The ever-growing CTN Animation Expo will be held this weekend, Nov. 20-22, at the Burbank Marriott Convention Center, featuring a jam-packed list speakers, events, workshops, demonstrations and screenings. Speakers and panelists include such animation luminaries as Brad Bird, Henry Selick and Peter Lord, as well as the creatives behind some of next year’s most anticipated animated films such as “The Little Prince,” “Kung Fu Panda 3,” “Zootopia” and “Moana.”
“It’ll be a great show,” said Creative Talent Network founder Tina Price, a former veteran Disney animator and the force behind the CTN Expo, which she started in 2009. “The theme this year is ‘One of a Kind,’ so I’ve put together a variety of people who are all one of a kind.”
One highlight of the Expo will be the Rat’s Nest Reunion on Saturday, Nov. 21. The panel reunites Bird, Selick, Dan Haskett, Bill Kroyer, John Musker and Jerry Rees, who were a group of young animators trained by Disney’s “Nine Old Men” that were confined to one small room in the Disney Feature Animation Building in the 1970s. The panel will be followed by a screening of Bird’s “The Iron Giant.”
In addition to “Iron Giant,” the event will feature screenings of this year’s “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” intro’d by director Roger Allers, and “Extraordinary Tales,” presented by filmmaker Raul Garcia, as well as Aardman Animations’ 2012 stop-motion film “The Pirates! An Adventure With Scientists,” presented by Aardman’s Peter Lord.
Other top animation professionals at the event include DreamWorks Animation co-presidents of production Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria; “Kung Fu Panda 3” co-director Jennifer Yuh, “How to Train Your Dragon 2’s” Dean DeBlois, “Song of the Sea” director Tomm Moore, “The Little Prince” helmer Mark Osborne, longtime Disney animator Eric Goldberg, and recent Disney Legend inductee Andreas Deja. Some of Variety’s 10 Animators to Watch honorees, including Disney’s Lorelay Bove and Brittney Lee, and “The Peanuts Movie’s” Nick Bruno, are attending as well.
The expo draws a huge number of animation professionals, students and fans, and it provides a place where animation artists can showcase their work and connect with each other. “Every year it grows about 10% and my main challenge is to make sure it’s still a very meaningful experience,” says Price. “The people are meeting, they’re connecting, they’re able to talk to each other.”