Prescott Wright, a co-founder of the Ottawa International Animation Festival and ASIFA-San Francisco, and the original producer of the Tournee of Animation, has passed away at the age of 71. He died on Dec. 28 following a long bout with Picks Syndrome, a form of dementia related to Alzheimer’s disease.
Wright and other ASIFA-Hollywood members created The International Tournee of Animation in the late ’60s as a way for animation fans in the U.S. to have access to many of the animated films that screened at festivals overseas. Wright continued to organize and promote the event until it was acqured by Terry Thoren’s Expanded Entertainment in the early 1980s.
“When I took over the International Tournees of Animation from Prescott Wright in 1983 I began my solid day-to-day association with this great man,” Thoren tells us. “As the owner and producer it was my challenge to find cutting-edge animated films to acquire for the International Tournees. Prescott opened up his world of contacts to me and helped me in ways that cannot be measured. He was a wonderful mentor, a great ambassador for animation artists the world over and an inspiration to animation aficionados everywhere. I always had a great respect for Prescott and a deep admiration for the unique way that he approached his job and his life. In all my travels I have never met anyone quite like him.”
Wright served on ASIFA’s international board of directors for a number of years and was an advisor to Ottawa and other major animation festivals. More recently, he helped Disney recruit artists and worked in the Philippines and India as an instructor and in development with emerging animation studios.
“I will miss Prescott,” Thoren adds. “He made a unique contribution to a very special art form and was able to touch the hearts of many. The international animated short film circuit was never the same without him and the loss to animation enthusiasts worldwide cannot be fully measured. His presence will be greatly missed and his passing is a loss for anyone who loves animation in the purest sense.”
The family of Prescott Wright will hold a small ceremony in his honor in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition, ASIFA-San Francisco will dedicate its annual party to his memory on Friday, Jan. 5.