"Le Clown et ses Chiens", "Un Bon Bock" and "Pauvre Pierrot" were the first animated films to be screened before paying audiences. Emile Reynaud, the artist who invented the projector, did all the drawings and first screened them on 28 October 1892 in Paris. This date was chosen by ASIFA, the International Animated Film Society, for International Animation Day celebrations.
The first independent Hebrew animated film was created in the early 1930's by artist and caricaturist Arye Navon and produced by the Agadati brothers. The film "Gadi ben Susi", named after one of the 12 Biblical spies, depicts the imaginary adventures of a Yemenite man in Tel Aviv.
Yoram Gross, a young immigrant from Poland, provided most of Israel's animation needs in the 1950's and 60's — for advertising, educational films, promotional films and personal films. In 1962 he created the first feature length Israeli animated film for the cinema, "Joseph the Dreamer" a puppet film based on the Biblical story. The second animated feature, "Enchanted Amlash Forest" was directed by Shlomo Suriano and screened at international festivals in 1974.
The establishment of Israel's two television stations in the late 1960's brought about the opening of animation courses, the founding of studios, overseas studies, Ministry of Industry and Trade support for animation shorts and screSenings of Israeli animation at festivals around the world. Among the important developments of the 1980's were Sesame Street productions, Roni Oren's plasticine films, which were purchased by many television stations and the founding of ASIFA Israel.
Commercial television, cable and satellite broadcasting and the availability of graphic computers in the 1990's brought about an expansion of animation in Israel for the local and international markets. In 1992 Pitchi Poy Animation Productions in Jaffa (Noam Meshulam) created the first television series for adults — "The Shimshons" with the late Dudu Geva. Hanan Kaminski's 1995 feature "The Real Shlemiel" stood out among the international co-productions. Artists such as Gil Alkabetz, Orly Yadin and Uzi Geffenblad are among the highly respected independent artists abroad.
The greatest international successes of the 21st century are Ari Folman's animated documentary "Waltz with Bashir" (2008), Tatia Rosenthal and Etgar Keret's feature 19.99", feature length documentary "Magic Russica" by Jonathan and Masha Zur, Bezalel student films and music videos by Yuval and Merav Nathan. Israeli animation production in 2010 includes six feature films, television series for pre-schoolers, dozens of personal films, commercial work for overseas and more.
Norman McLaren, John Hubley and a number of other great artists in the world of animation founded ASIFA (Association Internationale du Film d'Animation) in France in 1960. Ever since, the association has played a central role in promoting animation throughout the world by aiding international events and cultivating ties among artists from around the world. ASIFA numbers over 5000 members in 58 countries.
ASIFA Israel was founded in 1985 and has organized dozens of lectures with artists from Israel and abroad, as well as film screenings, workshops, etc. Since 2000 the organization has been organizing ASIF - an annual celebration of the year's productions.
Animation Artist, History of Animation Expert Member of ASIFA International's Board of Directors