The LA Animation Festival (www.laafest.com) has revealed highlights the can’t-miss Opening Night Preview Party, which will kick off the 2018 event. Tickets are on sale now for LAAF, which runs Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at its new home at the Mayflower Club in North Hollywood. Submissions for the film competition (via FilmFreeway) close Nov. 9.
LAAF revs up at the Opening Night Preview Party, with a performance by SpongeBob SquarePants voice star Tom Kenny and his 13-piece soul band The Hi Seas, featuring songwriter, producer and rock legend Andy Paley (co-author of Kenny’s Best Day Ever). The red carpet event will welcome man of the festival’s special guests, including Honorees Chris Prynoski (director, animator and co-founder of Titmouse) and Evette Vargas (VR pioneer). A third of the party proceeds will benefit Women in Animation.
The festival includes competition programs, panels, the Los Angeles Premiere of Joanna Priestley’s feature selection North of Blue on Saturday (director in attendance), and the only major LA screening of award-winning feature Virus Tropical from designer Powerpaola and director Santiago Caicedo on Sunday.
Among the weekend’s panelists are The Simpsons director David Silverman, King of the Hill co-showrunner David Krinsky, Family Guy writer Jaydi Samuels, The Boondocks writer Carl Jones, animation historian Jerry Beck, The Book of Life director Jorge R. Gutiérrez, Kubo and the Two Strings creator Shannon Tindle, The LEGO Movie 2 co-director Trisha Gum, legendary animator Bob Kurtz, Emmy-winning producer Patricia Jausoro, Afro Samurai producer Eric Calderon and Isle of Dogs production designer Paul Harrod, who will present a special screening and making of the Wes Anderson feature, sponsored by LA stop-motion makers Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and Screen Novelties.
The work of this year’s honoree Chris Prynoski, co-owner with his wife Shannon of innovative animation powerhouse Titmouse, will be featured in a special program Saturday evening, comprising a TV chat-show style Q&A and screenings of his many works. Prynoski will be awarded LAAF 2018 Honoree prize during the evening. “In the circles I travel in, there is unanimous agreement that it’s time to honor Chris P for all he’s done for our community,” said festival co-director John Andrews.
Capping off the weekend is Sunday’s Competition Awards Ceremony which honors first, second and third place winners in several judging categories, and includes several special awards including one for VR pioneer that goes to New York Times “Artist to Watch” Evette Vargas, an award-winning writer, director and producer of multi-platform and Virtual Reality projects. “It’s such an honor to be recognized by the Los Angeles Animation Festival in this way, and being in the phenomenal company of Chris P makes it doubly so,” said Vargas.
Also on Sunday night, CalArts Character Animation star Gabrielle Capili makes a very special live appearance with her pet dinosaur!
Competition judges include the aforementioned Beck and Calderon, plus past director of Ottawa International Animation Festival and panel moderator Tom Knott, Nexus Productions co-founder Chris O’Reilly, Titmouse partner/art director Antonio Canobbio, director Yvette Kaplan (Beavis & Butt-head, co-creator Zack & Quack) and award-winning independent filmmakers/animation faculty members Sheila Sofian (USC) and Maureen Selwood (CalArts). Competition finalists and competition screenings will be announced November 16.
LAAF Overall Sponsors are Bang Zoom! Entertainment (Screening Sponsor), Octopie Studios (Panel Sponsor), Toon Boom (Awards Sponsor), BruJaja Productions (Prize Sponsor) and P4STV (Hospitality Sponsor).