and Links from Nancy

Nik and I want to thank everyone who sent us such lovely e-mails of condolances about Kirby's passing -- they have made us feel so much better but even though we miss him terribly he did live to a ripe old Dalmation age and spent the last year touring Europe with us (he could bark very expertily in Flemish which is more than we can do).

Through the miracle of modern computers I will be reading my story about my train trip to Russia on the radio show TALES FROM THE EARTH, KUSF 90.3 FM on Wednesday, April 11 at 7:30 PM (San Francisco time -- everyone else has to do the time conversions if they want to hear it). For more information visit - web cast and iTunes. The guest the week before me is poet Laurence Ferlinghetti.


Sad News and Good News

Our beloved Dalmatian Kirby passed away last night. All of you who knew him know how much we loved him and how much he will be missed.

As in all things with the bad comes the good. We have received our official Belgian residence and work permits so we are legally Belgian. Now we begin the long hard task of learning Flemish.

As we near the first Anniversary of the beginning of our new life we will soon send out an account of our adventures in Europe.

Nik and Nancy


Our trip to Espinho, Portugal

Dear Friends:

This article is about our trip to the CINANIMA Animation Festival in
Espinho, Portugal in November. Tomorrow I leave for my last week of
teaching in Lucerne, Switzerland and a short visit with my son in Munich.
In a few weeks I will write a long update about our (very happy) life here
Gent and the adventures and mysteries of our first holiday season here.

Warmest Regards,


If an animator friendly festival with excellent screening conditions and top notch animation is not enough for you, then you need to go to Cinanima, 6 through 12 November in Espinho, Portugal. Added to all of the above was the beautiful beach right outside of our hotel room with warm water and after the cold weather I had just left in Switzerland it was sometimes difficult to go into the screening room. The 30th Anniversary of the Festival offered so many delights that my efforts were well rewarded.


Composer Nik Phelps; filmmakers - music for your film!

Nik and Nancy Phelps have finally completed their relocation to Gent,
Belgium, and the new music studio is set up and ready to go. We now have
the cherished Belgian work permit, and will be taking on new projects
starting after the new year.

Nik has just finished music for Nina Paley's upcoming feature, Sita Sings
the Blues, is currently working on animation projects for animators Lance
Taylor in Canada, and Jordie Doubt in Switzerland, and will be providing
music for the politically topical website of John Grimes and Robin Chin in
the United States ( ) We are currently putting together our
spring 2007 production schedule, so contact us now for music for your
animation, documentary, or film project. You may not think that original
music is affordable, but you will be surprised. Ask us about our reasonable
rates and check out our web site at



To all our American Friends we wish you a


To everyone who is gathering at Tracy and Richard's to carry on a long


AND . . . to the rest of our friends around the world we raise a glass to
you all




Nik, Nancy, Kirby and Molly have a home

Dear friends

Great news!!!

As of 1 October Nik, Nancy, Kirby and Molly have a home!!!!

We are in the very center of Gent in a VERY tiny house (yes, that's right we
actually found a house) with a private patio no less.

We invite you all to come visit us but no more than two people at a time
because any more than that will have to sleep in the bath tub (yes, we have
the luxury of a bath tub)

Please continue to write us at our post office box.

Pictures included . . .


Nik, Nancy, Molly and Kirby


KROK International Festival of Animation

Well, dear friends, here is what hapened at KROK after I finally arrived on
the boat -- it was smooth sailing from then on. I also do discuess the
animation least you think that I was not in the screening room.

I hope this gives you a little flavor of this unique Animation Festival.




The KROK International Festival of Animation is my favorite annual event.
Each year it is a seagoing experience in which 200 animators from around the
world spend 14 days steaming down rivers while watching animation and having
the opportunity to make truly lasting friendships. It alternates between
being held in Russia and Ukraine. This year participants gathered in Moscow
on August 7 at the Dom Kino, home of the Russian Filmmakers Union, for the
overnight bus ride to Nizhniy Novgorod. There they boarded the river cruiser
Marshall Zhukov to watch animation, eat, drink, to dance under the stars
until sunrise, and to have far too much fun!


My Trip to KROK With Fran Kafka

Dear Friends:

This year my KROK article will be in two parts. This episode is about my
train trip to KROK so even if you are not interested in Animation (which I
can not possible imagine) I think that you will enjoy the story of my
travels. The Festival article will follow in a seperate e-mail as will
photos of the trip and festival.

Hope this finds all of you well, that you had as wonderful a summer as I

PS Nik's comment about this whole thing was "I'm certainly glad I wasn't



On Saturday, August 5th as I sat at the window of the train in Gent,
Belgium, waving goodbye to Nik, I was full of thoughts of KROK, my favorite
international animation festival. Little did I suspect that my three-day
train trip to Moscow would turn into an adventure of epic proportions.


Zagreb Animation Festival


If you remember my article about the Zagreb International Festival of
Animation two years ago you may recall how much I loved the Festival. From
the moment you arrive you feel that you are with family. The Festival's
director Margit Antauer, affectionately known as Buba, does everything to
make you feel welcome and her fabulous staff works overtime to try to tend
to your every need.
This year's event took place June 12-17. As I settled in to watch the
opening awards ceremony and the first competition program, little did I know
that this would be one of my rare spates of carefree animation watching
here, thanks to the ASIFA International board and committee meetings which I
needed to attend. True to past years, the opening competition program was
very strong, ranging from the National Film Board of Canada's Louise by
Anita Lebeau which I wrote about in the Annecy 2005 article, Ivan Maximov's
Wind Along the Coast which we screened at our two farewell performances in
the Bay Area and John Canemakers' Oscar winning film Moon and the Son: An
Imagined Conversation. Following the screening, there was a lovely welcoming


More Animation Adventures in Annecy, France

All of our San Francisco friends know what we went through in our last month
in the city -- and I must say that we could not have done the move without
the amazing help of all of you. Finally after MONSTRA we got the chance to
have a few days off on the North coast of Spain, where Nik promptly got sick
but Kirby, Molly and I enjoyed the lovely beach and I actually got the
chance to start writing and actually read a book -- now off to The Annecy
International Festival of Animation!!!


2006 Annecy International Animation Festival

Once again this year I found the animation at Annecy by and large to be a big yawn!!! The quality of the competition films was exceptionally low -- there were entire programs that I came out of thinking “Why did I have to sit through that?” Films that I would normally have thought “That was OK, but . . .” seemed to be a breath of fresh air and the few really good films – Joanna Quinn’s DREAMS AND DESIRES – FAMILY TIES, A RAM AND A GOAT and PRINTED RAINBOW really stood out. For those familiar with Quinn’s two previous award winning films featuring her character Beryl (GIRL’S NIGHT OUT and BODY BEAUTIFUL), her new film treats us to an older Beryl who decides to plunge into the arts to help cushion her mid-life crisis. At the directors’ chat, Joanna said that this is the first of a four-part series about Beryl plunging into the arts. Needless to say, Beryl’s foray into the world of wedding video photographer ends in hilarious .disasters. A RAM AND A GOAT by Natalia Berezovaya, part of Pilot Moscow Animation Studio’s ambitious and beautiful series of animated folk tales from regions all over the former Soviet Union. I wrote very highly and in greater detail about this series last year after seeing samples at KROK. Each episode is in a different style by various Russian animators and covers a wide range of animation techniques. The lovely Indian film, PRINTED RAINBOW, by Gitanjali Rao, is a story, told through Indian matchbox covers, of a woman and her cat who live alone and travel vicariously through her beautiful match boxes. The film looks at loneliness and death in a positive and hopeful way.


Animation Festivals with Nik, Nancy, Molly and Kirby

that you will never see and people that you probably have never heard of. If
you are still reading, these are my accounts of the MONSTRA animation
Festival in Lisbon,Portugal and the Annecy International Festival of

We are all well -- very busy --and weeding through the Belgian burocracy to
get our green cards. We miss you all . . ". but it is a far, far better
thing that I (we ) have done . . .".


Nik, Nancy, Molly and Kirby's adventures

Well, guys, I have been getting requests for new about our adventures -- I'm afraid that it is going to have to come in installments since we landed in Gent (which I love --now sitting in my office in a window over looking the canal -- occasionally a boat or barge comes by) and took off immediately to festivals but here goes the first part . . . laugh on . . . it's all good!!!

Love, Nancy

PS a couple of photos so you can get the feel of what we are up to. Also, sorry about the unedited state of the story but there just isn't any more time!!!


The First Installment of Nik and Nancy in Europe

Our last few weeks in San Francisco were very intense -- as many of you who helped us get out of the city know. ASIFA threw an amazing going away party for us replete with fabulous food and did the wine flow. There is no way we can thank Laura Tuluse and the crew of volunteers that she recruited, those who made and donated so much delicious food, and of course Carl and Sandra of Carl's Fine Film for giving us the most perfectly beautiful location.

Miss P. threw a real bash for us -- jam packed with so many friends -- people that we love so much -- lots of good food and again lots of wonderful drink -- we partied into the wee hours!!! Our last night in town we had a few of our very closest pals over to just eat, drink and hang out at Michael Lyon's home -- hard to believe that he actually put up with Nik and I plus our two beloved dogs and all of our stuff for so long!!! Nik actually set up a recording studio in his living room and recorded several episodes of MONSTORIES that had to be in Canada before we could get on the plane. Nik was totally amazing the way he just kept forging ahead and writing music in what to most seemed like total chaos but was becoming frighteningly normal to us!!!


Bay Area Bon Voyage for Nik & Nancy

Hey Everyone - Our Dear friend Ms P Segal is having a Bon Voyage
get-together for us on Saturday:

Dear friends,

As you probably know, Nik and Nancy Phelps have
finally given up their house in the Avenues, and are
moving to Ghent, Belgium, in a few days. They're
tremendously excited, and have a remarkable and
well-earned future ahead in Europe.

For those of you who haven't had a chance to see them
recently, we're having a very informal drop-by
farewell at my house this Saturday, April 8, from
about 6 until midnight or so. My academic life has
made it impossible for me to do anything like a bash
right now, and this is a totally bring-you-own food
and drink kind of thing for a last visit before they
are off to Europe. Please pass the word along to
people who should know, because my email list is
hardly complete.


Free Days at Nik & Nancy's

OK, all of you bargain hunters who have waited us out. There's still a lot
of good stuff - kitchen items, fax machine, knick knacks. noggiles and
gimcracks.... and almost everything is free (still haven't packed everything
that is going). It will be available until Thurs. morning, when it ALL GOES.
Come on by and get it. Don't email or call, we are packing, not listening to
the msg. machine and hanging out on the computer.

And THANKS, THANKS, THANKS to the wonderful volunteers who have helped us
out this last couple of weeks!!!!

YAY!! We're out of here by Friday


The ultimate sale of Nancy and Nik (at last!!!) THIS IS IT

The Museum is now closed and Nik and Nancy are moving on to their next life.
If you have enjoyed the parties and good times here, the remains can be
viewed and PURCHASED on March 24, 25 and 26  (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.  Please come by to say bye to Nik and Nancy and

Our special thanks to everyone who has given SO generously of their time to
help us pack, move into storage and brought us FABULOUS meals -- we couldn't
have done it without you all!!!

2066  30th Avenue  (Between Pacheco and Quintara) - for the last week
24, 25 and 26 March

9:00 AM to 6:00 PM


call for volunteers

The End is Nigh! - Nik and Nancy are well underway getting ready for the LE
GRANDE LAST BIG SALE, but we need help wrapping and packing the little
things we are taking with us (and getting a close look at what's going for
sale). If you have even a few hours you can give us, call or email and we
will schedule you in. (415-681-3189) It's a way to do a hang with us before
we go - not all work, not all play - just more of our strange and wonderful

Also - if any of you sell on E-Bay, we have several collectables we would
like to sell, and we would rather pay someone we know than just take them to



Packing, selling and moving - note for Bay Area friends

Dear Friends:

On Friday morning at 9:00 AM, Nik and I will open the doors of our home to
the public to buy, buy, buy. If there are things in our home that you are
interested in purchasing please give us a call at 415/681-3189 ASAP and we
will make arrangements for you to come over prior to this Friday AM.

We love you all and will miss you but it is time for us to move on. . . so
come and help us clear out!!!!


Nik and Nancy

PS We are packing with a frenzy and so as much as we would love to sit
around and drink wine and visit WE JUST CAN'T!!!!


Concert notes, new address for Nik and Nancy


Yes, after many false starts Nik and Nancy are indeed moving to Belgium, and
Thursday night will be the last chance to see the amazing collection of
contemporary animation that they have brought back from their European
travels and enjoy the trio of Nik, Nancy and renowned Animation historian
Karl Cohen giving insights into the History of Animation through Music.

7:00 PM Nik and Nancy present a historic overview of animated films using
music and sound in unusual and diverse ways from Joie de Vivre (1934 ) to
Fetch (2001). All ages welcome.

9:00 PM Nik and the Ensemble - Violinist Ellen Gronningen, Pianist Larry
Dunlap, and Bassist Andrew Higgins, Nik's "dream team of musicians",
perform Nik's scores to the best of Contemporary European animation from
Belgium, Russia, Switzerland and Portugal to name a few. The concert ends
with Nina Paley's FETCH! with Nik and the Ensemble performing his original
scores live with a special guest star.


Absolutely the last Bay Area performances by Nik Phelps and the Sprocket Ensemble at the Balboa Theater



Balboa Theatre

3630 Balboa Street @ 37th Avenue in San Francisco

Two DIFFERENT shows 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM

Separate Admission for each program: $10.00

Just when we thought that we had given our last Bay Area performance and
turned our creative talents to sorting through 20 years of our life, Gary
Meyer and the Balboa Theatre honored us by asking Nik and I to present two
special programs of our work. If you missed our Trinity Chapel performance
here is another chance to see and hear NIK AND THE SPROCKET ENSEMBLE before
we leave for Europe in April -- if you have never experienced our live
performance be sure not to miss MARCH 2 at the Balboa Theatres


Sprocket Ensemble Concert reminder


Nik and Nancy really are moving to Belgium -- their landlord is selling
their home and they have to be out by 31 March so on Saturday February 4th
NIK PHELPS AND THE SPROCKET ENSEMBLE will give their last East Bay
Appearance before moving to Belgium.

Nancy and Nik have curated a program of their favorite films that they have
brought back from their travels to Europe, and Nik has composed evocative
music for each film to be performed live to this contemporary animation.
Whether you are a long time fan or just interested in European animation
this is a must see program.

Saturday February 4th at 8 PM


Co-Operative Young Film Makers Festival in Bradford, England

Dear Friends:

In October 2005 Nik and I were invited to present a program of the history
of animation through music. The festival turned out to be such a wonderful
experience that I wrote an article about it for our ASIFA newsletter. I
want to share it with our animation community.

If you are not on our e-mail list because you are interested in animation
then just delete this message now. To the rest of you -- hope that you
enjoy it.



On October 14 and 15 2005, Nik and I had the rewarding experience of appearing at the Co-operative Young Film Makers Film Festival at the National Museum of Photography, Film, and Television in Bradford, England. The Festival is one of the few non-competitive young people's film festivals in the world (the films are juried), and is a celebration of filmmaking which allows young people from 6 to 21 to see their works beautifully projected on the big screen and to explore creativity through workshops presented by industry professionals during the two day event.