Frank Gladstone at the 43rd Annie Awards. Photo by David Yeh.
I am so glad to welcome you, once again, to this year’s Annie Awards.
It has been an eventful year for ASIFA-Hollywood. We continue to grow as an organization, now with more than 5,000 members. The Annie Awards are growing too. This is the third year in a row that award submissions have increased by more than 10%. Some of that growth is happening because we are inviting the world to our table. The newest Annie category, “Best Feature-Independent, is the most obvious step in that direction, but we are doing more to widen the animation arena, not only in obvious categories like short subjects and student films, but throughout the entire spectrum of nominations.
This year we had our first completely VR nominee. We also began distributing some screeners digitally. Ceremony interest peaked early too. VIP tickets sold out nearly a month in advance. Nevertheless, positive developments aside, we cannot rest on our laurels. There are things we want to improve. We have hired a consultant to help us discover what we could do better insofar as the Annie election process is concerned, and we’ll soon have that report. From what we find out, we hope to make the Annie Awards even more accessible and transparent than they already are.
While the Annies will always remain ASIFA-Hollywood’s signature event, we do take our mission and our non-profit status very seriously. Through dogged determination and substantial effort, we have come from financial straits to financially stability. That said, our job is not to keep our money, but to re-invest it in our community. To that end, we have increased funding for our student scholarships, film restoration efforts, animation aid funding, community outreach, the Animation Educators Forum, event support and, of course, the Animation Center, our building initiative.
Personally, working for all of you with our Executive Board of Directors is an honor and privilege. I am lucky and incredibly proud to know that ASIFA-Hollywood is as healthy and active as we have ever been. The best part, of course, is there is so much more to come.
So join me in our annual celebration of the animation community’s progress and creative genius. Relax, catch up with old friends and meet a few new one ones. Congratulate our Annie nominees and recipients. Above all, have a good time!
We can all start working on Annies 44…tomorrow!
Executive Director, Asifa-Hollywood