Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Animated Events: ASIFA Central 2020 Animators Retreat

Well, holding our annual ASIFA Central Animators Retreat online this year provided the best numbers we've ever had at an event. As per tradition, we opened the event up to anyone who wanted to attend -- members or not (we're cool like that). And since we held all of our events on Zoom, we had people from all over the world attending.
All of us feverishly taking notes on James' talk.
We had 'Zoomed-in' some great guests this year, starting with James Suhr. James discussed his career in the Hollywood animation industry working as a storyboard artist, then provided some great point-by-point advice for students (and professionals) about managing their careers.

The next day, there was kind of a downer with one of my events. I was in charge of running the "Saturday Morning Cartoons" block, where we all got together with our favorite bowl of sugary cereal (or granola) and watched a playlist of vintage and current animated shorts that I put together on YouTube. Well, wouldn't you know it, halfway into the second cartoon, YouTube shut the stream down for technical reasons so we all had to log into YouTube on our browsers and start up the show individually. A bit disappointing as it meant that we couldn't all watch together as a group--like an Amazon watch party, but regardless, everyone seemed to enjoy the films that I had curated.
Zoom Pixilation

Next, we did our yearly microtalks followed by afternoon workshops. I attended Julie's 3d world-building using Maya workshop. But a number of the other attendees worked on a cut-out animation group project, others created a pixilation animation using Zoom.

Seder Masochism
And afterwards, we had an evening with Nina Paley. We screened a copy of Nina's film Seder Masochism and afterwards, Nina was available for a Q&A session. For the better part of an hour, she fielded questions about her career and production process, as well as her other feature Sita Sings the Blues.
On Sunday, we held our members meeting where we all met up in a Zoom conference room and discussed the ASIFA Central charter, what it is/is not, what it states regarding personnel positions and election procedures, and all of the proposed changes that were made based upon prior discussions. All told, I thought it was a very productive meeting--and I'm not just saying that because I was the person who was running the meeting. As I'm one of those people who believes in transparency within an organization, I think that it's always good for our members to know how the organization is run, who is doing what, and how funds are being spent.

One of the highlights of our yearly retreat is when Jim Middleton does a talk explaining current public domain law, changes to public domain, and lists out some of the films and music that has entered the public domain. Jim did a five minute microtalk on Saturday talking about public domain resources for music then expanded upon it during his Sunday lecture.

On Sunday, our final guest, Chris Sullivan, discussed his current feature film project 'Orbits of Minor Satellites' and showed us clips of his progress.

It was hard to capture the energy of an in-person ASIFA Central retreat, not going to lie. But it was fantastic to have so many people showing up from all around the world and it brought it's own energy to the event.

Can't wait until next July.

* * *

*Photos from the ASIFA Newsletter, used with permission.