Articles on Animation &Festivals 20 May 2009 07:45 am

1st NY World Animation Festival

- Back in 1972, a month after I first started my initial job in animation, New York hosted the First NY World Animation Festival.

I had never been to a Festival of any kind before, and it intrigues me, as you might imagine. There were quite a few world famous animation figures that actually came to town to present their films, talk to other animators and shine.

This was an event that was created by the entrepeneur, Fred Mintz. All I knew of him was a joke Tissa told me. She, a Hungarian, said that Fred was a Roumanian, and the old story was true: if you went into a revolving door behind a Roumanian, you should check your wallet when you come out. Of course, this was a joke, and Fred turned out to be a nice guy who put a lot on the line to get this notion of a NY Animation Festival up and running.

In fact, there were three annual editions of this fest, and I went to all. I met quite a few famous International animators by just showing up.

For some reason, I haven’t been able to locate the program for this first festival (I do have those for 2 & 3), but I found this article in Backstage, which was a commercial Industry newspaper. I’m posting the cover story from this issue and hope it will be a some interest.

(Click any image to enlarge.)


This was the first time I met Bruno Bozzetto, Yoji Kuri, Millie Goldscholl, and many others. I have to say that I didn’t meet a lot of New York animators. At the time, people in the industry stayed away from such events. The older Paramount/Terrytoons crowd wasn’t interested in animation outside of work.

I did meet up with a few of the more art-interested people like Tissa David (who I had just met at Hubley’s), Lu Guarnier, John Gati and a few others.

The events were well attended. Not as many students as there are today, but there were some.

4 Responses to “1st NY World Animation Festival”

  1. on 20 May 2009 at 8:36 am 1.Mark Mayerson said …

    I attended the one held at NYU. Was that the second or the third? That was the first time I saw Chuck Jones in person and he was fantastic that night. He had the audience in the palm of his hand.

    It’s a shame that this festival didn’t survive.

    You’re right about New York animation people avoiding these events. I remember when I was at Zanders and talking about various ASIFA-East events and none of the veterans there was interested in the slightest in attending. I got into animation because I liked cartoons, but it seemed like it was just a job to most of the people working in N.Y. animation.

  2. on 20 May 2009 at 4:36 pm 2.Ray Kosarin said …

    And it’s not just New York…I remember at the SAS (Society for Animation Studies) conference at CalArts in, I think, 1992, there was a terrific UPA film retrospective and panel with studio principals Bill Hurtz, Bill Melendez, Herb Klynn, and Jules Engel, and it was fascinating to hear them speak about the studio. But I was also surprised when, in the afterglow, Bill Melendez seemed in his mind not to distinguish SAS from ASIFA and indeed to have very little interest in either. And Chuck Jones, it seems, liked in his books and in interviews to be bemused at scholars with PhDs studying his films.
    Perhaps living animation history discourages having more curiousity about it?

  3. on 21 May 2009 at 8:49 am 3.Dave Levy said …

    I wonder if the trend of wanting to foster a community changed in Michael’s generation because the stability of the industry had collapsed. Work was more sporadic and the workforce was smaller. This could have made a community mentality a survival skill as never before in this business. Plus, coming out of the 1960s must have knocked out a lot of the old thinking. Just my two cents, but an interesting thing to ponder.

  4. on 21 May 2009 at 1:17 pm 4.Jenny said …

    On the west coast, Filmex always had such great animation programming(my memories go back to I think 1975 or 76-I wasn’t able to drive and had to beg rides from my dad to Century City or wherever the animation films were shown;sometimes the theaters were in Hollywood, sometimes spread out over Wilshire Bl). Steven Paul Levia(sp?) was often a presenter/ panel moderator, sort of a Charles Solomon of his day.
    There was Filmex, the ASIFA cel sales, and three years of the wonderful days-long Walter Lantz “festival”. And every year LACMA had quite a bit of animation programming(by the late Ron Haver I think)-NFB, UK commercials(where I first saw all those Richard Williams ads as well as others), NY area work, indie stuff, Bozzetto…and then there was what the Nuart programmed-”Fantastic Planet”, etc.
    Oddly it’s so different now as far as regular. annual programming is concerned. There’s the Academy’s Marc Davis event…and that’s pretty much it.

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