Phil Roman receives Life Achievement Award at ItaliANimation Night


Thursday, August 30, 2012—Cinema Without Borders and the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, in collaboration with Art Institute of California-Los Angeles, celebrated a night of animation film screenings and tributes to animation filmmakers. The evening’s guest of honor was world renowned animator Phil Roman (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, “Tom and Jerry”, “Garfield and Friends”).

After a lively reception, with guests enjoying Italian food and wine, everyone gathered into the Italian Cultural Institute’s Theater.  Alberto Di Mauro, Director of Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, opened the evening by welcoming a full house and introducing Mike Libonati, Chair of Animation Arts at the Art Institute of California-Los Angeles, who introduced the students’ animated short films. Following the screening of the student films, The Auction, an animated short film by an alumnus of the Art Institute of California – Los Angeles students, the Italian/American animator Carlo Sansonetti, was screened.  Carlo addressed the audience after screening of his work.

The next section was dedicated to showing the animation work by Italian/American animator, artist Cinzia Angelini.  Alberto Di Mauro presented a diploma of honor and a prize provided by SideEffects (A “Houdini” package with a value of $2000) to Cinzia Angelini.
Ron Diamond introduced the short Italian Animation films that he had carefully selected for screening at ItaliAnimation night.  The following films were presented to the audience:
La Pista by Gianluigi Toccafondo & Simona Mulazzani
La Memoria dei Cani by Simone Massi
Le Foto Dello Scandalo by Daniele Lunghini
The Da Vinci Time Code by Gil Alkabetz
Topo Glassato Al Cioccolato by Donato Sansone

The highlight of the night was the presentation of the Cinema Without Borders/Italian Cultural Institute Life Achievement Award to Mr. Phil Roman, a legendary filmmaker and producer in the field of animation. 

Sarah Baisley, a longtime friend and associate of Mr. Roman, introduced him to the audience with a number of personal anecdotes, and then Bijan Tehrani, Editor in Chief of Cinema Without Borders called Mr. Phil Roman on stage to receive the award. Mr. Roman received a rousing, standing ovation from the packed theater before giving a touching, detailed account of his resilience, hard work, and unique opportunities that brought him into success in the animation realm.

Carlo Sansonetti
An Italian native, Carlo Sansonetti studied Computer Science at the Politecnico di Bari. Following his dream, he decided to move to the U.S. to study and work as a CG artist. In the past eight years Carlo has worked on several projects as a rigger including Scary Movie 3 and on the National Geographic documentary Fight Science. More recently he completed work as a rigger on the next generation game titles Ratatouille, Walle and Up for Heavy Iron Studios. In his spare time, Carlo taught and produced 2 Rigging DVDs at Gnomon School of Visual Effects and created the award-winning animated short film The Auction.

Cinzia Angelini
In the field of animation for the last eighteen years, Cinzia Angelini has worked as an animator in productions involving traditional as well as computer animation. Her work on features ranges from films “Balto” (Amblimation), “Prince of Egypt”, “Eldorado”, “Spirit” and “Sinbad” (Dreamworks), to “Spider-man 2” (“Best Visual Effects” Oscar Winner, 2004) and “Open Season” (Sony Imageworks), “Meet  the Robinsons” and “Bolt” (Walt Disney Animation Studios).
Cinzia’s work also includes the DVD specials “How to Train your Dragon” and “Kung Fu Panda2” at Duncan Studio, “Mila,” an independent CG animated short she is directing, and, as head of story, the development of the first animated feature for Divide Nine Animation Studios. She recently worked as a CG animator on the “Despicable Me” Theme Park project for Universal. Cinzia is currently working as a story artist for Rollman Entertainment and Warner Bros Animation.

Mike Libonati:
Academic Director of the Media Arts & Animation and Visual Effects & Motion Graphics programs at The Art Institute of California, Los Angeles. He is a 2d/3d artist who has worked on projects in development at various studios in Los Angeles.   Mike Libonati is involved in architecture and is also currently working on design rendering on a number of projects both in the U.S. and abroad.

Ron Diamond
Acme Filmworks Executive Producer Ron Diamond travels the world’s leading animation festivals searching for artistic, inventive and unique directors. For over 21 years Acme has produced projects with 50 award winning directors from 24 countries including noted directors Ridley Scott and Tony Scott’s enigmatic company logo that adorns all Scott Free Productions.

Sarah Baisley
Previously editor in chief of Animation Magazine for five years, she is a specialist in animation publicity and journalism and is freelancing now in the wine industry as a journalist and marketing specialist. She headed publicity at Hanna-Barbara, Ruby-Spears, Southern Star and Film Roman studios during the previous 17 years of her career. She served as editor in chief of AWN, 2003 to 2007. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and frequently moderates panels concerning topics about the animation and visual effects industries.



Italian Cultural Institute
The Italian Cultural Institute (IIC) was established in 1984 by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its building, designed by Richard Neutra’s partner Robert Alexander, houses an art gallery, a theater for screenings, lectures, and concerts, as well as a library with over 6000 volumes open to the public. Events in collaboration with numerous local institutions are organized to give a lively image of contemporary Italy in visual arts, architecture and design, music, cinema and theater, literature, science, fashion, and gastronomy. Director: Alberto Di Mauro

Cinema Without Borders Foundation:
Cinema Without Borders Foundation supports international and independent films and filmmakers and other related arts and artist by promoting and introducing artists and their creations through Cinema Without Borders ( on-line magazine, and by granting awards, organizing festivals, competitions, seminars, events and participating in existing festivals and events.

The Art Institute of California — Los Angeles
The Art Institute of California — Los Angeles, a campus of Argosy University, is one of The Art Institutes (, a system of over 50 schools located throughout North America. The Art Institutes provide an important source of education for design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals. Several institutions of The Art Institutes system are campuses of South University or Argosy University.

Photos by: Maya Hooshivar (CWB), Francesca Castro (CWB) and courtesy of Ola Tsilindz & Atil Inac.



About Author

Luz Aguado

Luz Aguado was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and grew up in East Los Angeles. She is the oldest of four siblings. Prior to attending The Art Institute, Luz was a student at the University of California Riverside where she studied biology and aspired to become a medical doctor. Now she studies Media Arts and Animation at The Art Institute of Los Angeles and hopes of one day having the opportunity to work for Disney Animation Studios. Three dimensional animation and the innovative techniques that have given animation a more realistic appearance is something that she wishes to focus on while at The Art Institute.

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