Some of the top creative stars working in the animation and visual effects industry shared their valuable knowledge at the sixth edition of Animag’s World Animation and VFX Summit this past week. The four-day event kicked off with a wonderful evening awards gala, held at the Casa del Mar hotel in Santa Monica on Sunday (Oct. 30).
This year’s honorees – voice actress Nancy Cartwright (Bart Simpson), producer Lori Forte (Ice Age movies, Ferdinand), director and Disney animator Glen Keane (Dear Basketball), French distributor PGS, Frederator Studios founder and CEO Fred Seibert and DreamWorks TV Animation topper Mark Taylor were the distinguished recipients of the 2017 Hall of Fame Game Changer award. The Hall of Famers received poignant tributes by their colleagues The Simpsons exec producer Al Jean, Fox Family Animation president Vanessa Morrison, director John Musker (Moana, Aladdin, Little Mermaid), kids TV producer Tom Lynch, former Nick and TV Land exec Herb Scannell and DreamWorks TV animation head Margie Cohn. The ceremony was hosted by the always witty and wonderful Tom Kenny, actor extraordinaire who is best known for voicing SpongeBob SquarePants.
Attendees had the opportunity to enjoy two days of informative panels and lively discussions at the California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, Calif. Among this year’s inspiring speakers at the Summit were: Kyle Balda, Kobe Bryant, Vanessa Chapman, Stephen Clee, Mo Davoudian, John Derevlany, Joel Douek, Audrey Ford, Ruth Fielding, Michaela Hart, Guillaume Hellouin, Max Howard, Kevin Tod Haug, Terry Kalagian, Ken Katsumoto, David Kwok, Michael Hefferon, Cory Jamieson , Glen Keane, Dorota Kobiela, Iryna Kostyuk, Gregory Little, Tom McGrath, Peter McHugh, Chris McKay, Max Miceli, Chris O’Reilly, Sascha Paladino, Serge Patzak, Sandra Rabins, Timothy Reckart, John Robson, Adam Rumanek, Richard Scott, David Simon, David Soren, Carlos Saldanha, Sander Schwartz, Philippe Soutter, Frank Saperstein, Irene Sparre, Mark Taylor, Toper Taylor, Nicolas Trout, Tom van Waveren and Lin Zhang. The third day of the Summit featured master classes taught by Mary Duda, Archita Ghosh, Butch Hartman and Fred Seibert.
The 2017 Summit showcased panels on the making of some of the year’s top animated features such as Captain Underpants, Boss Baby, Loving Vincent, Despicable Me 3, LEGO Batman Movie, The Star and Ferdinand. It also focused on some of the innovations in new media, co-production opportunities, the future of streaming and the changes in the TV landscape, the U.K. animation scene, the VFX of Okja, behind the scenes of Disney Jr.’s Miles from Tomorrowland, and the promise of the VR universe. One of the highlights was an insightful panel on the making of the acclaimed short Dear Basketball, with animation icon Glen Keane and basketball legend Kobe Bryant.
“This is our sixth year of bringing together some of the amazing people who work behind the scenes of our beloved industry,” said event founder and Animation Magazine publisher Jean Thoren. “It’s so rewarding to see talented folks from all over the world come together at the Summit to share their experiences and lay the groundwork for more quality productions in the future.”
As Emmy-winning producer and veteran animation exec Sander Schwartz put it, “The World Animation and VFX Summit provides a much-needed forum for professionals of all levels to meet, greet and to learn. Between the panel discussions, fireside chats and master classes, there’s ample opportunity to meet new people from around the world, as well as to pursue new business opportunities.”
We couldn’t have done this event without the amazing support of our volunteers, panelists, attendees from all over the world and generous sponsors: CelAction, COP DreamWorks Animation, The Gotham Group, Illumination Entertainment, Natural Talent, Nickelodeon, Paris Images Digital Summit, the PGS Company, Shellhut/Tiny Island and WOW! Unlimited Media. A big shout out to event director Kim Derevlany who worked long hours for many months to make sure everything went seamlessly without a hitch.
If you missed the fun this year, we hope you can join us in 2018.