ASIFA-Hollywood President Jerry Beck at the Annie Awards. Photo by David Yeh.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of ASIFA-Hollywood, I’m delighted to welcome you to our annual celebration of the art of animation – and our yearly party for all those who practice the craft.
Let the Annie Awards begin! To the nominees and artists, executives and enthusiasts – this is your night. This is our night. Tonight the studio walls come down and we assemble to honor our colleagues and socialize as one community – a community dedicated to the purest of all motion picture mediums.
Animation has never been as popular with the general public, with students, with families – not to mention the major Hollywood studios – as it is today. Animated features now routinely become some of the biggest box office hits of the year. The top live action films frequently rely on animated effects and creatures. Video games, commercials, cable channels, and broadcast networks employ armies of animators and visual artists to bring their most popular creations to life.
New technologies such as Virtual Reality, and new outlets like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are expanding their reach – and are reaching out to the animation community and its creativity to appeal to new viewers.
All this activity is felt by our Board at ASIFA-Hollywood. We are expanding our ranks to bring in more working animators, artists and creatives to help guide our organization as we expand our services to the community.
Those services, beyond the Annie Awards, include providing scholarships, funding film preservation, and supporting special programming at various festivals, industry events and comic cons.
Over the next twelve months, our members will be invited to even more exclusive premiere screenings of animated features and TV series previews (almost always with a directors Q&A) than ever before – and we will also unveil our latest film archive restorations: a pair of rarely seen Max Fleischer two-reel Technicolor specials.
We also hope to break ground this year on our new home base and screening room. It will be a permanent animation cinematheque that will feature regular animation screenings, workshops and panels on a weekly basis, all year round. Stay tuned for more information about this.
For now, let’s raise a glass and toast tonight’s Annie honorees. Whether your project was in CG, with puppets or clay, in 3-D, 2-D, using hand drawing or motion-capture (no lack of diversity here) – this is your night. These are your people.