Pixar co-founder joins Boulder Digital Media Symposium


For anyone who has read the new Steve Jobs biography and enjoyed the stories of how he bought and changed the direction of Pixar, this Friday’s Digital Media Symposium, or DiMe, should be a real treat.

This year’s keynoter is Dr. Alvy Ray Smith, a co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios. A computer graphics pioneer and two-time Academy Award winner, Smith joins a great lineup of other speakers for the annual Boulder event, whichs runs 1 to 6 p.m. at the St. Julien Hotel.

DiMe seems to be getting better each year, with other scheduled speakers including Boulder entrepreneur Paul Berberian, CEO of Orbotix, a new startup that’s created Sphero, a robotic ball you control from your smartphone; Ben Long, founder of Noise Buffet and 123GuitarTuner.com; and Carla Johnson, CEO of EarthvisionZ, a Boulder company creating interactive 3D geospatial platforms.

The list of speakers goes on with Harris Morris, president of Harris Broadcast Communications; Andres Espineira, CEO, and Melissa Hourigan, v.p. of marketing for Pixorial; Rob Schuham, co-founder of FearLess Revolution; J. Erik Dyce, CEO of In Demand Bands; Micah Baldwin, CEO of Graphicly, another Boulder startup that’s brought the printed world of comics online; and Joel Swanson of the University of Colorado/Boulder.

Returning as moderator again this year is Don Hahn, producer of the animated feature films “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and others.

In 2006, when Disney purchased Pixar in an all-stock transaction worth $7.4 billion, Steve Jobs became the Disney Company’s single largest shareholder, owning about 7 percent of the company. I would be surprised if there wasn’t some discussion of Jobs’ history at Pixar at DiMe.

DiMe really is part of the kickoff of the 2012 Boulder International Film Festival, which runs Thursday, Feb. 16 through Sunday, Feb. 19. If you don’t live in Boulder, BIFF is the perfect reason to come up to the city this coming weekend and catch some of the movies as well as conversations with the directors, producers and actors.

Advance tickets for DiMe are $50 or $40 for students with ID. Tickets will be available at the door of the symposium for $65 so make your reservations now! DiMe as well as the Film Festival really are highlight events of the year here in Boulder, and when I realized I had booked a trip to Arizona on the same weekend, I was really disappointed. I’ve attended and reported on the DiMe for the past two years, and always run into a lot of Boulder friends at the different events.

So go and enjoy both DiMe and the films at BIFF this year for me! I’ll just have to settle for the reviews.

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