Latin American Animation Day Returns to LA March 24

On Saturday, March 24, East Los Angeles College will host Latin American Animation Day, presented in partnership with Cinema Without Borders as the fourth annual East Los Angeles College International Animation Festival. Highlights of the day’s programming include a program of shorts — featuring Oscar winner Bear Story — and a tribute to the late, great Bill Melendez.

The ELAC International Animation Festival’s mission is to present an in-depth and entertaining look at contemporary animation from around the world. Latin American Animation Day will be held at the College, located at 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez in Monterey Park, CA. Screenings will be held in Building S1, Screening Room 112. Free parking will be available in Structure 4 (W Floral Dr. & Collegian Ave.) RSVP at


  • 12:30 PM Reception, appetizers provided by Carnival Restaurant and live music by ELAC’s Music Department.
  • 1:30 PM Opening Remarks by Linda Kallan, Chair of the Art Department at ELAC; and Bijan Tehrani, Editor in Chief of Cinema Without Borders and director of the Festival.
  • 1:45 PM Screening of Short Animated Films from Latin American Countries: Mexico: Muros no fronteras and Poliangular; Brazil: Plantae, Sinias Do Sim and Camino Gigante; Chile: Bear Story (Academy Award winner) and Gift.
  • 2:45 PM Panel Discussion and Q &A. Panel members are Sarah Baisley (former editor-in-chief of Animation Magazine and of AWN), Chilean-American animator Enzo Baldi, animation & VFX instructor Mike Libonati (ELAC), Disney features animator Leonardo Matsuda (dir. Inner Workings), writer Tom McLean (news editor at AWN, author Mutant Cinema), Emmy-winning animator Ennio Torresan (head of story, Everest 2019) and Jean Thoren (owner & publisher, Animation Magazine; founder, World Animation & VFX Summit).
  • 3: 15 PM The Making of Inner Workings with Leo Matsuda.
  • 3:35 PM Tribute to a Legend: The Late Bill Melendez by Tom Sito.
  • 4:15 PM: Closing remarks announcing Scandinavian Animation Day in 2019
  • Making of the Inner Workings: Brazilian-born animation director and story artist Leo Matsuda presents his animated short film, Inner Workings, which was produced at Walt Disney Animation Studios and screened in front of Moana in 2016. Matsuda worked as a story artist on Disney’s Zootopia, as well as 2014’s Oscar-winning film Big Hero 6. Matsuda was nominated for an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production for his work on 2012’s Oscar-nominated Wreck-It Ralph. Prior to joining Disney, Matsuda worked in the character layout department on The Simpsons Movie at 20th Century Fox. He was a junior story artist for Rio at Blue Sky Studios, and was a story intern at Pixar Animation Studios.
  • Tribute to a Legend: The Late Bill Melendez: Born José Cuauhtémoc Melendez in Hermosillo, Mexico on Nov. 15, 1916 (d. Sept. 2, 2008 in Santa Monica, CA), Bill Melendez animated and/or produced dozens of television programs and four feature films about the Peanuts comic strip characters, starting in 1965 with the seasonal classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. He was the only animator Peanuts creator Charles Schulz trusted with the property, and carried on after Schulz’s death in 2000. Melendez’s professional career began in 1938 at Walt Disney Studios, where he drew Mickey Mouse specials and contributed to Fantasia (1940) and Pinocchio (1940). In 1941, he joined Leon Schlesinger Productions (later acquired by Warner Brothers) and worked on various cartoons, among them those featuring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. He started his own studio, Bill Melendez Productions, with his producer partner Lee Mendelson in 1964. Melendez’s work on Peanuts specials won three Emmy Awards. He also received three additional Emmys, and his work was nominated on 22 other occasions. In addition, he provided the expressive sounds that constituted the voice of the character Snoopy.

Speaker Tom Sito is an animator, historian and professor of animation at the University of Southern California. His credits include Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), The Little Mermaid (1989), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), DreamWorks’ Shrek (2001), Warner Bros.’ Osmosis Jones, and Fox’s Garfield the Movie (2004). He lectures on animation around the world, and is the author of several books. In 2014 he was featured in the PBS American Experience documentary Walt Disney.

ELAC’s Latin American Animation Day is supported by media sponsors Animation Magazine, AWN and Latino Weekly Review; and Southeast European Film Festival LA, Polish Film Festival LA, Hungarian Film Festival LA and Scandinavian Film Festival LA. The program was assembled with the help of Chilean animation artist Jaime Cañas, Léa Zagury (director, AnimaMundi – Brazil) and José Iñesta (director, Pixelatl Animation Festival – Mexico).

Bear Story
Bear Story
Bill Melendez
Bill Melendez



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