Mikey Siegel - The MIT’s Social Robots

Mikey Siegel from MIT, Boston will come to FFF2009 to introduce Nexi, a robot with human-like facial expressions, created on the basis of the Mobile Dexterous Social (MDS) robot platform currently being developed at the MIT Media Lab’s Personal Robots Group. The purpose of the platform is to study teaming, and social learning in human-robot interaction. Nexi’s main characteristic is that it is able to proficiently communicate with humans using a wide range of facial expressions.

Mikey Siegel graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BS in Computer Engineering. His undergraduate interests included multi-robot path planning and sensor systems. In a program at the NASA Ames Research Center, he worked on various aspects of human-robot interaction (HRI) operating system and a high-resolution panoramic imaging system (GigaPan). He has recently graduated with a Masters degree from the MIT Media Lab,
Personal Robots Group. Currently he is a researcher at the MIT Media Lab.

Doug Sweetland – Pixar Animation Studios: PRESTO, BURN.E, WALL.E

Pixar Animation Studios are back at the FFF! Doug Sweetland will present their new short Burn.E, as an Italian preview, and the making the movie of Pixar’s latest feature film Wall.E, together with Presto! the short that has accompanied Wall.E in theatres.

Doug Sweetland joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1994 to work on Toy Story as an animator. He served as a directing animator on Monsters, Inc. (2001), and as a storyboard artist for the Academy Award-winning feature, The Incredibles (2004). He also served as writer and director for Presto! (2008).

Leslie Iwerks and Mike Iwerks – Tribute to Ub Iwerks

FFF2009 pays a tribute to Ub Iwerks (1901-1971), a key figure in animation history. He is famous above all for creating, together with Walt Disney, the Mickey Mouse character, but he is the creator of a lot of unforgettable characters too, as Flip the Frog, Willy Whopper and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. His extraordinary story will be told at the festival by his grandaughter Leslie Iwerks and his grandson, Mike Iwerks Digital Media Designer for Walt Disney Imagineering’s Theme Park Productions.

Leslie Iwerks. After graduating the USC Cinema School in 1993, Iwerks assisted several directors on films including Liar Liar and Mighty Ducks 2. In 1999, she wrote and directed the documentary The Hand Behind the Mouse – The Ub Iwerks Story on the life of her grandfather, the original designer and co-creator of Mickey Mouse. Her documentary short film, Recycled Life, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006. Her most recent film is The Pixar Story (2007).

Mike Iwerks. Digital Media Designer for Walt Disney Imagineering’s Theme Park Productions, Mike Iwerks is responsible for producing experiences which engage internal and external audiences through video editing and content creation. In January 2005, Iwerks began working for Walt Disney Imagineering. In doing so, he became the 4th generation from the Iwerks family to work for The Walt Disney Company, beginning with his Oscar winning great-grandfather Ub Iwerks.

Steve Chapman - Gentle Giant Studios

Gentle Giant Studios (California), has been making mock-ups for the major production companies for over ten years. Specialising in the making of prototypes, digital models, sculptures and paintings of models, Gentle Giant Studios has worked on most films for most studios with special effects or 3D animation. Vice-president of technology department, Steve Chapman will come to the FFF2009 to present to the public a ‘behind the scenes’ of GGS works: digital maquettes, physical and dynamic models, digital and set scans, objects, human heads and bodies, 3D models from designs and 2D concepts.

Steve Chapman designed, built, and programmed human body and 3D object scanners used to make the VFX in Star Wars, Harry Potter, Xmen. His software developments have been used in the creation of animation models for Pixar cartoons, and his camera control technology helped make films like Farewell Atlantis, Demons, Shutter Island, and The Fast and The Furious.

Kensuke Suzuki – Nobuo Nakagawa, Master of Horror

FFF2009 is glad to announce the presence of director Kensuke Suzuki, at the occasion of the homage to Nobuo Nakagawa, the master of Japanese horror. Kensuke Suzuki, friend as well as Nagakawa’s assistant, serves now as director of the Japanese Association of Directors. Suzuki will introduce Nakagawa’s film sto the FFF audience, and will take part to a meeting dedicated to Japanese horror.

Kensuke Suzuki was born in Tokyo in 1939. He attended a directing course and graduated in cinema in 1963 when he starter working freelance in television. In 1965 he was employed as director’s assistant on a TV series directed by Nobuo Nakagawa: this was the beginning of a friendship that would last until the director’s death. In 1970 he had his debut as director of a TV documentary, and in 1982 worked with Nakagawa as assistant director on The Living Koheiji. In 1983 he began working on a programme for the blind for Nippon Television, which comments on and explains the scenes of TV shows.

Dave Filoni – Star Wars. The Clone Wars

FFF, in collaboration with Cartoon Network, will host the Italian preview of Star Wars: the Clone Wars, the TV series of Star Wars produced by Lucasfilm Animation. The series will be presented at the Festival by Dave Filoni, who directed not only the series, but also the omonimous cinematographic animation prequel.
Dave Filoni grew up in Mt. Lebanon, the south-west suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1999, he began working in the field of animation, drawing storyboards such as Mission Hill, Teamo Supremo. In 2005, he made his debut as director of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. George Lucas noticed him and contacted him to work on a few episodes of the series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.


Fabio La Fauci (1977, Milano) and Daniele Sigalot (1976, Roma) met in the year 2000 in the Italian Saatchi & Saatchi headquarters. In Barcelona in 2004 they created, almost by accident “Le scoraggianti avventure di Blue and Joy (Blue and Joy discouraging adventures)”. It was published less than a year later by the Really Mean Corporation, their first book Desideri Esauriti (Exhausted Desires) came out in 2005 in the puppets’ city of birth where their first daunting exhibition was launched. Since then there have been 10 others including in Milan, Ibiza, Rome, London, Florence and Paris. The first Blue & Joy gadgets are created like that and the new work, Sognate con prudenza (Please, be careful when dreaming), is now ready for launch. But the most difficult challenge is about to begin: an animated version of Blue & Joy is being developed.

Enrico Valenza – Blender. Big Buck Bunny

Blender is an open-source software for 3D animation. Users of this software made up a community working on individual projects just like a real production company. That is what happened on Big Buck Bunny, the new and second short made using Blender, using only open source resources. The project will be presented at the Festival by Italian illustrator Enrico Valenza.

Enrico Valenzawas born 46 years ago in Palermo, he now lives in Verona. He has been working as a freelance illustrator for over twenty years, at first with traditional techniques on paper and for the last ten years also using computer graphics, exclusively with open-source software, in particular Blender and The Gimp. In 2005 he won the Blender’s Suzanne Award in the Best Animation, original idea and story category, with the animation New Penguoen 2.38. In 2006 he collaborated on the finalization of the scenes for the first open project of the Blender Foundation, the short film Elephants Dream, made completely using open-source software. In 2007 he was the Lead Artist for the Peach Team in the production of the second open project, the short film Big Buck Bunny.

Bruno Bozzetto – PsicoVip

FFF2009 is proud to host the preview of PsicoVip, by Bruno Bozzetto, a brand new 3D series featuring the famous characters Minivip and Supervip, based on the animated film Vip, Mio Fratello Superuomo.
Bruno Bozzetto (Milan, 1938) created his first animated short “Tapum, the weapons’ history” back in 1958 at the age of 20.
In 1960 the Bruno Bozzetto Film Company was established in Milan broadening his activity to advertising.
One of Bozzetto’s most famous creations was the character known as “Mr Rossi” who was the protagonist of many animated short films and three feature films destined to both TV and cinema.
In 1965, Bruno Bozzetto created and produced the animated feature film “West and Soda” followed by “Vip my brother superman” (1968) and by “Allegro non Troppo” (1976), the Italian answer to the famous “Fantasia” by Walt Disney. Bozzetto has often been working with Piero Angela, a famous Italian TV personality hosting scientific programs, and he delivered about 100 shorts belonging to the scientific TV show “QUARK”, and they are still keeping this collaboration alive.

Dadomani, Maga, Franco Valenziano - Italiani@FFF

The Future Film Festival continues to direct its attention towards Italy, and it does so by inviting two companies and one professional who work in the field of visual effects for feature films. Maga Animation Studios, Dadomani and Franco Valenziano are guests at the 2009 edition of the festival, guests called to the festival to review the state of the art of animation for TV series from Bruno Bozzetto’s latest work to visual effects and experimental animation for TV credits.

Dadomani was founded in Milan, in October 2007 when Francesco De Meo, Fabio Cirilli, Donato Di Carlo and Leonardo Ponzano first met. Four people connected by the same ambition: creating a single workgroup which, with a mixture of different technical and artistic skills, would guarantee any communication requirement within the animation field.

Maga concentrates on two separate fields: one of providing facilities and acting as a production company for animation projects for television, advertising and the cinema and one of experimentation and artistic research, with special attention dedicated to 3D and 2D animation, cut-out and decoupage, flash and mixed techniques. With the master Bruno Bozzetto, Maga is in production on the new 3D series, Psicovip, with the famous Bruno’s characters Minivip and Supervip, comes from the original director’s feature film, Vip, mio fratello superuomo.

Franco Valenziano began his career in the field of 3D animation at the beginning of the 90s. Visual effects supervisor, independent expert consultant on new digital technologies and 3D Computer Graphics for the cinema, advertising, television, animation, events and theme parks, Valenziano has worked on various television programmes and film productions.

Antonio Rollo – Future Web Festival

Antonio Rollo. Digital artist, theoretician of new media and strategic consultant, Antonio Rollo has turned the computer into an instrument for work and life. In 1995 he was part of the collection of the Modern Art Gallery in Turin with the first work of acquired computer graphics. In 1999, with Sebastiano Vitale and Luca Barbeni, he created the group 80/81 for the design of an on-line island where digital environments modelled on new dynamics of representation can be explored. The project Island.8081 (www.8081.com) continues to receive public and critical acclaim. In 2007 Bruce Sterling mentioned it among the ten Italian Net-Art sites.

Suzanne Ryan / Valérie Schermann - Workshop Emilia-Romagna Regione Animata

Suzanne Ryan, CEO, SLR Productions
Suzanne Ryan is an Emmy Award-winning Executive Producer and CEO for SRL, the society that she founded in 2003. She is now the co-owner of the company together with South Pacific Pictures, a Neo Zealander production company.
Suzanne began her carrier as journalist for the Australian Prime Television, before starting to work for Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime animation company.
Suzanne has more than 13 years of experience in the animation field and television. She is Animation and New Media Councilor for the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA). She is also a promoter of Australian Children’s Producers Community and Australian Animation and Television industry.

Valérie Schermann, Prima Linea Productions

Prima Linea Productions was founded in 1995 by Valérie Schermann and Christophe Jankovic. The aim of the company is the production of audiovisual projects, such as advertisments, TV and Web programs, short films and features. Their experience is very rich, including traditional animation, 2D vector animation, various kinds of 3D animation, and Web animation. In order to maintain its freedom, Prima Linea Productions is not tied to any animation studio and chooses the staff for each project. Among their la test productions are Peur(s) du noir - (Fear(s) of the Dark), U, Loulou et autres loups - Loulou and other wolves.