About the Animation Show of Shows

This is the show that made me decide I wanted to be an animator. I love what your group does, and I'm thrilled that the show will becoming back this year! Veronica Plante, Santa Clara, CA - August 2016
You’re reading this because we have a long history and you may want to know more about who we are or possibly we may have pointed you here because we are very interested in having your film in an upcoming release of The Animation Show of Shows (ASOS). Depending on where you're coming from, you may know very little about the ASOS, and even if you know a bit or a lot, this will provide background on this program and the initiatives that we are pursuing and further background on Ron Diamond, the founder and curator of the ASOS.
The ASOS has two key purposes in our mission statement, the first and foremost is the promotion of exemplary animated short films to wider audiences. This happens at major animation studios, media, tech and game companies, it also happens at colleges and universities and also for the general public in movie theaters, museums and at festivals. Our second initiative is to restore and preserve for all time, lesser-known exemplary animated shorts. We have holdings at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences-Academy Film Archive, the Library of Congress and at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. A detailed historical breakdown of the development and growth of the ASOS is below.
The Animation Show of Shows, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization based in Los Angeles, founded in 2015 we started with the release of The 17th Annual Animation Show of Shows, a family friendly feature length film composed of 11 new animated short films and four short documentaries (each under three minutes.) We have been funded primarily by sponsorship from major animation studios and through annual crowd sourced fundraising campaigns run at www.KickstartASOS.com.
Prior to the establishment of the ASOS not for profit, the ASOS was originally a side business activity of Acme Filmworks, Inc., a Los Angeles based commercial animation studio founded in 1990 by Ron Diamond with a particular focus on working with accomplished and refined artist animators from around the globe. Ron Diamond's presence at festivals was a means of promoting new Acme productions, discovering new talent and keeping in touch with the international animation community. The ASOS annually identified exemplary animated shorts and shared them primarily at major animation studios, media, tech and game companies, colleges and universities and at animation festivals and continues today releasing formidable compilations of animated shorts on DVD and for downloads at www.animationshowofshows.com.
"As the Animation World Network (www.awn.com) President and Co-Founder, I wanted to draw on my knowledge of animated shorts programming as a former producer of The International Tournée of Animation, The Animation Celebration and other successful theatrically released programs of animated shorts. I recognized a noticeable lack of distribution opportunities for animated shorts in the theatrical circuit, so I set out to curate a collection of new, significant, artistic and narrative shorts from those I had seen during the past year at major animation festivals. Initially, to avoid the complexities of distribution, I sought to screen films only at major animation studios, tech and game companies and animation schools and festivals. The goal was to expose what the next generation of animators were up to and to inspire new audiences to explore unexpected ideas. In 1999, I presented the first edition of The Animation Show of Shows, with the aim of showing the most original, funny, intelligent, and creatively charged animated short films from all over the world."
After curating and presenting 16 years of Animation Show of Shows, with Diamond personally presenting over 435 screenings, with no admission charged and a record 59 showings of The 16th Annual Animation Show of Shows, it was decided a change was necessary to broaden the reach of the show and to bring it to the general public around the world. The newly established Animation Show of Shows, Inc. ran successful Kickstarter campaigns to partially fund the theatrical release of The 17th, 18th and 19th Annual Animation Show of Shows. John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter wrote. "An exceptional program that starts off strong and only gets better as it goes, the 19th Annual Animation Show of Shows overflows with charm while containing more provocative observations about the nature of existence than most prestige feature films do. Animators both obscure and famous show their wares here, in a program paced beautifully by Ron Diamond, who decided in 2015 to open his annual best-of DVD collections up to theatrical booking. Anyone who attends this third event will hope it stays public for years to come." More press coverage can be read at Praise for the Show. The 19th Annual Animation Show of Shows has played in over 120 venues across the US and Canada including at the major animation studios, tech and game companies and dozens of universities and colleges worldwide.
I love this show! I attend several animation and film festivals, and for animated shorts this one is a far and away my favorite. I find the stories much more meaningful than shorts I see elsewhere. Jennifer Ballesteros, New York City, NY - August 2016
Since it's inception, the ASOS has scheduled a full week of screenings in the Los Angeles and in the Bay Areas at leading animation studios, media, tech and game companies, colleges and universities specifically with the intent to create a red carpet tour experience for the filmmakers whose films have been invited that year to be in the ASOS. Over the years, students, graduates and experienced directors come at their own expense from far and wide to join Ron Diamond and to participate in Q&A's at these screenings, to meet artists and executives and tour the studios from Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Portugal, Russia and the US with many of those films going onto receive Academy Award® nominations.
In his report to the Australian government for the funding of travel expenses, participating director, John Lewis wrote... Inclusion in Ron Diamond's Animation Show of Shows (ASOS) feels like one of the greatest honors and achievements our film could have received.  Far beyond inclusion in any festival or award (barring the Oscars® of course), inclusion in The Show is like being invited into an exclusive and discerning club. Unlike many, Ron puts his two cents down before a film receives it's accolades. He chooses the films he likes and thinks audiences should see. Attending the tour is an absolute must. Only then can a film maker truly appreciate the importance of this program. In just 2 weeks we had 24 screenings of our film, most of which included a Q&A. And we visited 16 companies and 6 schools. Ron kept us busy, but entertained. He takes good care of the film makers and ensures that the screenings and studio tours are rewarding. He even set up experiences, purely for the film-makers benefit, at places where there was no ASOS screening (like the Simpsons table read!) It was an experience unlike any other, unobtainable any other way.
The Animation Show of Shows was filled with great films, and provided the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the other film makers and bond over this thoroughly odd and unique experience. Our Animation Show of Shows tour was packed to the brim with industry and school screenings, meeting people, and touring behind the scenes of many companies. Having privileged access at so many places and chatting to both employers and employees, in such a short space of time, gave a unique perceptive into the different working environments and attitudes of these companies. The different schools provided a similar insight, which should prove invaluable for those of us who teach. The Show's curator and producer Ron Diamond knows a lot of people, and beyond the events and meetings in our schedule we were constantly approached out of the blue by some big names in the industry, and were running into people in hallways and cafeterias, (including Mr John Lasseter). Many of the highlights of the tour could not have been planned. You never knew who you might meet next. This is part of the world where there is a lot of film making history and where everything is happening. Everything seems connected, and it really does seem to be the land of opportunity. The tour puts film makers and their work in front of discerning industry professionals, and inclusion in the tour comes with a lot of respect from these people. It isn't appropriate in this context to push too hard to sell yourself and hit people up for jobs. As an included film maker, you and your work are already in the spotlight, and you find yourself  chatting to industry professionals on an equal level. Time will tell if any opportunities or collaborations arise as a result of these meetings and exposure, but the value of the experience is innate either way.
Ron Diamond is a real champion of the particular magic of the short animated film. His annual Animation Show of Show screenings are always stimulating. His selection criteria embrace both work of exquisite craftsmanship and the mould-breaking unexpected voices that shake up our art-form. Ruth Lingford, Harvard University - April 2013
Most of the world’s best and most evocative films will never be seen by the majority of people. 99.9%+ of one-off animated short films are not afforded promotional opportunities, they lack distribution, and rely on the unlikelihood of meaningful internet discovery. The ASOS has thus been committed for the past 19 years to present expertly curated screenings of select shorts.
These films are often fun and always engaging, and in many cases convey a diverse view of the world. Films in the 17th edition address contemporary issues such as environmental degradation, LGBT perspectives, bonding and loneliness, body image and objectification, and musings on distant future social relationships. The goal of ASOS has been to inspire unconventional thinking in the most influential visionaries of animated feature films and animation students. The ASOS has a long track record of screening shorts that go on to be nominated for Academy Awards® with 38 films getting subsequent nominations and ultimately 11 of those won the Oscar®.
The Animation Show of Shows, Inc. mission statement reads: to restore and preserve important animated short films; to identify and annually screen the world’s finest examples of animated shorts; to inspire and foster an appreciation for the animated short genre through on-going educational events and screenings; to promote equal access to and integration of diverse talent within the animation industry and the general public. We now seek funding to continue our support of unique artists and ensure the livelihood of an endangered art form through diverse distribution platforms.
The 17th Annual Animation Show of Shows' is One of the Most Profound Cinematic Experiences of 2015, constructed of 11 fantastic animated shorts showcasing a wide range of techniques within the medium’s spectrum, plus four documentary portraits  on selected filmmakers, this feature-length festival of wonder overflows with sublime craftsmanship - Carlos Aguilar, Indiewire 
In 2015, The 17th annual Animation Show of Shows was the first of its kind. It was presented in theaters for a broader audience to finally experience. Played in 50 theaters in five countries, as well as presented at 34 animation studios in addition to school and festival screenings. Even now the show continues its release in international markets. Moreover, the 17th ASOS has been translated into Arabic, Danish, French, Georgian, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese and also played in theaters in Egypt, Poland and South Africa and we are reaching out to theaters in many other countries.
Comprehensive distribution on multiple platforms takes time and this is the reason why the ASOS generally seeks exclusive global rights to films for a minimum of 10 years to fully release the program without the competition of free internet exposure. We always encourage the makers of films acquired for the ASOS to submit their films to appear in competition in legitimate international animation festivals to garner prizes and recognition and to edit a :20-:30 trailer to widely promote the film in pursuit of new work opportunities with a survey to aggregate contact and background information on interested professionals seeking a private screener to view the entire film.
We want the initial release of the films in the program to be special for our theatrical audiences and; hence most of the films are contracted on an exclusive basis, though we have made an exception for the use of our films in the Oscar® Shorts program that tours for the year following the announcement of the Oscar® nominations. Once the theatrical and non-theatrical releases are completed for each edition in each territory, we seek to exploit all manner of platforms to broadly release the full program and individual shorts that we have rights to on a worldwide basis. in 2016, The 18th Annual Animation Show of Shows opened to greater audience attendance with an increase to over 70 cinemas in North America. The show runs 102 minutes and features 17 films from 11 countries with seven of them directed by women. And in 2017, The 19th Annual Animation Show of Shows opened to greater audience attendance with an increase to over 120 locations in North America. The show runs 93 minutes and features 16 films from 8 countries with eight of them directed by women.
To differentiate the Animation Show of Shows from all historic compilation programs and to enrich the viewers understanding and enjoyment of the accompanying film, starting with The 17th Annual Animation Show of Shows, we have produced four original documentaries of approximately three minutes in length to follow the relevant film. The first four documentaries were shot under the supervision of professional documentary directors in Los Angeles, Dublin, Saint Petersburg and Tehran. And the 18th edition featured two documentaries, from Norway and Russia. These films show the filmmakers in their studios, homes, in their cities and give the viewer greater depth of understanding behind the short films, while emphasizing the considerable amount of time, effort, skill, artistry, maturity and personal connection between its maker and the subject of the film. Revealing these insights gives the audience a deeper appreciation for the challenges and struggles the filmmakers face in making their films.
The theaters are an important partner in our success. If the show could be entirely found online, no theater would book the show. As you are probably aware, a program like this is unusual. There are very few programs of shorts playing as a feature film in cinemas. We have invested heavily in making this show a success, and the cost of presenting it is beyond the means of most distributors. We need the flexibility to grow our audiences and earn that money back. But moreover, we truly want this to be a success for the benefit of not just the filmmakers, but for the audiences who rarely see shorts in cinemas.  We want to build a successful model for an annual release in cities around the world, and eventually, once an audience for this show is established, it will be easier to play each year in a given city. For now, we are making a huge effort to reach interested people and attract them to the cinemas around the world!
One of the things I love about animation is its heightened sense of reality. A medium of storytelling filtered through pure imagination, animation done right makes fantasy more fantastic, emotion more poignant and humanity more human. That sense is evident in every frame of the “17th Annual Animation Show of Shows” a curated collection of the year’s best work in animation shorts. Featuring submissions from all across the globe, the “Animation Show of Shows”  demonstrates that people really do have more commonalities than differences- Cameron Rasmusson, The Sandpoint Reader