Next Grand Juror, Eric Goldberg, Onboard!

As we get closer to our Call For Entries deadline, we’re thrilled to notch up the excitement around our fest with another major announcement! Today, we unveil the next member of our Grand Jury, the massively talented animator and director, Eric Goldberg. Yep! You’re right! Eric is the guy that animated the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, co-directed Disney’s Pocahontas and served as animation director for Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Here’s Eric’s full bio for you to peruse.

Eric Goldberg’s animation knowledge started early. He created flip books at age six and started making Super-8 films at the age of 13. His teenage years included guest appearances on local Philadelphia television programs, as well as a national appearance on To Tell the Truth. Eric’s Super-8 films won top prizes in the Kodak Teenage Movie Awards, including 1974’s Grand Prize of summer film courses at the University of Southern California. Eric received a full scholarship to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, where he majored in illustration and took supplemental animation and film courses. He worked as a freelance animator while still in school and eventually wound up as a fulltime assistant animator on Raggedy Ann and Andy, directed by Richard Williams.

The experience meant working with master animator Tissa David (UPA, Hubley Studios), as well as animation legends Emery Hawkins (Walter Lantz, Warner Bros., Hubley Studios) and Art Babbitt (Disney, UPA, Hubley, Quartet). When the film was completed, Richard Williams invited Eric to work in his London studio as a director/animator on countless television spots. He had the good fortune to work with Ken Harris at that time, learning techniques honed during Ken’s stint as Chuck Jones’ greatest animator (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Pepe Le Pew, et al). Eric’s association with Richard Williams continued in Los Angeles, where Eric served as director of animation on the Emmy-winning Ziggy’s Gift, based on the popular newspaper cartoon

Eric met his future wife, Susan, while on holiday in New York, where she was the head background painter for Zander’s Animation Parlour. Married during the making of Ziggy, Eric and Susan have enjoyed both a personal and professional relationship with Susan frequently serving as art director on their projects. The couple landed back in London where Eric co-founded Pizazz Pictures, a commercials studio with a worldwide clientele. At Pizazz Eric directed spots employing such diverse techniques as cel animation, brush-painting, stop-motion, pixillation, colored-pencil rendering, live-action and animation combinations and digital compositing

Eventually Disney came knocking at Eric’s door and convinced him to return to California for what turned out to be a 10-year run at the studio. Eric’s first assignment was as supervising animator on Aladdin’s wise-cracking Genie, who endlessly morphed and shape-shifted into whatever form the brilliant mind of Robin Williams could conjure up. After that, he co-directed the successful Pocahontas, the first Disney feature based on events and people who actually existed as a vivid part of America’s history.

Eric then animated the feisty Danny DeVito-voiced satyr Phil in Hercules, and followed that with a stint on Fantasia/2000. Eric directed, wrote and animated two critically-acclaimed sequences for that film: Carnival of the Animals (flamingos with yo-yos, rendered in animated watercolor) and Rhapsody in Blue, a slice-of-life story set in 1930s New York. The piece, a labor of love, was inspired by both George Gershwin and legendary theatrical caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, who served as artistic consultant. Susan brought her formidable talents to the film as art director on both sequences.Later, Eric spent a year at Universal Studios developing Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are as a CG animated feature film until the project became bogged down in classic "development hell." From there, he went across the street to Warner Bros. and served as animation director on the live-action/animation feature Looney Tunes: Back in Action, directed by Joe Dante. Joe and Eric considered their work a personal tribute to the late Chuck Jones, who was a friend to both and was peerless as the most brilliant animation director ever at Warner Bros. On this film, Eric got to handle the legendary Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, Wile E. Coyote, Yosemite Sam and the entire Warners stable, and provided the voices for Speedy Gonzales, Tweety and Marvin the Martian.