Claymation master Will Vinton received a Lifetime Achievement Award this past weekend at a special ceremony at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles. The special tribute to the Oscar- and Emmy-winning animator was presented by Cinema Without Borders, the Italian Cultural Institute and the Art Institute of California, Los Angeles. Phil Roman, Phil Mendez, Terry Thoren, Sarah Baisley, Cinzia Angelini and Marco Regina were among the special evening’s attendees.
During the ceremony, Terry Thoren, founder of Animation Magazine and former CEO of Klasky Csupo talked about his friend, Will Vinton, and his work as a master of claymation animation. The award was presented to Vinton by Phil Roman—the 2012 Life Achievement Award winner. Phil Mendez, the 2010’s Life Achievement honoree, was also on hand to present painting of his, which was completed for the occasion, to Vinton. The award itself was designed by AI Student Shawn Linn, and produced as a 3D statue by artist and AI professor, Peter Gend.
Based in Portland, Vinton has had a distinguished and highly eclectic career as a stop-motion animation director, producer and the founder of the Will Vinton Studios. Among the many highlights of his career are the fairy tale trilogy from the 70s, Martin the Cobbler, Rip Van Winkle and The Little Prince, the 1985 feature film The Adventures of Mark Twain, as well as the Emmy-winning series The PJs, and Gary and Mike and the 1988 Emmy-winning A Claymation Christmas Celebration for CBS. Vinton was also behind many ground-breaking commercials, including the much-loved ones featuring the California Raisins, Domino’s Pizza Noid and M&M Red, Yellow and Green characters.
Alberto Di Mauro, director of the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles and Bijan Tehrani, editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders made special introductions to the program, followed by Professor Mike Rogers, who introduced a program of animated by Art Institute students. One of the students’ films, Kick the Can, involved the cooperation of student Maribel Orozco with Fabrizio Mancinelli, an Italian-American composer.
The evening continued with words from Massimo Sarti, the IIC Deputy Director, and animated shorts from Italy, selected by Italian film critic, Maurizio Di Rienzo. Cinzia Angelini, Italian-American animator and winner of CWB/ICC’s Italian/American Animator of 2012, gave an introduction to Marco Regina, the winner of the 2013 honor. After the screening of excerpts from Marco Regina’s work at DreamWorks, he received his award from Alberto Di Mauro and dedicated it to his wife and his future child.