UPA at AniMazSpot

October 9, 2015 More

AniMazSpot is an annual festival about, and for, animated shorts filmmakers, produced by the non-profit organization Animazing Spotlight.  The logo character for the festival, seen next to this article, was created by Lou Romano to signify all the various events AniMazSpot juggles.  It’s on hiatus at the moment, but during it’s four year active run from 2009 through 20012, AniMazSpot created many events designed specifically for young animated shorts filmmakers.

First of all, they created a unique competition, which included written reviews by an international panel of judges for every single short submitted, and no one was turned away, plus there were screenings of all the nominated shorts, and presentations by Pixar artists, Women in Animation, as well as, Eric Goldberg, Tom Sito, Bob Kurtz, and more, tributes to the likes of Robert Abel and Bob Godfrey, tours of animation studios and archives, large and small, and parties too, most notably the one at the end of the last festival at Duke’s Malibu, and that’s just a tip of the iceberg.  It’s in the midst of reorganization, trying to find a more efficient way to bring these treasures to an underserved part of the animation world.  It’s been miserably short of funds and folks, so that’s what is trying to be solved, with those hardy folks still involved.

Amz InThe second image is a still from The Hybrid Union, an animated short by Ukrainian, Serguei Kouchnerov, who won the very first Best of Festival Bozu Bronze, a statuette designed by Larry Loc after a 1930s caricature of then Disney assistant animator, Steve Bosustow.

Quite a few of the volunteers for the AniMazSpot festival are now part of our crew on the UPA documentary feature, so during those four years we got four UPA programs included, to introduce the current generation of animators to the lost legend of UPA, and to add a plug for our doc in the process.  I Did it My Way, which you can view in our Theater, uses clips from our interviews to illustrate the various ways animation professionals first became interested in animation.  An Hour with Fred Crippen was a screening of some of his work at UPA and Roger Ramjet, followed by a Q&A with that jolly animation minstrel.  Fred also gave a tour of his Pantomime Pictures studio to festival attendees from various parts of the globe.  We also had a screening of Selected UPA Shorts from Sony.  Sony Animation chose a wonderful variety of their hot classics and rarely seen theatrical shorts from UPA Pictures.  It was one of the best attended events that year.  Then, the last event of the last festival, at least for now, was a gala event at the historic Alex theater in Glendale, which screened all newly restored 35mm prints of the complete 15 UPA shorts that won Oscar nominations, three of them brought home the gold guy, plus five additional Mr. Magoo favorites, all under the title of Magoo at the Alex.

Although all of us involved with the AniMazSpot festival are now deeply intrenched in The Boing Heard Round the World, if anything new happens with the festival, we’ll let you know, and of course, if you have any ideas about a venue available, a group of fans who would like to see it revived, or a source of funding, let us know in the Suggestion page.

Category: Back Issues, Tributes