The fantastically successful screening series Animation Nights New York is having its second annual ANNY Best of Fest, a two-day event of screenings, panel discussions, vr demos, a fine art installation, and other events taking place in the Wall Street area of Manhattan.

The Best of Fest will take place next Friday and Saturday, September 29 and 30 and many of the events, including the screenings and panels are free to attend. The event, founded by Yvonne Grzenkowicz, is headlined by the ANNY Best of Fest Winners screening, a juried selection of 20 short films that were selected from the 175 films that were showcased at the event’s monthly screenings. Additionally, three of the films selected for best of fest won the following awards:

  • 2017 ANNY Best of Fest Grand Prize Winner
    Ossa by Dario Imbrogno (Italy, 2016)
  • Animation for Adults Award Winner
    Hanging by Nick LeDonne (United States, 2016)
  • Anderson Contemporary Award Winner
    All Their Shades by Chloé Alliez (France, 2015)

Best of Fest’s Virtual Reality Animation Showcase promises to be impressive for its scope and variety. The showcase will take place in a 26,000-square-feet space, and will feature work by vr filmmakers and artists including Chris Milk, Penrose Studios, Jakob Steensen, Pirahna/Hey Mister!, Midas Touch, Artella/Sketchfab, Third Wish Media, High Fidelity, and NYU Magnet, among others.

The key highlight of the event may be its series of wide-ranging professional industry panels. Sprinkled throughout the discussions are many key names from the animation industry including Augenblick Animation’s Aaron Augenblick, Courage the Cowardly Dog creator John Dilworth, GKIDS’ Dave Jesteadt, and Artella’s Bobby Beck, among dozens of other speakers. Here’s the line-up of participants and topics:

  • Pitching Animation (Sept 29, 12pm) – Featuring: Elise McCave (Kickstarter) and LaToye Adams (Children’s Media Association), Alba E. Garcia-Rivas (Fantasiation) with Jimbo Matison as moderator.
  • IGDA NYC presents: Careers in Gaming (Sept 29, 1pm) – Featuring: Keith Stevens (Motion Sickness), Jenn Chiu (Motion Sickness), and Neil Sveri (DreamSail Games) with James Seetal (IGDA NYC) as moderator.
  • The Incredibly Surprising History and Future of Brooklyn Animation (Sept 29, 2pm) – Featuring: Tommy Stathes (Cartoons on Film) and Aaron Augenblick (Augenblick Studios) with David Kay (The Winthrop Group) as moderator.
  • Film Festival Strategy (Sept 29, 3pm) – Featuring: Susan Godfrey (The Productive), Katie Cropper Klein (ASIFA East), Don Cato (Queens World Film Festival) and Shannon Walker (The Lower East Side Film Festival) with Faiyaz Jafri as moderator.
  • Cinematic Campfire Poetry (Sept 29, 4pm) – Featuring: Max Rothman (Monticello Park Productions).
  • Artella Virtual Studio: Sketchfab, Lily & Snout, and the Future of WebVR (Sept 29, 5pm) – Featuring: Bobby Beck (Artella Virtual Studio) and Paul Chambers (Sketchfab).
  • VR Voice Panel: Storytelling in Virtual Reality (Sept 29, 6pm) – Featuring: Tom Westerlin (Nice Shoes), Jon Clinkenbeard (Clinkenfilms), Emma Mankey Hidem (SunnySideVR), Kane Lee (Baobab Studios) and Charlie Fink with Bob Fine (VR Voice) as moderator.
  • Surviving and Thriving as a Freelancer (Sept 29, 7pm) – Featuring: Kalika Sharma (Antidote), Stephen Brooks (Rubber Onion), Pilar Newton (PilarToons), and John Schnall (Quality Schnallity, Inc.) with Dayna Gonzalez (Jumping Tadpole Productions) as moderator.
  • The Philosophy of Animation Style (Sept 29, 8pm) – Featuring: Stephen Price (Stash Media), Bruna Berford (Penrose Studios), Max Rothman (Monticello Park Productions), and Amid Amidi (Cartoon Brew) with Faiyaz Jafri as moderator.
  • NYFL The New Disruptors: New Pathways to Storytelling (Sept 30, 12pm) – Featuring: Devin Dixon (BingeWave), Valerie Lisyansky (SWARM), and Brandon Henriquez (Pretend Labs) with Daron Jenkins (NYFL) as moderator.
  • Animation in VR: Pipelines and Workflow (Sept 30, 1pm) – Featuring: Kevin Yong Qu with Bruna Berford (Penrose Studios), Tyler Hopf (SVA), Cat Gulácsy (The Mill), and Tom Westerlin (Nice Shoes) with Kiira Benzing (Double Eye Productions) as moderator.
  • Puppetry and Motion Capture in Animation (Sept 30, 2pm) – Featuring: Jordan Geary (Sesame Studios), Sam Koji Hale (IBEX Puppetry Inc.), Paul Andrejco (Puppet Heap), Alba E. Garcia-Rivas (Fantasiation), and Matt Witham with Tristian Goik (ASIFA East) as moderator.
  • Animation: New Models for Business (Sept 30, 3pm) – Featuring: Dave Jesteadt (GKIDS), Jeremy Rosen (Frederator), and Kim Diaz (Sesame Studios) with Mark Sternberg (REVRIE Immersive Works) as moderator.
  • Pre-Production and Planning: The Importance of Developing an Idea (Sept 30, 4pm) – John Dilworth (Stretch Films), David Pagano (Paganomation), Aaron Augenblick (Augenblick Studios), and Jimbo Matison with Nina Balton (The Toon Goons) as moderator.
  • Animation Tech: Multi-User Experiences in Virtual Reality – (Sept 30, 5pm) – Featuring: Mikita Labanok (Abelana VR Productions), Tom Schofield (High Fidelity), Rob Sabatini (Pirahna / Hey Mister!), Lisa Kotecki (AltSpace), and Javier Molina (NYU Magnet) with Mark Sternberg (REVRIE Immersive Works) as moderator.

ANNY Best of Fest takes place September 29-30 at 180 Maiden Lane in Manhattan. Two types of tickets are available: the FREE Enthusiast Package, which includes two-day access to the animation screenings, fine art exhibit, and panels, and the Industry Package ($30), that offers access to the above plus the VR Animation Showcase and other industry events like the one-on-one speed pitching blocks.

For a full schedule and ticket details, visit the festival website

Latest News from Cartoon Brew