ASIFA-Colorado News

Dec 12, 2003                                         

Volume 1,  Number 6

New & Noteworthy

Ed Hooks


Mighty Fudge


Electronic Theatre


ASIFA Organization


Board Excerpts

Upcoming Events




Festivals & Conferences




Member Profile: Dan Seely


Happy Birthday, Mickey! – Now %$*@# Off!







Web Site:

International Web Site:



ASIFA/Colorado Volunteers and Board

Dan A. Seely



Carmella Rodriguez

Treasurer and Business Manager


Anne Elizabeth    

Liaison to Post-Secondary Students and Scribe


David Mesple        

Emissary to Secondary Education               


Kevin Ryan           

Vice President of Marketing


Evert Brown

Membership Chair


Judy Gardner

Publicity Coordinator


Todd Debreceni

Vice President of Allied Fields


Tom Ward

Director of Communications


Ed Desroches

News Letter Editor






Mission Statement

“ASIFA – Colorado was established in 2001 as a non-profit corporation devoted to cultivating and promoting the art, craft and profession of Animation.

Together, our membership and Board of Directors are developing a far-reaching range of programs and special events to meet the following goals:


Ø      Stimulate discussion among professional and non-professional animation enthusiasts about concepts and technologies evolving in the industry.

Ø      Increase the visibility of Colorado Region animation companies available to serve the growing demand for commercial animation productions across the nation and around the world.

Ø      Establish a tradition of local, public events including seminars, panel discussions, special screenings, festivals and workshops devoted to more broadly acquainting the population with the power, diversity, and application of animation in all media.

Ø      Increase the connections between animation education programs and professionals in the industry.

Ø       Enrich the experience of animation students by bringing the diversity of the international animation scene to their doorstep.




To join ASIFA-Colorado:

go to http:/

or send a check; $30 for Students, $55 for Professionals (payable to ASIFA-Colorado) to:


6585 W. 62nd Place

Arvada, CO 80003

include your Name, Address, and phone number. Student include a photocopied id.




To find out more about the Animator's Workshop Group (AWG) for children contact:

 Ed Desroches






To contribute or volunteer contact:

Evert Brown 




Comments, questions, articles and suggestions are always welcome. Reply-To:

New & Noteworthy

·        Ed Hooks was here. Animation students and professionals who attended Ed Hooks' 3 day Master Class Acting for Animators in Denver from October 9 through 11 are still floating on air! Mr. Hooks covered all of the principles presented in his book Acting for Animators, now in its second printing. Topics included movement and body language, power centers, Laban movement theory, the works of Paul Ekman, and using psychological gesture in animated characters. For analysis, Mr. Hooks brought with him exciting demo reels from the Ringling School of Design in Florida as well as from animators around the world. Thanks to Central Vectors Productions & Events working together with ASIFA-Colorado for  bringing Mr. Hooks to Denver. Thanks also to RMCAD, Denver School of the Arts and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance who provided venues for the event. For those of you who missed out, look for announcements of Ed Hooks return to Denver next year. He was very impressed with the animators he had the opportunity to work with in Denver! 

·        Might Fudge - Mighty Fudge came a calling and  they brought their adult animation with them!  Mighty Fudge presented to ASIFA Colorado folks on Wednesday, October 29th at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design.  The makers of Dressy Bessy's music videos and Saturday Morning Cartoons for Adults gave us a peek at the process of making these animations.

·        ASIFA International has a new board.

Vice President and contact person for Asia - SAYOKO KINOSHITA (Japan) 
Vice President and contact person for Europe - THOMAS RENOLDNER (Austria) 
Secretary General - VESNA DOVNIKOVIC (Croatia) 
Treasurer - CAROL BEECHER (Canada) 
·      Electronic Theater - SIGGRAPH's Electronic Theatre was shown by ASIFA-Colorado on  November 12th at RMCAD.  After quite a few glitches we decided to change to a less comfortable room and present the show there.  Despite the glitches the eTheatre proved to be the wonderful and amazing animations that it is usually. If you missed this great presentation (or even if you didn't) stop by next month (December for those of you with your own calendar) for the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival screening. Admission is free again - wahoo!

·     During the most recent local board meeting there was discussion about our current projects.  The ASIFA Reel was discussed - look for a Call for Entries coming soon - this will only be open to ASIFA members and a great place to display your work!  The ASIFA Colorado Animation Festival is looking for a July 2005 date. And the Children's workshop will kick of on Dec. 13th, 2003 to be completed in May of 2004 and displayed at Hiroshima Animation Festival 2004.  The board went over the web page and had a list of changes to be made in the coming months.  The grant situation was also discussed, and the board hopes to pursue this so that they may promote animation in the Colorado region more powerfully.

Upcoming Events       

·        December 10th, 2003

SIGGRAPH - Electronic Theatre

 Join us for the 2nd part of the eTheatre, this time we'll show the Computer Animation Festival excerpts which gets shown during the entire length of SIGGRAPH.

At the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design Theater,

NEW LOCATION - 1600 Pierce St. Lakewood, CO 80214

·        January 28th, 2004


Festivals & Conferences

·        GAMING STUDENT CAN WIN $25,000! 
Hidden Agenda Gaming Contest, World Wide Web 
June 1, 2004 
Deadline: December 15, 2003. 

·        Taiwan International Animation Festival 
Taipei, Taiwan 
May 1, 2004 
Deadline: December 31, 2003. 

·        Anifest 2004 Trebon 
Trebon, Czech Republic 
May 3rd-8th, 2004 
Deadline: January 16, 2004. 

·        Cartoons on the Bay 2004 
Positano (SA), Italy 
April 21st - 25th, 2004 
Deadline: January 25, 2004. 

·        33rd International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Holland, January 21 - February 1, 2004 

·        Moondance 2004
Boulder, Colorado 
May 28th-31st, 2004 
Deadline: April 1, 2004. 

3D Festival 2004, Copenhagen, Denmark 
May 3 - 6, 2004. 


·        Member Profile: Dan Seely

Dan Seely is the President of ASIFA-Colorado and also owner-operator of Pixel Kitchen. He has been working in computer animation almost since its start in Colorado.


Ed: What got you starting in animation? 
Dan: I got started in animation as a result of getting a Bachelors degree in art, working for a 16mm commercial producer, and then working for an engineering company as a tech. I was working in Madison Wisconsin at the time, drafting bridges and took an animation class for grins. I met a writer who was also taking the class. His name was Bob Dries. We became friends and decided to make some films together. After the class, I took 6 months to build myself an animation stand, buy a Bolex 16 mm camera with an animation motor. I re-animated our class film and completed another film called “Environment Impact”. 
During this time, I saw a TV program from Canada, called “Fast Forward”. They featured a new computer program called “Images”, one of the first digital paint and animation programs. The program was created by New York Institute of Technology. I was completely blown away by what I saw. I was sure I would never get an opportunity to try that program, but I was sure that 
was what I wanted to do with my life. Shortly there after, Tron and Alien came out, did I mention Star Wars? 

Ed: How long have you been in the animation industry? 

Dan: I have been doing animation of some sort since my first Super 8 mm animated film in the late 1970’s. I have been doing CGI since I first got access to a graphics computer in 1984 at GW Hannaways & Assoc here in Boulder. That was a DEC PDP 11 running UNIX and a Raster Tech frame buffer. Of course everything changed in 1985 when Silicon Graphics Inc (SGI) shipped an IRIS 1400 workstation to Boulder. This was the start of interactive 3D computer graphics and was the defining moment for my animation career. 3D had my name on it all the way. I was in love. 

Ed: Have you been in Colorado for that time? 

Dan: I came to Colorado in the early spring of 1984 just after the great Christmas blizzard. I didn’t experience it, but everyone was still talking about it. 

Ed: How has the industry changed since you started? 

Ed: When I first came to town, no one but Computer Image was using computers to make animation. Computer gear was prohibitively expensive. I eventually landed a job as an animator at Z Axis in Aurora Colorado. They had a Bosch FGS 4000, a ½ million dollar 3d animation TV production system. I got to run that in 1986-7. Today we can have computers which are hundreds of times faster and hundreds of times cheaper. Software has become hundreds of times more complex and capable. One of the first animation jobs I had here in Denver was as a freelance cell painter for two of the local cell animation houses, Celluloid Studios and Stan Philips Productions. There was also a third traditional animation company then, Graphics in Motion. They are all gone now as well as Computer Image which was mentioned earlier. 

Ed: Did you start Pixel Kitchen, if so why - and how? 

Dan: Yes I started Pixel Kitchen with Ken Seaverns in 1990. At the time I was running the computer visualization department at Design Workshop Inc. I was working in their Denver office. They had a unique understanding of the tools early on in the game and were trying to develop the technology to support the landscape 
architecture and urban planning business. Unfortunately they ran out of gas just as the software was maturing. Ken was working with me at the time and we decided to be more in charge of this difficult to manage technology. Pixel kitchen was born in a spare apartment room in Boulder. We put together two systems of the affordable technology of the day, Amiga 2000’s. Great machines for their time. We were just hitting our stride when the country went to war with George Bush Sr. The economy went into a nose dive and Pixel Kitchen struggled. Ken eventually went to work for Parsons Brinkerhoff, a global engineering firm with a 
division here in Denver. 

Ed: What kind of projects does Pixel Kitchen get involved with? Dan: Pixel kitchen has had some interesting opportunities working here on Colorado. The engineering and architecture in my background has allowed me to do animation for a wide range of clients. One of our early jobs was an animated laser disc program of of the geologic history of Guadalaupe National Park in Texas. Another job was to design the spider web graphic for the Olympic downhill ski suites created by Spyder Activewear. Pixel kitchen did graphics for three different Olympics. More 
recently, we have created scientific visualization for National Renewable Energy Labs in Golden, commercial for RTD and a program for Discovery Channel called Dinosaur Attack. The 
last big project was a theatre policy film trailer for a Mexican theatre chain. 

Ed: Is everything computer generated? Any traditional formats? Dan: Pixel Kitchen’s work is primarily 3D animation. Sometime we do 2D, but most everything is created with the assist of a computer.


Ed: How has Pixel Kitchen been getting through these hard times? 

Dan: Barely. This down turn in animation production has been worse than during the first Bush war in 1990. 

Ed: Do you have personal projects you work on? 

Dan: I am studying for my Masters in Sculpture at CU here in Boulder. I am doing some virtual sculpture. I am studying how to put fine art back into animation. 

Ed: How do you feel about animation in Colorado? 

Dan: It is frustrating. I can judge the state of LA animation by the number and caliber of people calling for work in the Colorado market. There is a flow of people who get tired of the grind of Hollywood and expect to relocate to Denver and have access to the same caliper and frequency of the work they left. But all in all the decision to not go to LA in the early 90’s was a good one as living in Colorado is worth the frustrations of our smaller market. 

Ed: What do you think would improve the Colorado animation scene? 

Dan: More of our local animation production companies working together to raise the level of professionalism especially in the 
eyes of producers from outside the region. More participation by local animators in organizations like ASIFA-Colorado would certainly help. Most of all, a better education on the part of the buyers of animation here on the Front Range, would help the animators prosper and grow. Unknowledgeable producers are counterproductive in a technologically demanding business like animation.  




·        Happy Birthday, Mickey! – Now %$*@# Off!

That’s right! On November 18, 1928 Mickey Mouse starred in his first role in Steamboat Willie. So that means he’s, oh, about 75 years old.  I myself am hoping to be retired when I hit that age. But then, knowing how the government operates retirement age will soon be 95 for me as it is now for Mickey. Yes, yes, poor Mickey got suckered into a contract that was supposed to last for 75 years only to find out that it will last for 95 years.


Well, that’s what happens when you’ve got a President looking for campaign financing, a lot of greedy corporations, and a pre-treed Sonny Bono.  They come up with a bill to extend copyrights for another 20 years.  Gee, who’s going to benefit from that? Hmmm…


You know maybe they are right, though.  Maybe Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks originally fought over whether or not to create Mickey.  Maybe they were saying, “Hey, why should we bother creating a mouse character that everyone will love if in 75 short years he won’t be ours anymore?”  Yeah, I can picture the debate now.

“We don’t want our mouse to fall into Public Domain in 75 years, we don’t want him to ever fall into Public Domain.”

“Ooh, I get chills just thinking about it.”

“I mean then he’d have to hang around with the likes of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

“Yeah, and Pinocchio, egad!”

“I mean, we can’t have our 75 year old baby out there in that wilderness.”

“And what about those, seven little guys – oh, they just freak me out.”

“Created by the Grimm Brothers, no less!”

“Let’s not even bother to create a mouse character.”

“You know, I don’t feel like I could put him through any of that either.”

It’s somewhat ironic that a corporation that borrowed so much from the public domain now doesn’t want to contribute to it.  And they not only borrowed, they depended on it!  Let’s see, Jungle Book was released one year after Kipling’s copyrights expired.  Now I’m only guessing here, but knowing how long it takes Disney to release a film they were probably well on their way into the animation before the copyright expired.  And then there’s pretty much everything else they created – Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Tarzan, this list goes on and includes much of what Disney animated - because Disney always wanted a proven story.  Who cares by whom it was written.

Borrowing is needed in the creative world.  We take ideas and build on them.  That’s what we do! Even Shakespeare got his idea for Romeo and Juliet from a poem written about 40 years prior.  And that led to Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.  If we didn’t build on the past we would still be making stick figures in caves, albeit different ones.  Heck, Steamboat Willie was a parody of Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr. – and had the same music!

So, in 1998 Sonny Bono and a bunch of corporations with 6.3 million dollars decided to get the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) passed.  This adds 20 years to every copyright. And so now nothing will be falling into Public Domain until 2019.  That means there’s no fresh meat on which to build.  Nothing with which to get creative. And Disney just makes more money on the deal – of course, that’s not to say they wouldn’t have kept making money anyway.  They’d have every right as everyone else to make another Mickey movie or TV show or whatever.

Then in 2002, this guy, Eric Eldred – after 4 years of fighting to get into court – finally gets into the courts only to get shot down.  Eric was concerned because he’s had a website that publishes public domain writings that might otherwise go unread.  The CTEA not only allowed Disney to keep copyright but it also makes some Robert Frost poems inaccessible for the next 20 years.  Eric had hoped to put these poems on his website for all to read.

Well, at this point the only thing we can do is sign a petition and hope for the best.  And guess what!  It just so happens that one such petition exists.  Check out Think about it and then sign it – you owe it to yourself!  Of course, you may care that something you create will fall into Public Domain only 50 short years after you die instead of 70 years after with the CTEA.

Oh, and don’t think that just because it’s Mickey’s Birthday you can sing the Happy Birthday song – AOL Time Warner owns that copyright – so you’ll have to wait until 2019!






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