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Animation Is Film Reveals 2021 Jurors, Free Virtual Events

Later this month the Animation Is Film Festival returns to the historic Chinese Theater in Hollywood.  The event, a joint venture by American animation distributor GKIDS Films, Annecy International, and Variety brings the international animation festival to the US. This year's feature selection has already been revealed and includes many fascinating animated films from around the world including Mamoru Hosoda's Belle and Patrick Imbert's Summit Of The Gods, plus exclusive filmmaker Q&As, previews and more.

Additionally, the acclaimed stop-motion studio LAIKA will present a specially curated display in the lobby,  showcasing all five of their films released to date.

The festival has now also revealed this year's jury and announced a number of free virtual events that will run during the festival.

This year's festival runs from October 22 to October 24. Visit the festival website to get your tickets now, and use the code ANIMATIONFORADULTS to save 25% off your order.

2021 Animation Is Film Jury

Myke Chilian (Animator; Creator, Tig 'n Seek
Myke Chilian is a Los Angeles based animator, storyboard artist, writer, voice actor, and musician. He is the creator and executive producer of the HBO Max series, Tig n’ Seek, which is produced by Cartoon Network Studios. Chilian has previously written and storyboarded for Cartoon Network's Uncle Grandpa and helped establish the look for Adult Swim's Rick and Morty. In addition to working in animation, Chilian plays the electric accordion with his alt-punk band, The Manx.  
Deborah Cook (Stop-Motion Costume Designer) 
Originally from England, Deborah Cook has designed and built costumes for every LAIKA film (Missing Link, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, Coraline).  Her designs for Kubo won a nomination for Excellence in Fantasy Film by the Costume Designers Guild, the first time a costume designer for an animated film was recognized, and she received a Visual Effects Society nomination for Coraline. Detailed, in-depth research, innovation in small-scale fabric technology and expertise in engineered fabric movement have made Deborah one of the leading costume designers working in film. Other film credits include The Corpse Bride and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. 
Peter Debruge (Chief Film Critic, Variety / Jury Chair) 
Variety’s Chief International Film Critic, Peter is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin’s film studies program.  Prior to Variety, he spent four years working as an editor for AOL Moviefone. In addition to hundreds of reviews for the Austin Chronicle, Miami Herald and Premiere, his writing on film has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Life, Creative Screenwriting, Backstory and IndieWire. Peter also contributed to the book Variety’s The Movie That Changed My Life. 
Sandra Equihua (Netflix’s animated series  Maya and the Three
Born in Tijuana B.C., Sandra Equihua graduated from IBERO University with a bachelors in Graphic Design. She has had the opportunity to work as a graphic designer, illustrator and a character designer next to her husband, Jorge Gutierrez, in companies such as WB, Disney, Nick JR, and Nickelodeon. Both created the animated series  El Tigre:  The Adventures of Manny Rivera It was thanks to this series that Equihua was awarded an Emmy. Equihua continues her career working as a character designer for the animated movie The Book of Life. She is currently working for NETFLIX on the animated series Maya and the Three.  
Dan Krall (Artist, Producer, Dexter's Laboratory
Krall is an Emmy and Annie award-winning artist, producer, and art director with over 25 years of experience in the animation industry. He currently serves as Consulting Producer on Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, the upcoming animated series produced by Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Television and coming soon to HBO Max. Prior credits include popular titles such as Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Chowder, Coraline, and Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. Krall is also a published children’s book author and Illustrator. 
Kristin Lowe (CCO of Features for DreamWorks Animation
Kristin Lowe is Chief Creative Officer, Features for DreamWorks Animation. In this role, Lowe oversees feature development, casting and artistic management for the studio’s renowned feature film division. DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming 2022 feature slate includes The Bad Guys, an original film based on the best-selling books, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, the sequel to the 2011 Oscar®-nominated blockbuster. Recently released films include The Boss Baby: Family Business, the sequel to the 2017 Oscar®-nominated blockbuster comedy, the epic adventure Spirit Untamed, the colorful, glitter-filled Trolls World Tour, and audience favorite and award-nominated The Croods: A New Age. 

Erick Oh (Oscar Nominee for Opera
Erick Oh is an Oscar nominated Korean filmmaker based in California, USA. His films have been introduced and awarded at numerous film festivals including Academy Awards, Annie Awards, Annecy Animation Festival, Zagreb Film Festival, SIGGRAPH, Anima Mundi and more. Erick became an animator at Pixar Animation Studios from 2010 to 2016.. Erick’s latest film  OPERA was nominated for the Oscar and his upcoming project NAMOO  was premiered in Sundance Film Festival this year. 
Ray Pride (Film Critic) 
Ray Pride is the longtime film critic of Chicago's Newcity arts monthly and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.  His history of Chicago Ghost Signs in words and images will be published in 2022.  
Raye Rodriguez (Creator & Executive Producer of Crunchyroll Original Series High Guardian Spice
Raye Rodriguez is the Creator and Executive Producer of the upcoming Crunchyroll Original series High Guardian Spice. Raye graduated from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, Rodriguez began his career as a director, storyboard artist and character designer at Fox Animation Domination High-Definition (Fox ADHD). He served as a Character Designer at PUNY Entertainment on DANGER & EGGS for Amazon Studios, and as a Storyboard Artist at Sprite Animation on TINPO for Cbeebies
Charles Solomon (Critic and Historian) 
An internationally respected critic and historian of animation, Charles Solomon has written on the subject for the New York Times, Newsweek (Japan), Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, Variety, the Manchester Guardian, and National Public Radio. His books include  The Art of Frozen,  The Art of the Disney Golden BooksThe Toy Story Films: An Animated JourneyTale as Old as Time: The Art and Making of Disney’s Animated Classic Beauty and the Beast, The Art of Toy Story 3, and Enchanted Drawings: The History of Animation.
Ramin Zahed (Editor-in-Chief for Animation Magazine
Ramin Zahed is an LA-based author and journalist who specializes in animation, visual effects, pop culture and indie films. He is the Editor in Chief of Animation Magazine and has written for Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Times, Sight and Sound and others. Among his recent books are The Art of The Mitchells vs. the Machines, The Art of Vivo, The Art of Love, Death + Robots, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse The Art of the Movie, and The Art of Klaus. 

Virtual Program

All virtual events are free and will be available to watch at animationisfilm.com during the festival.


Join Baobab Studios’ Chief Creative Officer, Eric Darnell, and Erick Oh, the Oscar-nominated director of their latest animated short film, NAMOO, as they talk about their respective journeys working for big studios such as DreamWorks Animation and Pixar, embracing new technology and working in the world of independent filmmaking. They will discuss their creative freedom from an artistic standpoint, as well as the biggest challenges they faced along the way. They will end by going into a deep dive about creating the studio’s latest animated short film, NAMOO, simultaneously for both theatrical and VR platforms. Using one of the latest state-of-the-art animation tools, Quill, along with real-time technology, NAMOO – translated to “tree” in Korean – is a hand-crafted narrative poem following the beautiful and heartbreaking moments of a man’s life, from beginning to end. 

As video games continue to push the boundaries of narrative animation, Slate's Allegra Frank moderates a discussion on the importance of 2D character designs and development in video game storytelling.  

On the event of the West Coast premiere of his latest film, Belle, Academy Award nominee Mamoru Hosoda sits down with critic Leonard Maltin for an in-depth discussion of his career and the new film. 

In celebration of the 30th anniversary, Producer Don Hahn moderates a discussion with directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise on the making of a modern animated classic and its legacy 30 years later.