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

IAD 2021 – Get yer fresh access for October 28!

Animation? You want ANIMATION?!?

For the International Animation Day (IAD) celebration this Thursday, October 28th, ASIFA Central is providing a Vimeo-hosted program of 17 short animated films from the local group and the WHOLE WORLD. This program is available for single or group viewing, and if you are interested in accessing this LIMITED TIME OFFER to create an instant ‘toon party or fill in an hour of cultural class time, here’s your chance!

Seating is limited to only the first 300 who apply! Who do you have to kidnap for this? How many cartloads of zinc must you provide to the program coordinators? IT’S FREE. FREE FREE FREE. “All you have to do” is email the ASIFA Central Secretary, Jim Middleton, at jim.middletonrx@gmail,com and ask for the SECRET INSTRUCTIONS on WHAT IT TAKES TO BE THE TALK OF YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD. Why, just look at what you can see —

THE PROGRAM (61 minutes, 66 for the “Special Edition”)

1. Toast for ASIFA – Deanna Morse, Christine Veras, Steve Leeper, et al – 1:11

2. Two Little People – ASIFA Australia – Xin Li – 3:00

3. Springtime in CoVid Land – Julie Goldstein – 2:08

4. Mala – Too Otaghia Group – Iran – 2:15

5. Large Scale Absurdities Volume 3 – “Docile Town” – Kimonos Animation Studio – Charalambos Margaritis – ASIFA Hellas – 4:21

6. Horsepower – Christine Veras, et al – 1:00

7. Notun Fasal (New Harvest) – Sovan Dutta – ASIFA India – 2:30

8. Tchisti – Sarah Tabibzadeh – Iran – 4:25

9. Candy Shop – Patrick Smith – ASIFA South – 2:30

10. Espresso Doppio – Mika Koskinen – Finland – 3:54

11. Eli – Jeff Martell – ASIFA South – 3:32

12. Connecting – Melissa Bouwman – 2:06

13. Happy Banana – Ali Raies – Iran – 8:20

14. Animated Doodle – ASIFA Hellas – 4:00

15. NamaStay – Margo Pierce – ASIFA South – 2:45

16. time passing : passing time – Polly Wolly Doodlers (Jim Middleton, Deanna Morse, Gretchen Vinnedge, Suzanne Zack) – 5:05

17. A Tale of Self-Preservation – Shannon Fleming – ASIFA South – 5:30

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!!! If you act before midnight, December 15, you’ll also get access to the SPECIAL COORDINATOR CUT, featuring a “you are there” installation experience for “time passing : passing time” as seen by DOZENS UPON DOZENS of Cichlids at the Water Colors Aquarium Gallery during the recent ArtPrize in Grand Rapids!

You will curl your toes with GLEE. You’ll want to cavort! Frolic! Scamper! But you must act NOW! (Well, before December 15th, anyway)

Drop an email to while he is still permitted access to a keyboard!


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.

International Animation Day 2020

The program, ASIFA/Central “Celebrating Global Animation” features 19 Animations from around the world, representing the countries who offered films freely for International Animation Day 2020. Films from Australia, Finland, Hellas/Greece, Iran, India, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the USA are featured.

ASIFA/CENTRAL members are welcome to join in the community celebrations and screen our program online this year to recognize 2020 International Animation Day. You can have a few friends (who are already part of your COVID bubble) over for a salon style screening, share with your classes, or show in your backyard, of course at a small socially distanced screening event. 

Eight countries, 19 animations, total running time is 1 hour 22 minutes. With a variety of styles, techniques and intended target audiences, it is an impressive line up. It would be rated R for some animated nudity. Attached is a .pdf with the selected films. 

Remote screenings for International Animation Day can occur between October 26 and November 15, 2020. The program is password protected, please write Deanna Morse, describe how you intend to view it, and ask for the password.

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. ***

Letter from the President

newsletter header

Dear ASIFA friends,

As I am thinking about the end of the year and looking forward to next year, I want to let you know some of the great events and activities that your membership contribution provides for the central U.S. chapter and ASIFA international. We are a volunteer-run, 501c3 non-profit that supports the midwest of the United States with the goal to help promote progress towards peace and mutual understanding between all people as part of the Association Internationale du Film d’Animation. This coming year marks the 60th anniversary of our international UNESCO chartered organization!

This past year members had the opportunity to animate in an internationally shown ANI-JAM.

Filmmakers could submit their films for showing around the world, We had the opportunity to make films together, explore techniques, and deliver papers at our annual retreat at Webster University in St. Louis.


Our members organized and showed animation as part of SiteLab event in Grand Rapids, MI called Project One.


ASIFA partnered with the Thriller Chiller Film Festival to show ‘Evil Dead’ with guest animator/effects guru Tom Sullivan. We celebrated international Animation Day this year with animation showings in Grand Rapids, Detroit, and St. Louis! Our chapter also launched a newly redesigned web site.

Looking forward to next year, our Central chapter is in the planning stages for doing a series of workshops, along with member meet and greet animation showings. Plans are already underway for our 2020 retreat —which will be announced soon. There are many international plans in the works for the 60th anniversary of ASIFA, including the creation of a short film to represent our Central chapter in a special celebration for International Animation Day. It will be shown with other short films around the world!  Finally, we are kicking off the new year with a fun Christmas Card animation party on January 3rd in Grand Rapids, MI.

My goal as president is to find ways to collaborate and spread the opportunities around our region. I would love to hear your ideas on how we can make ASIFA Central connect with you and your area of the great midwest. Please note that your membership or end of year donation is potentially a tax-deductable contribution to our 501c3 depending on your local state laws.

Best Wishes in 2020!

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)