School of Communications Hosts ASIFA Central Conference and Retreat | Webster University

School of Communications Hosts ASIFA Central Conference and Retreat

ST. LOUIS (July 19, 2019) – The School of Communications at Webster University is hosting the annual ASIFA Central Conference and Retreat for animators Friday, July 20 through Sunday, July 22. ASIFA Central is the Midwest chapter of ASIFA, the International Animation Association (l'Association Internationale du Film d'Animation). ASIFA is the oldest organization of animators in the world. The Midwest chapter has been in existence for more than 40 years.

ASIFA Central Retreat logoThe retreat, "Ani-Meet Me in St. Louie Louie" is open to all students, faculty, ASIFA members, and animators in the St. Louis region. It kicks off on Friday with an informal dinner at Blueberry Hill, the renowned St. Louis restaurant and music club in the Loop.

The rest of the weekend is filled with presentations, hands-on workshops, viewings, and good food.

Eric Rothenbuhler, dean of the School of Communications, is happy to host the retreat for the first time. He said, "We welcome our colleagues and look forward to more opportunities for collaboration."

On Saturday, the retreat includes an introduction from ASIFA Central president and International Day program coordinator Brad Yarhouse. He is a practicing animator and associate professor of digital media at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Mich. His work has been shown in festivals around the world. Later in the day, Yarhouse makes a brief presentation on International Animation Day.

Other visiting presenters include Joshua Harell, Steve Leeper, Deanna Morse, Gary Schwartz, and Charles Wilson. They are artists, animators and educators with a complementary range of skills and successes.

Leeper is a filmmaker and associate professor of animation at Central Michigan University. His experience includes work as a stop-motion animator, model maker and layout artist. His commercial success includes work as the 3D layout supervisor of the video series "Veggietales" and the feature film "Jonah."

Wilson is a forensic animator at Investigative Mechanics, Inc. He helps design and teach courses for the highway traffic safety program at Michigan State University. He also produces forensic animation, video and multimedia accident reconstruction for court cases.

Academy Award-nominated animator Schwartz is a lecturer at University of Michigan School of Art and Design. Through his company Single Frame Films, he produces, designs and directs animation for companies such as Disney, Sesame Street, and MTV.

Harrell is an assistant professor at College for Creative Art Studies in Detroit, Mich. He is the animator and director of the 2016 short, "Mustard Seeds," and the producer of the 2015 sci-fi short, "Coup Mirage: Destroying the Illusion" among others.

Morse is an independent film animation artist specializing in experimental animation. She has animations on Sesame Street as well as in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is a professor emerita of film and video production in the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich.

School of Communications faculty presenters include Chris Aaron, Michael Long, and Chris Sagovac. Ethan Halker, a senior majoring in film, television and video production and animation, is also making a presentation.

Aaron is an assistant professor who teaches animation and film, television and video production. He is an award-winning producer of documentaries and experimental shorts with more than 18 years of industry experience.

Long has more than 34 years experience as a professional animator and educator including as an adjunct faculty member for the SOC. He joins the faculty as an assistant professor of animation next month.

Sagovac is an associate professor and program coordinator of the BA in animation. He is a Coleman Fellow. Multi-talented and versatile, he has commercial credits as animator, videographer, storyboard artist, background artist, concept artist, art director, inker, and letterer. He has been displaying his work in solo and group exhibitions and screenings for more than 18 years. His work spans multiple mediums from ink to acrylic and clay to collage.

A schedule of activities for the weekend is included below. All activities are held in Sverdrup Hall, room 112 except as noted.

2019 ASIFA Central Conference and Retreat - Ani-Meet Me in St. Louie Louie!
Webster University, School of Communications

Friday, July 19
7:00pm - Dinner at Blueberry Hill
6504 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63130

Saturday, July 20
Webster University, School of Communications
Sverdrup Hall, 8300 Big Bend, Webster Groves, MO 63119
Room 112

9:45 a.m. - Registration

10 a.m. - ASIFA President and International Animation Day Program Coordinator, Brad Yarhouse

10:30 a.m. - Workshop I: Six Second Animated Film Strip, Steve Leeper, SVER118

11:15 a.m. - Workshop II: Film Manipulation, Chris Sagovac, SVER118

Noon - Lunch Delivered

1:30 p.m. - Workshop III: Pixilation, Chris Sagovac

5:00 pm - Dinner at Frisco Barroom
8110 Big Bend Blvd., Webster Groves, Missouri 63119

7 p.m. - Animating In-Between the Lines, Mike Long

7:15 p.m. - Astro Boy, Ethan Halker

7:30 p.m. - International Animation Day, Brad Yarhouse

7:45 p.m. - Painterly Cinema: Problematizing the Filmic, Chris Aaron

8 p.m. - The Gift, Deanna Morse

8:15 p.m. - Remembering Suzan Pitt, Charles Wilson

8:30 p.m. - The Making of 'Spencer's Slightly Imperfect Peep Show A.K.A. Micro-Burlesque,' Gary Schwartz

8:45 p.m. - An Introvert Walks Into a Bar or a Brief Individual Perspective on Making and Teaching Animation, Joshua Harrell

9 p.m. - Late Night Cartoons, SVER123

Sunday, July 21
10 a.m. -  Brunch at Highway 61 Roadhouse
34 S Old Orchard Ave, St. Louis, MO 63119

11:30 a.m. - Explore St. Louis

The organization was founded in France by a group of professional animators and was chartered by UNESCO in 1960. It is the only international non-profit organization for animation art in the world. ASIFA's goal is to encourage the art of animation and further promote international understanding and goodwill through the medium of the animated film. There are about 5,000 members and 32 chapters worldwide including seven in the United States.

About the School of Communications
The School of Communications ( at Webster University prepares
students students to excel as skilled professionals in the global field of communications. We provide theory and practice in media courses framed within a liberal arts-based curriculum, augmented by personalized mentorship, and professional development opportunities. Sixteen distinct majors are available at the undergraduate level as well as five master's degrees in diverse fields of communications. We offer BA and MA programs on the Webster campuses in Geneva, Vienna, Leiden, Thailand, and Ghana, as well as in Saint Louis and online.

About Webster University
With its home campus in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Webster University ( comprises an action-oriented global network of faculty, staff, students and alumni who forge powerful bonds with each other and with their communities around the globe. Founded in 1915, Webster is a private non-profit university with students studying at campus locations in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa and in a robust learning environment online. The university is committed to ensuring high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.