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Annie Awards ’09: Call for Entries

ASIFA-Hollywood has announced its Call for Entries for this year’s 37th Annual Annie Awards.

Annie Awards will be presented in 25 categories including best animated feature, home entertainment, television production, television commercial, short subject, video game, as well as individual achievements. Entries can be submitted for consideration from productions released in the United States between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009. The deadline to receive entries is Friday, October 16, 2009.

Some big changes to the voting rules have been instituted this year, most significantly that ASIFA-Hollywood members will vote only on the Production categories, and that a final election committee of animation professionals will determine the award recipients for all of the Individual Achievement categories.

This year’s ceremony will be held on Saturday, February 6, 2010 at Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA. The updated ‘Rules and Categories’ list, entry forms and more information can be found online at

  • optimist

    Well, that’s an interesting change in the rules.
    Why is it being done? It seems far more problematic to have “a final election committee of animation professionals” decide the winners of individual achievement categories AS WELL AS deciding the final nominees in those categories, which is what was done before.

    How can that work, if the artists deciding which others should be nominated for their work also decide who should “win”…yet presumably have to recuse themselves from voting on: personal friends, on films they themselves worked on, on studios they work for…how’s that even doable? It sounds like a mess.

    If anyone thinks as has sometimes been asserted that voting was too heavily skewed, I’d disagree. I’ve often voted for “competing” studios and films and sometimes even for people I personally am not fond of-if I felt they did the most outstanding work. I’ve watched the clips like everyone else for the years that was possible.
    It always seems more fair to open a vote up to as much of the membership of an organization as is possible.

    But it’s ASIFA’s show and they can do what they like. Just seems like a way to make the issue of “winners” more problematic and contentious.

  • I just looked at the Production Categories and I’m disappointed that everything is either “Best ___ for a Television Production” or “Best ___ for a Feature Production”. What about all of the artists out there creating animated work specifically for the Internet?

  • optimist

    There should definitely be an internet category-and I know what they’d say, Evan:

    “Come to a meeting next year, get involved and make it happen yourself”!

    But seriously, there’s so much out there being done just for online that there really should be. It’s a good point.

  • Ridgecity

    Internet category? you mean that thing Hollywood hates so much??

  • picnic productions

    another change this year is that animated shorts can only be considered for the Best Animated Short Award. Theatrical shorts can no longer be entered into individual achievement categories- only features and television productions.

  • Jabril

    Can any age enter? im 16 and i have a pretty good animated short

  • Sylvain

    Aaaah, politics. I feel the pain of anyone who had to decide on these changes. It’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” proposition. With pressure on all sides.

    However I strongly believe they should let all members vote in a separate symbolic ballot, and then let the committee agree or disagree with the members. Let me say I agree with the changes as long as my voice can be heard, even if it is only heard by the committee. The ASIFA is what the members make of it and it better stay that way, or I have no reason to be part of it.

    I hope we will still be allowed to view the submitted material in all categories, I don’t care if I can vote or not (I’m not as professionally qualified in many categories as many of you) but I am a member because I love to see the nomination material. I also love to give kudos when deserved.

    At least they didn’t put 10 nominations in best animated feature. But the production categories are simply the “peoples choice awards” of the annies, they were added for business reasons and have no value to us, so the message is clear, thank you. We want your money, not you opinion.

    Sorry for the rant… I didn’t invest 7.4 billions in a consolidation business move, I just love animation. I got screwed over by the organization I respected the most in the business. There were better solutions to “the problem” than ditching all your loyal members.

  • Bill Turner

    Optimist – This is exactly the system that has been used by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for the Emmy awards.

    Evan – Internet animation may be submitted in the Best Short Subject category.

    Jabril – Your short may be eligible for release if it was originally released (internet, festival, theatrical, etc.) during the 2009 calendar year.

    Sylvain – The production categories have not been changed this year. They have always been voted on by all members. That is a good idea to allow everyone to see the nominated material, regardless of voting status. Of course, most of the material has always been available to all members via ASIFA’s screenings or on television.

  • optimist

    With respect, Mr. Turner, I don’t think it matters what ATAS does(they’ve changed their rules often enough anyway). ASIFA-Hollywood is a dedicated animation organization with a much smaller and more concentrated group of members than the television academy.

    There are several ways to compile a list of nominees. In my opinion the best, fairest way to award a single winner from among them is to have as many peers as possible vote from that list(which as I know is made from many, many submissions and narrowed down that group of 5 or so “animation professionals” who get to decide the finalists).

    Last year and before everyone in ASIFA used to be able to vote on individual achievement for all categories, provided they’d seen the clips etc. Why wasn’t that working? Can you at least explain why the change?
    And is it really better to have a tiny group of 5 make those decisions? Who gets to pick those 5 judges? It’s just not a good setup for determining finalists. And of course, they’ll be anonymous, won’t they? As the old nominee judges were.

  • optimist

    Just one more comment, promise:

    The production categories have not been changed this year. They have always been voted on by all members. That is a good idea to allow everyone to see the nominated material, regardless of voting status. Of course, most of the material has always been available to all members via ASIFA’s screenings or on television.

    I don’t believe Sylvain said that the production categories voting methods had been changed. He was writing about the other categories that have.

    He also had a good idea about making public the nominees in individual achievement even if we can’t vote on them. It’s the only chance we get to see the work of some of our peers, particularly at other studios. The “Art Of” books don’t print it all(see Coraline”).

    Mr. Turner writes “most of the material has always been available via ASIFA’S sceenings or on television”: that is not applicable for storyboards, visual development or character design. There is no way to know or see those artist’s original and submitted work by watching a screening of the finished project.

  • Ethan

    Mr Turner, I am an international member. Should I pay 1000$ every time, to take a plane in order to see the “screenings and television” ? You also evaded his question with a “red herring” : The submitted material is not at screenings nor on television anyway.

    Without any official answer, we can only assume what the reasons are for these changes. There was an attempt to discredit the ASIFA this year by a very influential group, because they disagreed with the active members votes, We all brushed it off, we know the voting process is not perfect, but it works well. Now your reaction is to discredit the ASIFA yourself by dumping your members from all the important categories. It feels like a coup d’etat.

    The ASIFA has always been about it’s members, not about it’s sponsors. Please don’t change that.

  • Sylvain

    Optimist, thank you that’s exactly what I meant. Members are being segregated in the useless marketing categories. The general production categories were added late in the history of the Annies (in 1992), supposedly to please the general public and get more press exposure. These new categories are about giving a prize to a whole “film” not to a “person”. It makes people go “woohoo!! My favorite film won an Annie against that other film I didn’t like!!”, then it gets press exposure that is used by the sponsors as a marketing tool. That’s fine. I don’t work in marketing, but I know we need these tactics to promote DVD sales.

    Individual achievement, on the other hand gives the artists peer recognition (good), but little press exposure (we don’t care). The whole point of the Annies is to recognize INDIVIDUAL achievements.

    I am glad that Bill Turner likes my idea of letting members “view the material”, but how about my first point of letting us vote and THEN overriding the result ? It’s a veto by a final committee. Most importantly, it produces a full accountability towards the members, because we would know you what the committee vetoed, and our opinion would at least be considered. It’s a fair compromise, and I would stay as a proud member of the organization in that case.

  • Sylvain

    I know I am being perceived as a grumpy whiner, with my previous posts… But I am sad that this “thing” had to happen this year, because we had many many great feature film productions to pick talent from so far, all with incredible hard work in them (Up, IA3, CWACOM, MvA) with even more coming before xmas, I don’t remember there’s ever been so many high quality productions the same year in the history of the Annies, so many great sequences which I don’t even know who worked on them. I wished to be part of it, that’s why I pay my membership.