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It All Started Here: Animation Industry Retrospective

J. J. Sedelmaier Productions and the Westchester Arts Council, along with Blue Sky Studios, have teamed up to present "It All Started Here," a historical and creative retrospective of the animation industry in the New York area.

Curated by J. J. Sedelmaier and animation historian, teacher and author Howard Beckerman, the exhibit consists of artifacts, screenings, workshops and panel discussions about the rich history of animation in New York. The show runs January 20 through February 28, 2009, with an opening night reception open to the public at the Westchester Arts Council on January 17.

Sedelmaier says the massive undertaking is the first to his knowledge that focuses solely on the heritage of New York animation. "This is where the animation industry was founded," he said. "Most people are under the impression it started in L.A., but New York is where animation came from -- from the boroughs, from the city, even out in Westchester. This exhibit is going to encompass the history of animation, the context in which it evolved and flourished, and how it continues to exist to this day."

Among the artifacts included is an original workstation used by Oscar-winning director Chris Wedge in the 1982 Walt Disney feature TRON. That groundbreaking feature was the first to use extensive computer animation, much of which was produced by MAGI/Synthavision, based in Elmsford, NY, in Westchester County. Wedge and other MAGI veterans later went on to open Blue Sky Studios.

Also on exhibit will be animation from the legendary Terrytoons studio (MIGHTY MOUSE) and Fleischer Studios (POPEYE), as well as from both J. J. Sedelmaier Productions and Blue Sky Studios. Sedelmaier's studio has produced animation like the debut season of BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD for MTV, along with creating cartoons for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, Cartoon Network, THE COLBERT REPORT and countless TV commercials. Blue Sky is known for animation features like ICE AGE and HORTON HEARS A WHO!

"It All Started Here" opens with a reception on January 17th, 2009 from 5 to 8 PM at the Westchester Arts Council in White Plains, NY. For more information, visit or call 914-428-4220.

There will also be screenings and a panel discussion on animation in advertising at The Picture House in Pelham, NY, on January 25, 2009, featuring Sedelmaier, Beckerman and Tim Speidel, a senior producer at Arnold Worldwide in New York, who has collaborated on several commercial projects with Sedelmaier and has an extensive background in animated advertising. For more info on The Picture House event, click here.

Events at the Jacob Burns Film Center include a series of animation screenings that will take place in January and February. They include a screening of early animation (accompanied by live piano) on January 15; a screening of work from J. J. Sedelmaier Productions on January 27; a screening of animation for kids on February 5; and a screening of work from Blue Sky on February 23. For more info on the event, click here. In addition, Sedelmaier and Beckerman will be giving a presentation on the history of animation in New York, culled from their work on "It All Started Here," at the New York Comic Con convention, taking place at the Jacob Javits Center from February 6 through February 8.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 - 12:00pm to Saturday, February 28, 2009 - 8:00pm
Submission Deadline 
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 - 12:00pm
New York