Friday, July 18, 2008

This just in from Ed Mazzilli:

[Animation Mentor (, the leading online character animation school created by animators for animators, today announced a panel discussion and tribute to the life, work and inspiration of Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston which will take place on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles, California. Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston are two of Disney's famed Nine Old Men whose historic work includes Alice and Wonderland, Bambi, Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and their acclaimed book on animation, The Illusion of Life.

This extraordinary event reveals the past and future of animation through the eyes of true genius and includes a conversation about animation with contemporary animation legends from Disney Studios, DreamWorks Animation SKG, and others who were inspired by masters Thomas and Johnston. The panel will be followed by a short documentary by Animation Mentor of never-before-seen interview footage of these two animation legends.

"We are truly honored to host this tribute for two beloved animators who have been an instrumental part of animation history and have entertained and inspired so many," said Bobby Beck, chief executive officer and cofounder of Animation Mentor. "We are thrilled to bring such a phenomenal group of talented animators who learned from Frank & Ollie and share a passion for the world of animation. The ability to also share Frank and Ollie's thoughts on animation through rare interview footage will be a special gift that we are proud to give to the world."

Tom Sito, a professional animator and adjunct professor of animation at University of California Los Angeles and University of Southern California, will lead the panel discussion.

Panelists include:

-- Don Hahn, Disney Studios. Hahn is a two-time Academy Award winner and film producer responsible for producing some of the most successful Walt Disney animated films of the past 20 years, including Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

-- Dave Burgess, DreamWorks Animation SKG. Currently a senior animator at DreamWorks Animation on Monsters vs. Aliens (in production), other work includes Bee Movie, Flushed Away, Over the Hedge, Madagascar, Shrek 2, and The Lion King. Burgess is also a mentor for Animation Mentor.

-- Kevin Koch, animation director at Medical Cyberworlds, president of the Animation Guild, and mentor for Animation Mentor. Work includes Quest for Camelot, Prince of Egypt, Sinbad, Shrek 2, Madagascar, Over the Hedge, and Terra.

-- Theodore (Ted) Thomas is an independent film director, writer and producer, and National Emmy Award-winner. He is the son of the late Frank Thomas and wrote, directed and produced the documentary film Frank and Ollie. Other films include Where the Toys Come From and Walt & El Grupo. ]

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