2017 Newsletter Links

Here are links from stories in our newsletter. The stories are excerpted here. To receive your own copy of the newsletter so you can read the full stories, simply Join ASIFA-SF.

January 2017


Valley’s Annie-nominated Pear Cider & Cigarettes is a kick-ass violent crime story set in a futuristic city.  It started a few years ago as a graphic novel that was funded with a Kickstarter campaign. The brutally honest story is based on Robert’s turbulent relationship with a self-destructive, yet charismatic friend from his childhood.  He cried out for help from a military hospital in China and set Robert on a wild ride to get him home to Vancouver. In 2016 the animated short based on the graphic novel was released.  It can be seen as a video on demand.

Valley worked locally at Colossal Picture on Aeon Flux and other projects.  He later was with WildBrain before moving south.   His more recent credits include character designer on Tron Uprising, director of 3 episodes on Wonder Women and most recently director of Metallica’s Tribute to Lemmy Kilmister in Murder One.  The animation follows Lemmy from Liverpool until he founds Motörhead.


The second edition of GLAS Animation will taking place March 2-5, 2017 in Berkeley, California.  GLAS introduces new ideas and expands the scope of animation by bringing new voices, new talents, new themes, and a new generation of independent filmmakers and curators to the United States. They highlight independent animation and curate special programs that focus on the most significant periods of animation history that will serve as an inspiration for contemporary animators.

Guests this year include Brad Bird (The Incredibles, The Iron Giant), Massaski Yusa (Mind Game), George Schwizgebel (Jeu), Mathieu Labaye (The Labyrinth), Amy Lockhart (Walk For Walk), Lei Lei (Recycled), experimental animator Peter Burr, Ana Ramirez (So Long, Yupi), Madeline Sharafian (Acorn) and Ottawa Animation Festival director Chris Robinson. More guests will be announced early next year.


The school has been illegally converting apartment building into student dorms for decades and has constantly delayed bringing the school’s numerous illegally converted buildings into compliance with the city’s rules.  The Academy is one of the nation’s largest for-profit art schools and also one of the city’s biggest landlords.

The city’s lawsuit said that at least 33 of the academy’s 40 buildings were out of compliance with zoning codes, signage laws or historic preservation rules.  The school had also taken 160 units of affordable residential units off the market and illegally turned them into dorms.

Under the settlement, the academy has agreed to pay the city $20 million in fines and fees over five years with $7 million going into a city fund to buy rent-controlled apartment buildings. The school will also provide and maintain at least 160 units of low-income housing for senior citizens.  Some of the units will be new construction. That part of the settlement is valued at $40 million to the city over the 66-year life of the agreement.
The school will also shut down school operations at three locations, limit future enrollment to the amount of housing that they have on hand and will work to keep their fleet of buses off of the city’s main traffic arteries.  To reduce the number of busses they need they plan to provide students and staff with free Muni passes.

The Academy’s President Elisa Stephens has become a celebrity in local society and is active with local civic groups and charities. She regularly lends autos from the school’s classic car collection to politicians and other VIPs to use in parades.  Some of the cars can also be seen at the annual auto show and in at least two auto showrooms on Van Ness.
Behind the scenes Stephens and her legal team have fought the city attorneys for years.  Several past and present teachers have told me they question how well she will comply with the settlement.  They also wonder if she will address other issues that remain unresolved (student or staff complaints, etc.).


Disney features now generate about 25% of the gross income Hollywood features take in.  At the start of the recent holiday season their 12 releases for 2016 had just broken the $7 billion mark.  Universal releases set an all-time high record in 2015 of $6.9 billion.
By December 20 Disney had released four of the top 10 top-grossing films of 2016:
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War ($1.15 billion), Pixar’s Finding Dory ($1.03 billion), Disney Animation’s Zootopia ($1.02 billion) and, from its live-action studio, The Jungle Book ($967 million).  By the time you read this their Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will probably have joined the list of top grossing features.   Also high on charts will be Marvel’s Doctor Strange (over $655 million on Dec. 20) Two other films distributed by Disney might make a small profit, Pete’s Dragon which grossed $143 million on a $65 million budget, and Moana which, as of December 20, has grossed $344 million worldwide.  That film’s production budget was reported to be $185 million.

The studio took a loss on BGF.  It cost $140 million to make and it only grossed $178 million.  The Light between the Oceans grossed only $23 million and it had a $20 budget. The Finest Hour, with a $52 million gross, also was a poor performer.
Of the 12 films Disney released last year only one, Through the Looking Glass, was a serious flop.  It cost $170 million to make plus an enormous amount to market, but it only grossed about $300 million globally.  The flop of this sequel probably came as a surprise to Disney executives as their Alice in Wonderland grossed $1.025 billion in 2010.

ASIFA-SF Member Corrie Francis Parks Releases New Book On Animation

Animation was invented by an experimenter. A person who decided to try things differently. A person not content to let a picture stand still. Today when it feels like there is nothing new under the sun, it can feel impossible to imagine doing something innovative and in an experimental way.

Fluid Frames: Experimental Animation with Sand, Clay, Paint, and Pixels opens a window into the “experimental frame of mind”, which involves applying creative thought at every stage of the production, no matter the technique.  Fluid Frames provides a step by step pathway for the new or established animator tap into that experimental frame of mind and create stunningly new and original works of their own. The book explores, like never before, the tactile nature of moving malleable materials directly under the camera and how that presents a creative stimulus for all animators, offering new problems and opening the mind to new solutions that readily translate to other animation techniques.

But the physical material is not the end of the story. With input from a handful of contemporary animators, Parks introduces a flexible digital workflow to advance the art of fluid frame animation. Fluid Frames walks readers through setting up the studio, choosing and working with materials, and transitioning from physical production to digital post-production to further enhance the animation. Stacked with information, interviews and images from over 30 artists, this book is an indispensable resource for both the student and professional wishing to get their hands dirty in an increasingly digital world.
Corrie Francis Parks is an ASIFA-SF member and will be at the Winter Party with some books for those interested in getting a signed copy.  Learn more about that book at http://fluidframes.net.


At Oddball Films
Free! Bring a friend!

At 6 PM, a social hour for networking, drink and enjoy a potluck.  ASIFA-SF will provide the basics, please bring a little something to share if you can

At 7 PM, a screening of new animated work, and favorites from the ASIFA-East Festival Winners

Please contact members@asifa-sf.org by January 12 if you want something included on the party DVD. Please limit the length to 10 minutes.  Please submit a file or link to an on-line location for download, or you can send a DVD or flash drive.  Contact Dan for details.  He’ll pull the films together to make the night’s program a little more enjoyable.

We’ll also be able to screen last minute submissions if you bring it on a DVD the night of the party.The current plan is to show a works in progress by Tony Claar and Corrie Francis Parks, followed by highlights from the ASIFA-East awards program.  If you have something you’d like to show, please let us know and we’ll spread the word.