Frank Gladstone Named New President of ASIFA-Hollywood

Incoming chief promises to revise the Annie Awards voting structure; TV and film editing category added to ceremony.

Promising to revise the controversial Annie Awards voting structure, animation veteran Frank Gladstone has been voted president of ASIFA-Hollywood (The International Animated Film Society).

The Annies also are getting editing award categories next year -- feature editing and television editing -- Gladstone told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday.

During the just concluded awards season, the Disney/Pixar camp boycotted the Annies over its voting procedures. The rules allowed anyone who bought a membership in the organization to be eligible to vote, which Disney contends favors DreamWorks Animation.

Questions were first raised two years ago when DWA's Kung Fu Panda swept the Annies feature categories, winning 10 trophies and shutting out Pixar's WALL-E, which went on the win the Oscar for animated feature.

Last month, DWA's How to Train Your Dragon dominated the feature competition with 10 awards, and DWA's Kung Fu Panda Holiday was the big winner in television categories.

"What we are going to try to do in order to remedy this is build an advisory board of people from all the studios and come up with a voting procedure that everyone thinks is as fair as it can possibly be," Gladstone said, adding that he hopes to meet with Disney/Pixar "as soon as possible" to discuss the issue.

Gladstone related that ASIFA had "started making voting more in line with professionals (but) made a few mistakes. ... Hopefully this year, voters will all be professionals who make a living in the animation field."

In the election, Gladstone ran against Antran Manoogian, who held the position for more than 20 years.

"We owe Antran Manoogian an enormous amount of respect and admiration for his many years of selfless devotion to ASIFA-Hollywood," Gladstone said. "Antran has seen the organization through a period of unparalleled growth and success, going from a small club to an organization of over 4,000 members."

Meanwhile, ASIFA is delivering some welcome news to the American Cinema Editors as well as to many ASIFA members who sought an Annie category for editing.

"This is fantastic news and the first victory for the American Cinema Editors' recent push to get film festivals and awards shows to add the editing category if they don't already have it," said Avatareditor Stephen Rivkin, a member of ACE's board of directors.

DWA execs hosted a meeting last week to discuss this topic with ASIFA board members. Participants also included representatives from ACE and Sony Pictures Animation.

In addition to ASIFA, ACE has sent letters to the Shanghai International Film Festival, New York PictureStart Awards, Durban International Film Festival, Boston Film Festival and San Sebastian Film Festival pushing for an editing category.

Gladstone said adding editing was an "easy decision ... the second person hired usually is the editor and the last person off the picture is the editor too. It's much more than just assembly." He added that the move is "long overdue."

Gladstone has served as a professional animator, producer, director, writer and teacher, first managing his own studio and then working in management at companies including Disney, Warner Bros. and DreamWorks. He is now CEO of the animation consulting firm Gladstone Film, a teacher and the "artist-in-residence" for the ACME Network, which connects industry professionals with students.

Newly elected board officers include Jerry Beck as vp and Jeff Wike as treasurer. Bill Turner returns as secretary.

Beck is a former Nickelodeon and Disney studio exec, cartoon producer and animation historian who co-writes the industry blog Cartoon Brew and teaches animation history at Woodbury University in Burbank. Wike is director of research and development for DWA, and Turner is a production supervisor at Disney Television Animation.

In addition to the Annie Awards, ASIFA projects include an animation archive; library and museum; classes and screenings; and animated film preservation.