The Afternoon of Remembrance was held in Hulett Hall on Saturday Feb 29th. We honored 67 people this year. This is not counting the 34 victims of the Kyoto Animation studio fire of July 18. But they were mentioned and listed in our souvenir booklet. Tragically, we had a number of deaths last year from accidents: Chuck McIlvain of SPA died in the terrible Diveboat Fire off Catalina; Animator Paul Lewis drowned off Carmel while trying to rescue his daughter; another died in a traffic accident. But we also honored several members in their 90s, including former Disney animator Milton Quon, who died at age 107!
We had an audience of about 100, who unlike previous years, mostly stayed to the end of the program. These included eminent speakers like historians Charles Solomon, Mindy Johnson, ASIFA President Jerry Beck and Greg Ehrbar. Academy Award nominee Sanjay Patel came to speak about two stars of India animation, and Student Academy Award winner Chengli Xie attended to speak about two legendary Chinese filmmakers. Member Claire Williams spoke about her father, legendary animator Richard Williams. Producer Don Hahn spoke of former Walt Disney CEO Ron Miller, and 839’s own Steve Hulett flew in from Vegas to speak for Rudy Cataldi, who used to help on the memorial committee in the past. President Emeritus Tom Sito was in his usual role as Master of Ceremonies; Business Representative Steve Kaplan and President Jeanette Moreno King were on hand to offer support.
A unique factor this year was an abundance of recorded audio and video clips to play, thanks to the easy use of smart phones. Our editor Joe Campana did a great job editing everything down and sorting them in order. Paula Spence did a masterful job providing refreshments, which were abundant and quite tasty. ASIFA Hollywood shared in the cost .
We’d like to commend the members of our committee who put in so much time making the event move smoothly: Yvette Kaplan, Eugene Salandra, Silvia Pompei, Barbara Donatelli, Dave Brain, Ray Kosarin, Paula Spence, Joe Campana, as well as aid from members like Lee Crowe and Joanna Romersa, and the amazing Lyn Mantta, of course.
Everything went as planned with no major problems. We wrapped up shortly after 5:00 p.m. All of the input we received so far on social media agree that the event was a great success, and everyone was quite pleased. Our thanks once more to 839 for allowing us to hold this event, which over 26 years has become a beloved tradition in the Hollywood animation community.—a chance to come together as a professional family and share some laughter and some tears.
Our dearest hope is that you all have a great year, and please stay off our list!
Tom Sito & Eugene Salandra