Panel to be presented May 21 in Los Angeles.

The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) will present a panel moderated by animator and film historian Tom Sito, called “The Development of the Digital Animator” on Monday, May 21, 7:30pm, at its Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The panel will be the key event of the 18th Marc Davis Celebration of Animation. The first Marc Davis Lecture took place in 1994 with Marc Davis, one of Disney’s “Nine Old Men”, the inaugural guest. Each year, the Academy explores a new angle on animation in the cinema. Past Marc Davis Lecture guests have included Chuck Jones, Nick Park, The Brothers Quay, Hiyao Miyazaki, and John Lasseter, and topics have included “Japanese Anime and its Influences”, “Canadian Women in Animation”, “Mentorship in Animation” and “Voice Actors in Animation”.

“The Development Of The Digital Animator” will examine digital animation in the cinema, from its early use in Saul Bass’s title sequence for Hitchcock’s Vertigo to more ambitious experiments in the 1970s and 80s, to modern 3D CG animation.

The scheduled panelists, which include major pioneers in the field of digital animation, are:

  • Rebecca Allen, an experimental filmmaker who has worked at the New York Institute of Technology and MIT. She collaborated on The Catherine Wheel with Twyla Tharp and made landmark music videos for Kraftwerk, Mark Mothersbaugh and Peter Gabriel. She currently holds a professorship in the Department of Design|Media Arts at UCLA.
  • Philippe Bergeron, a CG animator and landscape designer who teamed up with Daniel Langlois and two other directors to create one of the first CG characters in the 1985 short Tony de Peltrie.  He has worked at Digital Productions and Whitney/Demos Productions and is president of PaintScaping Inc.
  • David Em, who began producing digital art in the 1970s and has worked as an independent artist in such research laboratories as the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Apple Computer’s Advanced Technology Group. He is the first digital artist to have his papers collected and preserved by the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art.
  • Tim Johnson, a director and animator who began his career at Chicago’s Post Effects. In the 1980s, while at Pacific Data Images, he animated the first digital Pillsbury Doughboy. His directing credits include Antz, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and Over the Hedge.
  • Jeff Kleiser, the co-founder of Digital Effects, New York’s first CG house. Kleiser later co-founded both Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company and Synthespian Studios. His credits include Tron, Honey, I Blew Up the Kids, Stargate and X-Men The Last Stand.
  • Bill Kroyer, an animator and director whose credits include Tron, FernGully: The Last Rainforest and Scooby-Doo.  Kroyer received an Oscar nomination for his 1988 short film Technological Threat. He is currently Director of Digital Arts at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University.
  • John Lasseter [pictured], the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Feature Animation and Pixar Animation Studios, whose credits include Pixar’s first short, the Academy Award-winning Luxo Jr., and the feature films Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Cars and Cars 2.
  • Tom Sito, a veteran Hollywood animator and historian whose credits include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Shrek and Hop.
  • Phil Tippett, an Academy Award-winning visual effects animation director whose credits include Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Jurassic Park, The Spiderwick Chronicles and several films in the Twilight Saga.
  • Diana Walczak, the CG animator and director who co-founded Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company and Synthespian Studios. With Jeff Kleiser, she created the first female Synthespian performer, Dozo, for the 1989 music video “Don’t Touch Me.”  Her credits include the digital opera Monsters of Grace and the feature films X-Men and Surrogates.

Tickets are $5 for the general public, $3 for Academy members or students with ID and can be purchased at or when the doors open at 6:30pm.