ASIFA lost a dear and devoted friend when ASIFA-UK President and animation journalist and festival programmer Pat Raine Webb died Friday, December 5, from a sudden heart attack.ASIFA thanks Karl Cohen (president of ASIFA-SF) for the following article, and Vivien Halas for the accompanying photo.-Ray KosarinASIFA-East International Representative
Pat Raine Webb
PAT RAINE WEBB, PRESIDENT OF ASIFA-UKby Karl CohenPat was president of ASIFA-UK and was John Halas’ executive assistant when his studio Halas and Batchelor was in business. In recent years she has been a contributor to AWN.com, Animatoon, an excellent Korean magazine, and other publications. She served on several festival juries, was a freelance researcher and film programmer. She had a heart attack on a London bus. Margot Grimwood, Pat’s lifelong companion and soul mate was with her but, still, it was a rotten way to go.I knew her for almost 30-years from e-mails and, before that, through the use of old-fashioned mail written on paper. She wrote ASIFA-UK’s newsletter and we sometimes exchanged news items. She had dedicated much of her adult life to animation, including helping ASIFA grow. Since we had never met I wrote John Halas’ daughter and searched the web to find out what people who really knew her were saying:Vivien Halas wrote me, “Pat joined Halas & Batchelor in 1977 as my father’s assistant and, for the next 15 years, she helped him with work on productions such as The Wilhelm Busch Album and A Memory of Moholy Nagy. More importantly, she organized and dealt with the running of ASIFA while John was President (1976 to 1985) and, later, honorary president. In 1988 he sent her off to Zagreb to represent him. As far as I know, this was her introduction to the world of animation festivals, a world that she savored. Pat shared her knowledge of both films and filmmakers in the many articles she wrote, sharing with us her experience and views. Often, just by reading her reports, I felt as if I’d been there, met the people, seen the films, and eaten in the best bistro.”Pat knew so much about animation, was so supportive of the art, and so encouraging to young animators, that she will leave a black hole for the hundreds of film makers all over the world who knew and loved her. Her skill in choosing the best films and putting together great festivals was fantastic — matched only by her ‘joie de vivre.'”Seeing Pat and Margot at festivals had an iconic feel to it. If you saw their blond and red hair, then they were there, and you just knew that you would be in for a good time!”Richard Williams said, “Pat was a remarkable person — the most wonderful, warm-hearted and wise spirited woman. And we are stunned to think she will no longer be there to so generously cheer us along. We shall all miss her very much.”Joanna Quinn wrote, “Pat was a very special person and had friends all over the world. The last time I saw her she was dancing away with all the students at this year’s Bradford Animation festival — full of life and laughing. It’s hard to imagine we won’t see her face at festivals anymore. I loved her very much and she’ll be hugely missed. My thoughts are with Margot — I can only imagine how she must be feeling.”Barry Purves said, “Pat and Margot were a gloriously colourful double act at every animation event, supporting both us animators who’d been around the block, and encouraging and welcoming those new to this strange world. There was little Pat did not know about animation, and there were few people she did not know, and was happy to arrange introductions. A fantastic, lovely lady, a true friend, and a genuine original. She was very much the personal side of this industry.”Paul Glabicki wrote, “Ever since I met Pat Webb as a fellow juror at Hiroshima 92, we became instant friends. We communicated often, and her enthusiasm for the art of animation was constant and inspiring. Her kind spirit, intelligence, and sense of humor will be fondly remembered and impossible to replace.Ray Kosarin (ASIFA-East) called her, “Smart as can be, principled, refreshingly plainspoken, and a true ASIFA-ite. She held dear the best of animation’s and ASIFA’s heritage, and held the future no less dear. Her energy and resourcefulness were a real gift.”Condolences can be sent to Margot Grimwood at her London home: 94 Norton Gardens, Norbury, London SW16 4TA UK. Pat’s funeral is on Wednesday 17th December at 4pm. Brian Sibley and other friends of Pat and Margot are planning a memorial in January.
(l to r) Pat Raine Webb, Nancy Phelps, and Phil Mulloy