Karl Cohen (president of ASIFA-San Francisco) reports that Prescott Wright, a co-founder of the Ottawa International Animation Festival and ASIFA-San Francisco, and the original producer of the Tournee of Animation, has passed away.Prescott had been in slow decline for several years with Picks Syndrome, a form of dementia related to Alzheimer. He died on December 28th at age 71. Karl Cohen writes:
“Pres spent about 40 years of his life promoting animation as a great art form. In the late 1960s several of his friends with ASIFA-Hollywood decided to put together an international animation program. It was almost impossible to see quality animation in the US at that time. Pres was active with the group and having worked previously in film distribution, he was asked to head the project, The International Tournee of Animation, when they decided to show the program in other places. He continued to organize and distribute the annual celebration until Terry Thoren’s Expanded Entertainment purchased rights to the program in the late 1980s.”For many years Prescott was on ASIFA’s international board of directors, and was an advisor to the Ottawa and other major animation festivals. More recently he worked for Disney as an artist recruiter and then worked in the Philippines and India as an instructor and in development with emerging animation studios.”
I met Prescott myself shortly after I moved to L.A. in 1986, when I came to work with Terry Thoren to distribute the Tournee for Expanded Entertainment. Prescott was always friendly, knowledgeable and eager to help us communicate with filmmakers and theater owners across the country and around the world. Prescott was a pioneer – in those pre-cable, pre-Internet days – by getting independent and international animation showcased and making those films accessible to those unable to attend festivals in far off lands. Without Wright’s vision, the Ottawa festival would not be what it is; successor touring programs like Spike and Mike and The Animation Show would not be; ASIFA-SF would not be the strong chapter it is. Karl Cohen says Prescott’s family will have a small ceremony in his honor in Albuquerque, New Mexico in a couple of days; and ASIFA-San Francisco will dedicate their annual party, on Friday January 5th, to his memory.