It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Gary Leib, long-time member of the FilmColumbia family, and co-creator of FC favorite, “Animation for Grownups.”
Gary was the animator for American Splendor, directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pucini, which was screened at FilmColumbia in 2003. A few years later, Gary took part in an animation panel at FilmColumbia. He was so taken with the Crandell Theatre and the vibe of the area that he and his wife Judy Glantzman first rented, then bought a second home nearby.
After the panel that year, FilmColumbia Festival Director Calliope Nicholas proposed that Gary put together an animation program. He jumped on the opportunity enthusiastically, but with a warning – it wouldn’t be suitable for kids. His idea was to show the best and wildest of cutting edge animation shorts from all around the world. Together, Gary and Calliope came up with “Animation for Grownups” in 2006. Gary curated the program each year, all the way through 2019, and it became an audience favorite at FilmColumbia.
Gary loved bringing his animator friends to FilmColumbia, introducing their films, and running the Q&A after the screening. He made sure that everyone had a FC swag bag on their shoulder while walking around Main Street, or enjoying drinks and conversation with fans at the pub. One year, Gary was honored at an animator’s film festival in Europe during FC, so he could not attend, but he still put together the program, and arranged for one of his friends to be the master of ceremony for the program.
Gary was a warm, wryly funny person, and a very generous soul. His presence will be sorely missed at FilmColumbia.