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Midday Movies: Spike And Mike’s 30th Anniversary Festival Of Animation Extravaganza

Not Sick And Twisted Just Award-Winning And Spectacular

Damian Nenow's

Credit: Damian Nenow

Above: Damian Nenow's "Paths of Hate" won best film award at Comic-Con and special distinction at Annecy 2011. It screens as part of SPike and Mike's 30th Anniversary special.


Craig “Spike” Decker, Festival Founder and Director

Joan Gratz, Filmmaker, "Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase"


Whenever you see a festival branded with the names "Spike and Mike," you can be assured that there will be something to dazzle the senses. Spike and Mike’s 30th Anniversary Festival of Animation Extravaganza kicks off this Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla.

Spike and Mike (Craig "Spike" Decker and the late Mike Gribble) have been bringing amazing, outrageous, and technically impressive animation to San Diego since 1977. So when you see their name on a festival you know you are in for a treat. They initially gained fame by pushing the envelope with their Sick and Twisted programs of the 1990s. But for this anniversary edition they return to their roots and to animated films that are more notable for their artistry than their raunchiness or extreme attitudes.

Here is Joan Gratz's 1992 Oscar-winning animation, "Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase," one of the films screening at the festival.

Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase

Joan Gratz's animated film "Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase"

An accomplished director, artist, and animator, Gratz pioneered the animation technique known as claypainting in which she works with bits of clay that she then blends with colors and etches fine lines to create a seamless flow of images. Gratz’s latest short, "Puffer Girl," moves into the digital realm incorporating photography, Photoshop and AfterEffects with her claypainting.

This latest festival of animation culls films from Spike and Mike's award winning and most popular shorts drom their 30 year history, including more than 10 Academy Award Winners or Nominees. This is a family friendly program that includes such delights as Nick Park's "Creature Comforts" and the classic "Bambi Meets Godzilla."

Special festival guests include: David Silverman (director and producer of "The Simpsons" and "The Simpsons Movie") on February 9th and 10th. He is also a 2013 Oscar Nominee in the Best Short Animation category; and Rich Moore (2013 Oscar-nominated director of Walt Disney's "Wreck-it Ralph") on March 1st and 2nd.

Spike and Mike’s 30th Anniversary Festival of Animation Extravaganza runs February 9th through March 30th at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla. You can get ticket information at the Spike and Mike website.

You can listen to Beth Accomando's earlier interview with Spike here.

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