"After more than a year of discussions with the ASIFA board, we have regretfully decided to withdraw from the organization and no longer participate in the annual Annie Awards," said Disney-Pixar president Ed Catmull. He continued, "We believe there is an issue with the way the Annies are judged, and have been seeking a mutually agreeable solution with the board. Although some initial steps have been taken, the board informed us that no further changes would be made to address our concerns."
Hit the jump to find out what has Disney so steamed.
The heart of the issue revolves around who is allowed to vote on the awards. Anyone who bought a membership in ASIFA was eligible to cast a ballot -- something Disney wanted to change. They contend only industry professionals should be allowed to vote in many of the categories. Those professionals should be approved by a governing board as well.
Disney contends that the voting body is skewed in favor of Dreamworks Animation, who give their new employees an ASIFA membership as soon as they're hired. As the Variety article points out, this hasn't hurt Pixar when it comes to winning awards at the event, but it is easy to see where they're coming from with their concern.
In ASIFA's defense, they have implemented the changes and are now an organization where industry professionals are the only ones allowed to vote (and they have to be approved before they can vote). Catmull, however, still isn't satisfied and has officially pulled Disney/Pixar endorsement for the time being. He wanted an advisory board with members from each studio on it who would recommend future rule changes to ASIFA. Apparently the organization felt that was more than was necessary. Hence the current impasse.
This doesn't mean Pixar and crew won't be represented at the event -- just that they won't be submitting as a company. Individual producers and animators can still submit their work personally.
What does this all mean? Basically even something as simple as cartoons aren't immune from politics. What do you think? Does Disney have a point or should they be happy that ASIFA has now moved toward being a fully professional organization when it comes to voting on the Annies?