After more than 20 years, there’s a change at the top of ASIFA-Hollywood, the org behind the animation biz’s annual Annie Awards, as Frank Gladstone replaces longtime prexy Antran Manoogian.
Gladstone, who currently heads up animation consulting firm Gladstone Film, said he is looking forward to making some significant changes, including updating membership qualifications, establishing a representative voice for every animation studio and creative technique, building an advisory board of animation professionals and revising the voting structure of the Annies.
Gladstone said that the changes were not due to animation powerhouse Disney’s withdrawal from the org last year.
“It had nothing to do with Disney, per se,” he told Variety. Gladstone noted how the org has grown from its beginnings as essentially a fan-based club to an org boasting more than 4,000 members. “It’s time to update ASIFA. We’ve got to grow, become more self-sufficient.”
One of the changes Disney was seeking was an advisory committee of execs representing each studio to recommend rule changes to the ASIFA board, and that is indeed one of Gladstone’s top priorities. “We think it’s wise to have an advisory board with lots of voices,” he said. Whether the move will bring Disney-Pixar back into the fold remains to be seen.
Disney had sponsored the Annies since the kudos’ first year in 1972. ASIFA made some alterations last year, but those did not appease Disney-Pixar, which pulled its support and submissions. While Disney and Pixar were minimally represented at last month’s ceremony, DreamWorks Animation dominated with 39 nominations, taking home 15 awards, including top feature for “How to Train Your Dragon.”
In the next few weeks, ASIFA-Hollywood plans to hold meetings with all the major studios to get their input on how to improve the org’s infrastructure. Also, Gladstone would like to increase the org’s outreach and work with other orgs like the Visual Effects Society and the 3D Society.
In one of the first changes for the Annies, Gladstone said there will be two new individual achievement categories to honor feature and TV editing.
Other changes on the board include Jerry Beck as VP and Jeff Wike as treasurer. Bill Turner returns as secretary. Beck is a former Nickelodeon and Disney exec and co-writes animation industry blog Cartoon Brew. Wike is director of research and development for DreamWorks Animation in charge of technology. Turner is a production supervisor at Disney Television Animation.
Gladstone has been an animator, producer and director for more than 30 years, working in the animation divisions of Disney, Warner Bros. and DreamWorks.
Of his predecessor, Gladstone said in a statement: “We owe Antran Manoogian an enormous amount of respect and admiration for his many years of selfless devotion to ASIFA-Hollywood. Antran has seen the organization through a period of unparalleled growth and success.”