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CineSource Magazine: “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest” a Hit at ASIFA-SF’s Spring Animation Festival

Published on: 9th July, 2012

June 25, 2012

Bay Area Summer Animation News
by Karl Cohen, ASIFA-SF President


imageAn animated short film by Perry Chen, Kevin Sean Michaels and Bill Plympton and narrated by Ingrid Pitt.

ASIFA’s Spring Animation Festival a Hit

After holding their annual animation festival, local animation mavens were pleasantly surprised by the plethora of fine work by very young artists. We rarely see animation by kids but, along with college students and adults working independently, it turns out there are lots of young artists discovering their animation abilities.

In fact there were so many festival entries this year in ASIFA-SF’s Spring Festival (ASIFA-SF is the Bay Area’s chapter of the international animation association) that not all of them could be shown at the June screening. As a result everybody is invited to see the second part of this free event, Friday, July 20, 7:15 PM at the Exploratorium’s McBean Theatre. Work by independent animators and professionals will also be shown.

The first evening’s biggest surprises were works animated by young people. They included “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest” by Perry Chen (age 11), “Mr. Raidrop” by Dani Bowman (age 17), Trevor Cartmill-Endow’s show reel (“Just Say No to Fur” and other shorts), plus entries from the BAYCAT’s after school animation program run by Tim Harrington in the Hunters Point-Bay View districts and work from Alchemia in Marin County, mentored by Gene Hamm.

Perry Chen’s film was mentored by Bill Plympton, America’s most famous independent animator. While Perry’s animation has the naive look the producers of “Ingrid Pitt” wanted, the rest of the film was crafted by seasoned professionals. The story is about a horrific experience in the life of Ingrid Pitt that began when she was eight.

imageBill Plympton, one of the most famous indie animators in the country, with his young associate Perry Chen. photo: courtesy Zhu Shen

The deeply moving emotional narration by Ingrid includes her escape from a Holocaust death camp in 1945 with her mother. Ingrid, who later became a film star in Europe, narrated her story before she died in 2010. The film has won several festival awards and considerable recognition for Perry.

“Mr. Raindrop” displays Dani Bowman’s impressive skills as an animator. He is competent enough to complete a polished professional looking film with a strong narration track. It is based on a well-written children’s book. Perry and Dani are friends who live in the San Diego area.

Tim Harrington’s students in San Francisco have produced films that are delightful displays of kids’ talents and sensibilities without an overlay of adult influence. Gwydion Brain’s “Build-a-Baby Workshop” was so funny that the audience gave it the evening’s “Excellence in Humor” award. Trevor Cartmill-Endow, a high school student who creates animation independently and has been a student assistant at BAYCAT, presented a reel of his shorts that shows off his ability to communicate with the medium.

The Alchemia reel demonstrates that Hamm’s students have a wonderful enthusiasm, sense of humor and ability to create short works. His students combine simple animation techniques with live action footage to create film magic.

After seeing the young animators’ segment of the festival I felt that offering kids a chance to express themselves through animation should be encouraged. I was expecting to see lots of dumb juvenile shorts of things being blowing up or of monsters running amuck. Instead I was impressed with the maturity and talents of the young artists. The festival will present each of these artists an award of merit certificate.

Next month this column will cover the excellent films shown by students from San Francisco State and San Jose State along with work by independent and professional animators. We will also announce the winner of the Best in Show prize.

(original post)


Jerry Beck introducing Perry Chen at 2012 L.A. Animation Festival screening (photo by Zhu Shen)

Child animator Perry Chen, will be joined by his mom & producer Dr. Zhu Shen, director Kevin Sean Michaels, Linda Olszewski (Shorts International co-head of worldwide acquisition), and sponsors from Toon Boom Animation and Wacom for a lively panel discussion about the making and distribution of the multiple-awards-winning film “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest” & lessons learned at the 2012  Comic-Con in San Diego, moderated by Jerry Beck, animation historian, author, and publisher of Cartoon Brew ( ) Perry will also show clips of new animation films he is making now.

Autographed copies of the film DVD and Perry-designed Thank-You cards will be available for sale at the end of the session. According to Shorts International, distributor of “Ingrid Pitt,” the film will be widely available to the mass market in August 2012 on iTune!  Exact date to be announced at Comic-Con.

Date: 4-5 pm, Sunday July 15, 2012

Location: Comic-Con Room 7AB (San Diego Convention Center)

Panel details:

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