On Sunday, the inaugural World Animation Feature Films and VFX Summit was launched in grand style at the Marina del Rey California Yacht Club. During a special opening night cocktail party, sponsored by Disney Studios, Animation Magazine president and event organizer Jean Thoren awarded Joan Vogelesang, president and CEO of Toon Boon Animation a special Humanitarian prize for her tireless efforts to develop new markets in animation all over the world and helping numerous studios and educational institutions train animators and create jobs in a fast-changing market. Toon Boom’s software Storyboard Pro also won a primetime Engineering Emmy earlier this month.
New York-based indie company GKIDS was also awarded the Animation Magazine 2012 Distributor of the Year award for continuing to bring top-notch international hand-crafted movies such as Goro Miyazaki’s From Up on Poppy Hill, Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux’s The Rabbi’s Cat, Remi Bezancon and Jean-Christophe Lie’ Zarafa and Jean-Francois Laguionie’s The Painting (Le Tableau) to U.S. audiences. Accepting the honor for studio founder and president Eric Beckman (who was unable to attend the event because of the weather conditions in New York City) was publicist and animator Jamie Bolio.
Monday morning’s sessions included an insightful keynote speech by Digital Domain co-founder Scott Ross about the changing nature of the VFX business and how creating unique I.P.s is the key to survival in the years ahead, an informative behind-the-scenes look at the making of DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians (with director Peter Ramsey and producers Christina Steinberg and Nancy Bernstein), and a peek into the world of agents and managers who rep animation (with Donna Felton of Natural Talent, Eric Robinson of The Gotham Group, Jim Strader of Quattro Media and Annette van Duren of the Van Duren Agency).
The afternoon program offered a look at the legal ins and outs of setting up an animation company and financing, licensing and multiplatform dealmaking with legal experts Fred Fierst, Steven G. Krone and Stephen Monas. A timely look at the vfx survival strategies for indie houses featured Kevin Baillie (co-founder and vfx supervisor at Studio Atomic Fiction), Mike Romey (pipeline supervisor at Zoic Studios), Danielle Plantec (co-founder of Scanline VFX) and Jeff Young (president and COO of Arc Productions). Monday’s animation and visual effects software panel featured Toon Boom’s Joan Vogelesang, The Foundry’s Matt Plec and ZYNC’s Todd Prives.
For a look at Tuesday’s programs, visit www.animationmagazine.net/summit.
You can view the full photoset from Sunday night here.