ASIFA Central Animators Retreat – last July 2021 – Look for the 2022 iteration!

It was a great event, and we’re looking forward to the next, which seems to come faster every year!

Happening July 16th at 7:00 pm EST through 17th virtually on Zoom.Free for everyone!

Featuring the Best of Ottawa International Animation Festival 2020 underwritten by the Polly Wolly Doodlers,

Saturday Workshops include Toilet Paper Animation & Mixamo and Character animator Workshop, talks on Animation Therapy, Experimental animation, Island Hopping!, and more. Ending with an evening of sharing as animation lovers share their favorite 10 minute shorts or segments and talk about what they love, Animation!

If you are interested in participating here is a link to sign up: Complete Event listing will be provided on July 13th!

July 16 – 18, 2021 On a ZOOM near you!
Friday, July 16

7:00 – Welcome Welcome! – Bri Yarhouse
7:05 – About ASIFA and Ottawa Animation Festival – Chuck Wilson
7:10 – Introduction to the Film – Jim Middleton
7:15 – Film – Best of OIAF, sponsored by the Polly Wolly Doodlers
9:30 (on completion of film) Coffee Breakout Rooms – Discussion about the Film – hosted by Bri Yarhouse

and the ceremonial ASIFA Central Retreat Cake PRESENTATION

Saturday, July 17 – Workshops, Show and Tell, and Favorite Films
11:45 News and updates – Bri Yarhouse
12:00 Workshop 1 – Mixamo and Character animator Workshop – Julie Goldstein

1:00 Coffee Breakout Rooms – hosted by Bri Yarhouse

1:30 Workshop 2 – TP Animation workshop (Use up some pandemic inventory!) – Michael Long, Melissa Bouwman

2:30 Coffee Breakout Rooms – hosted by Bri Yarhouse

Lightning Talks begin

3:00 Lightning Talk 1 – Retro Video Game Animation – Chris Sagovac
3:15 Lightning Talk 2 – ANIMATION-MAKING AS THERAPEUTIC PRACTICE – Jorgelina Orfila
3:30 Lightning Talk 3 – Artprize Update – Deanna Morse, Gretchen Vinnedge, Suzanne Zack, and Jim Middleton
3:45 Lightning Talk 4 – The Experimental Animation Lab – 1st year of Activities – Christine Veras

4:00 Coffee Breakout Rooms – hosted by Bri Yarhouse

4:30 Lightning Talk 5 – Island Hopping – Michael Long
4:45 Lightning Talk 6 – Collaborative Animation – Deanna Morse
5:00 Lightning Talk 7 – Stuff to Share! – Chris Scott
5:15 Lightning Talk 8 – Work in Progress Presentation – Jim Middleton

5:30 DINNER BREAK (Animators must document all chewing on the appropriate production pipeline sheet)

7:00 – Animation Share Time!

7:00    Warm Up Workshop Videos -  Share Time - outcomes from the morning  workshops
7:15     Share 1        Works expanding on Norman McClaren’s Definition of Animation – Christine Veras
7:30     Share 2        UPA  –  Michael Long
7:45     Share 3        Material experience and The Eagleman Stag  - Robert Swieringa
8:00     Share 4        My Favorite Animation –     Deanna Morse
8:15     Share 5        My Favorite Animation –     Bri Yarhouse
8:30     Share 6        Animation Saved My Life – Jim Middleton
8:45     Share 7        View-O-Rama by Chelsea Manifold   – Gretchen Vinnedge
9:00     Share 8        My Favorite Animation –     Julie Goldstein

Sunday, July 18
1pm – ASIFA Central Board Meeting
Interested? Click on the same ZOOM link and see what is happening.
Board Members will be discussing what the positions have meant to them and what they were able to bring to their roles


Events will start Friday night with an introduction to our retreat and a film showing (“The Best of OIAF,” underwritten by the Polly Wolly Doodlers) and discussion. Saturday will be our big day with events planned all day along with plenty of time for coffee and food breaks.


1. Put on a workshop. We are planning four workshops on our Saturday date (July 17). Two of the slots are filled and are looking for another two. If you have any technique, discovery, or new animation tool you wish to share that could fit into an hour long workshop, please send me a brief description (

2. Lightning Talks. This is a chance for our members to share briefly what they have been working on – or discovering – or doing! We’re scheduling five- minute talks with five minutes for questions. Quick and to the point… and fun. (Lightning talks will be reserved for ASIFA Central members, but anyone can zoom in and watch!)

3. Animation share! On Saturday evening sign up to share up to a 10 minute piece ofanimation from any film or short film that you wish. It could be something historic,something new, some bit of a lost classic, or some new amazing piece of mind blowinganimation that you love and want to share. Then we take five minutes to talk about it with the audience.

ASIFA Central Retreat 2020 Information

We are so excited about our online retreat this year, amazing guest speakers, cool innovative online events, talks and opportunity to work collaboratively! This is where we will post information about how to virtually meet along with our schedule and various other important pieces of information.

For safety this year, we are moving our annual animators retreat to online. We see this as an opportunity rather than a problem. In that regard, all events this year are free and include some amazing guest speakers and workshops!  

Guest speakers include Disney Storyboard artist James Suhr, Independent feature film director Nina Paley, and Independent feature film director Chris Sullivan!

Workshops include a stop-motion animation project that will be sent to you through the U.S. Postal System (until supplies run out) to animate during the workshops! We also will be doing a Zoom pixilation animation for the first time in history!! 

For educators, animation producers, and curious peeps we have added a round table discussion on remote production pipelines and a workshop on using and finding public domain music. More stuff to be announced! 


  • 7:00 PM EST Welcome! From President R. Brad Yarhouse
    • (Use All Zoom Event Login)

  • 7:15 PM EST Let’s order Pizza together and enjoy an evening of exploring the world of storyboards with Disney Storyboard artist James Suhr* Introduction and Moderator: R. Brad Yarhouse
    • (Use All Zoom Event Login)


  • 10:00-12:00 EST Saturday morning cartoons selected by Charles Wilson.  
    • (Use Streaming Event Link)

  • 1:00-2:30 EST (7) Saturday Lighting Rounds 5 minutes + 5 QA
    • (Use All Zoom Event Login)
      • Deanna Morse: ASIFA, Celebrating 60th Anniversary in Lockdown
      • Christine Veras: Reanimating the History of the Zoetrope
      • Steve Leeper: Laser Cutter Animation
      • Brad Yarhouse: A look at International Animation Day
      • Jim Middleton: Public Domain Sound Resources
      • Josh Harrell: Multiplane Cameras: A Royal Pane in the Glass

  • 2:30-3:00 EST Coffee Meet and Greet
    • (Use Zoom Coffee Meet & Greet Login)

  • 3:00-4:30 EST  Breakout Schedule
    • (Use All Zoom Event Login)
      • Ani-Mail Papercut stop-motion session with Chris Sagovac NOTE: We are out of our supply kits, if you sign up for this you will need to supply your own materials to animate.
      • Zoom pixilation! with Steve Leeper & Christine Veras
      • Technical how-to Demo: How to Create a 3D WorldA beginners guide to accessing the production pipeline within Maya with Julie Goldstein.

  • 4:30-5:00 EST Coffee Meet and Greet
    • (Use Zoom Coffee Meet & Greet Login)

  • 5:00-6:30 EST Dinner Break

  • 6:30-7:30 EST Show & Tell from breakout sessions and this year’s ASIFA Central 2 minute short debut, part of the 60th anniversary of ASIFA international!
    • (Use All Zoom Event Login)

  • 7:30 EST Guest Filmmaker Nina Paley** showing her most recent feature, “Seder Masochism” with Q&A to follow.  Introduction by James Middleton. Q&A led by Julie Goldstein.
    • (Use Streaming Event Link)


  • 12:00 EST  Member Board Election Discussion (Zoom available only to paid members of ASIFA Central)

  • 2:00 – 2:30 EST Public Domain Music by Jim Middleton 
    • (Use All Zoom Event Login)

  • 2:30 – 3:00 EST Coffee Meet and Greet
    • (Use Zoom Coffee Meet & Greet Login)

  • 3:00 – 4:00 EST Guest Filmmaker Chris Sullivan*** showing the making of his most recent feature “Orbit of Minor Satellites”. Introduction and Moderator: Julie Goldstein.
    • (Use All Zoom Event Login)

RSVP is now closed

About our Guest Speakers:

*James Suhr is a Los Angeles based artist, currently working as a storyboard artist for Walt Disney Television Animation. In addition, he has also worked for DreamWorks TV Animation, Nickelodeon, Illumination, and many others. His credits include (but are not limited to) Gravity Falls, Wander Over Yonder, Despicable Me, TrollHunters, 3-Below, and Monsters At Work. Good Sir James is a BFA graduate in Illustration from Kendall College of Art and Design and has also attended the Animation Workshop at UCLA.

**Nina Paley is an American cartoonist, animator and free culture activist. She was the artist and often the writer of the comic strips Nina’s Adventures and Fluff, but most of her recent work has been in animation.[1] She is perhaps best known for creating the animated feature film Sita Sings the Blues, based on the Ramayana, with parallels to her personal life. In 2018, she completed her second animated feature, Seder-Masochism, a retelling of the Book of Exodus as patriarchy emerging from goddess worship.(Wikipedia)

***Chris Sullivan is a creator, writer, director, lead animator, and sound designer. His previous animated films include Master of Ceremonies, Landscape with The Fall of Icarus, and Consuming Spirits. His latest feature is The Orbit of Minor Satellites.

About Our Panelists:

# Gary Schwartz Artist-Animator-Educator  

“Magic inspires my art; the something that comes from nothing.”

Gary Schwartz is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker, award winning animator, director, artist & educator.  Mr. Schwartz conducts intensive hands-on Kinetic Visual Storytelling Animation workshops in elementary, middle, high school, under-graduate, graduate, post-graduate, professional training, film festivals, museums, summer camps, community centers, N.G.O.’s, prisons & psychiatric hospitals national & internationally in an environment of creativity, imagination & self-expression conducts intensive hands-on Kinetic Visual Storytelling Animation Workshops . Through his company, Single Frame Films, Gary produced, designed & directed animation for Disney, Sesame Street, MTV, Fox Television, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and others.  Mr. Schwartz was a Lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design.  His kinetic cinema sculptures, installations & films have been exhibited in major museums & galleries internationally.

## Josh Harrell Born and raised in Ypsilanti, MI, Joshua Harrell earned his BA in Studio Art with focuses in video and drawing from Sewanee:The University of the South, (Sewanee TN), and his MFA in Film, Video, and Computer Animation from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television, John Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts, (Los Angeles CA).

As an artist, Joshua is interested in the nexus between physical/tactile artmaking and digital tools; his work lingers in the spaces between figurative and abstract imagery, and his thoughts flit between images of his psychological substrata and visual music. 

Joshua currently lives in Detroit, MI, where he is an Associate Professor of Entertainment Arts (Animation) at the College for Creative Studies.

### Doug Hudson, Kansas City Art Institute

Doug Hudson has been making experimental music and film since the mid-80s, teaching since 2000. Most notably, he designed and founded the award-winning Animation department for the Kansas City Art Institute in 2004. Currently, he teaches full time and is Chair of Animation at KCAI. 

His graduates work throughout the industry and have earned many honors and distinctions, including a Student Academy Award in 2010. Additionally, many have gone on to earn graduate degrees from top colleges, including Cal Arts, USC, and UCLA.

Hudson earned a M.F.A. in Experimental Animation from Cal Arts in 2000 (under the mentorship of Jules Engel, Suzan Pitt, William Moritz, Raimund Krumme, and Maureen Selwood) and a B.F.A. in Animation from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 1997 (under the mentorship of Sheila Sofian, David Fain, Lowell Boston, and Peter Rose). At Warner Brothers Online in Los Angeles (2000-2001), he was a member of the first team of animators to bring the iconic Looney Tunes characters to the internet via a series of original Flash-based webtoons as well as animating for the DC Comics series, Gotham Girls and Lobo

*** We welcome all animators regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or political views.  Our stated mission as an organization is to Promote cultural understanding through the Art of Animation.  The personal views of our speakers do not represent the views of our members or those of ASIFA. ***

IAD 2019 Trailer

Central IAD Trailer from brad yarhouse on Vimeo.


COMING SOON! ASIFA Central USA International Animation Day Celebrations, Oct 28th.
  • Site Lab October 26th, 3pm -6pm 314 Straight Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504
  • Grand Rapids, MI -Oct 28th at Kendall College of Art and Design 7:00 pm at 17 Pearl room 217.
  • Detroit, MI at the Center for Creative Studies (please check back here for time and date)
  • St Louis, MO at Webster College (please check back here for time and date)
  • Mt Pleasant, MI at Central Michigan University (please check back here for time and date)

ASIFA International Animation Day 2019

CENTRAL header19-Anouncing website

International Animation Day is coming! We will be celebrating throughout the Midwest at the following locations. (more locations are possible please check back for more information)
  • ADDED: Site Lab October 26th, 3pm -6pm 314 Straight Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504
  • Grand Rapids, MI -Oct 28th at Kendall College of Art and Design 7:00 pm at 17 Pearl room 217.
  • Detroit, MI at the Center for Creative Studies (please check back here for time and date)
  • St Louis, MO at Webster College (please check back here for time and date)
  • Mt Pleasant, MI at Central Michigan University (please check back here for time and date)

ANI-JAM 19 Workshop!

ASIFA - anijam-header19ANNOUNCING: ANI-JAM 19! Join us on Feb 23 at the Community Media Center or via SKYPE at 1:00 EST for the start of this years ANI-JAM. We will be working as a group to create the concept based on this years ASIFA IAD poster. The poster has not been officially released yet but will be before we begin. It’s crazy cool. (take my word for it 🤓) Come with your creative thinking caps! Let me know in the comments if you are interested!

Wow. it was a huge success! it not only was featured on, the International Website but also for several of the showings around the world on International Animation Day! See it here:

Glad you asked. It’s when a group of animators get together, decide on a loose theme or goal, and working with a deadline or other constraints create a short piece of animation. Each Artist creates a brief bit of animation that is strung together with the other participant’s animation to create a crazy but somewhat cohesive short film. If that doesn’t make sense see the examples below.

TO PARTICIPATE: You must be a paid member of ASIFA Central. (Here is how to become a member:

Meet in person or remotely on February 23 at 1:00 – 3:00 EST. In person at the Community Media Center (1130 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506) OR remotely. Please send an email to for additional information.

-As soon as the poster is officially announced, I will post it here for everyone who is interested to start thinking about the creative solution to doing an ANI-JAM with it.



International Animation Day

central michigan1

Students at Central Michigan University getting into the spirit of International Animation Day.

ASIFA Central celebrates International Animation Day each year in a number of cities throughout the midwest on or around Oct 28th. International Animation Day was started in 2002 by ASIFA  “honoring the birth of animation, recognized as the first public performance of projected moving images: Emile Reynaud’s Theatre Optique in Paris, on the 28th October 1892.” This worldwide celebration happens in many countries on all inhabited continents with the goal of “connecting animators to each other, celebrating our unique art form, and bringing animation art to the general public.” Chapters of ASIFA exchange films with one another to create a rich diverse tapestry of animation. For more information view

IAD 2018: ANI-JAM 18

Based on the 2018 Association Internationale du Film d’Animation International Animation Day poster created by René Castillo’s studio Mandaraka in Mexico. Each face was created by a member of the studio and then reinterpreted by animators in the Central USA Chapter of ASIFA as part of an ANI-JAM. Each animator had 3 seconds to transform one face into another.IAD_Poster-Portrait-1sheet-small.png

The artists who contributed the faces are: Misael Barbosa, Rita Basulto, Juan Pablo Becerra, Sofía Carrillo, Karla Castañeda, Emilia Castillo, René Castillo, Eliant Elias, León Fernández, Ricardo Niño, Mario Ruiz, Ángeles Vargas & Christian Vázquez.

The animators (in order of transformation) are Charles Wilson, Steve Leeper, Gretchen Vinnedge, Andrew Zesiger, Nathan Henriquez, Nikki Hines, Julie Goldstein, Mack-enzie Mayo, R. Brad Yarhouse, Bob Swieringa, Gary Schwartz, David Thrasher, Deanna Morse, Jim Middleton. Music by Andrew Zesiger.




Flint Youth Film Festival

April 12th, 2018 How To Make An Animated Film Participants at the Flint Public Library create an animated title open for the 2018 Flint Youth Film Festival Fun was had by all… Workshop organized by Gary Schwartz,  an Academy Award nominated filmmaker, award-winning animator, director, artist & educator. Mr. Schwartz conducts intensive hands-on animation workshops in elementary, middle, high school, under-graduate, graduate, post graduate, professional training, film festivals, museums, summer art camps, community centers, prisons & psychiatric hospitals nationally & internationally.



International Animation Day

ASIFA Central will be celebrating International Animation at several locations around the central part of the U.S. All showings are free and open to the public.

  • A screening of International animations will be shown on Friday, October 28th at Kendall College of Art and Design in the Pearl Street Building room 217 at 7:00 pm.
    • 17 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Our International Animation Day Program is curated by ASIFA Central board member Brad Yarhouse.IADposter2016_cropped.jpg