Jurried Annie Awards Announced

ASIFA-Hollywood, The International Animated Film Society, announced today the juried award recipients for the 31st Annual Annie Awards, to be held on Feb. 7, 2004. In addition to Best Animated Feature, this year’s awards ceremony will honor animation excellence across 22 categories, including Home Entertainment, Short Subject, Television Commercial and Television Production. Awards will also be issued in recognition of individual excellence in the fields of production design, character animation, effects animation, writing, music, directing, storyboarding and voice acting for both film and television. Nominations for all non-juried awards will be announced on Jan. 5.

Ths year’s Winsor McCay Award Recipients (lifetime or career contributions to the art of animation) are:

Gene Deitch: Maverick American cartoonist and animation director. During the 1950s Deitch revitalized Terrytoons studios, providing early animation experience to many future notable talents including Ernest Pintoff, R.O.Blechman, Jules Feiffer, Ralph Bakshi, and James Flora, and created the enduring character Tom Terrific. Deitch moved to Czecholoslovakia in the late 1950s and produced theatrical and television shorts, including his Oscar-winning film, Munro and a series of faithful Krazy Kat cartoons for TV. Still working, Deitch recently completed a new film, Bark George, with Jules Feiffer.

John Hench: Walt Disney design guru who at 95 years of age continues to work at Walt Disney Imagineering where he helps design the attractions at Disney theme parks on three continents. He began his career with Disney where he created background paintings for Dumbo and Fantasia, and won an Academy Award for special effects in 1955 for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Hench was one of the first artists Walt Disney enlisted to work on Disneyland.

Thurl Ravenscroft: Since 1952, Thurl has been the only voice of Tony the Tiger. He also teamed with Dr. Suess and Chuck Jones as the voice of the Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas and also lent his golden pipes to other Dr. Suess projects including The Cat in the Hat. Ravenscroft’s singing career continued well into the 1970s and he still does the occasional Frosted Flakes commercial.

The June Foray Award (Significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation) goes to Martha Sigall, who began her career in the mid-1930s as an “ink and paint girl” at the Schlessinger (Looney Tunes) Studio. Over the next four decades she worked for many other cartoon shops, including MGM and the studios of Bob Clampett and Bill Melendez. She has shared her vast knowledge of the industry and its top personalities with many historians and documentarians.

The Ub Iwerks Award (Technical Achievement) will be awarded to Scott Johnson for Lumo Software, while a Certificate of Merit will be handed out to David Derks and the team of Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt, who have been traveling the country with their animated shorts festival dubbed The Animation Show.

The Annie awards ceremony will be held on Feb. 7, 2004 at the legendary Alex Theatre in Glendale. Limited seating is available to the public. For tickets, log onto www.asifa-hollywood.org or call 818.842.8330.

Founded in 1972 by ASIFA member and veteran voice talent June Foray, the Annie Awards have grown in scope and stature for the past three decades. Today, ASIFA-Hollywood supports a range of animation activities and preservation efforts through its membership.