AGBU Silicon Valley Kids’ Club Goes Behind the Scenes at Pixar Studios

On February 29, 2008, the AGBU Silicon Valley Kids’ Club had the unique
opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the popular Pixar
animation studio. Well known for its hi-tech computer animation, Pixar
is famous for such hit movies as “Ratatouille,” “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s
Life,” “Monster, Inc.” and “The Incredibles.”
Longtime Pixar producer Katherine Sarafian led the tour and shared her
insight into the workings of one of the world’s leading animation
studios. Sarafian’s latest professional work includes the Academy
Award-nominated short film, “Lifted.” She also serves on the boards of
Lunafest, honoring women in film, and the San Francisco Armenian Film
Festival. A native of Oakland, California, Sarafian is closely tied to
the Armenian-American community and was an active member of AGBU Young
Professionals of Northern California for years.
While touring Pixar studios, the members of the Kids Club learned about
the sophistication of clay animation, the jargon associated with working
in the field, and the amount of time required to produce sophisticated
features.
“Katherine explained that during an animation movie you have to create
every detail, every shadow, every character,” said 10-year-old Kids’
Club member Christina Cherekdjian. “It’s as if you have a blank sheet of
paper to draw on when you start.”
After learning about the various roles of script writers, directors,
producers, set designers and artists, the visitors were treated to the
screening of several Pixar movie clips.
Other recent activities of the Silicon Valley Kids’ Club, which was
established in May 2006, have included a tour of Stanford University
organized by the college’s Armenian Students Association (ASA),
interactive science experiments taught by scientist Anahit Yeramian, a
trip to the Marine Reserve and a visit to San Francisco’s Exploratorium
Museum of Science and Art. In October, the club also had a sleepover at
the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Participants highlighted feeding the sting
rays and sleeping next to the shark tanks as their best memories from
this unique “underwater” visit. Last December, the Silicon Valley Kids’
Club also had the unique opportunity to host their peers from Armenia’s
AGBU Nork Children’s Center, who came to perform in Northern California.
“The greatest thing about the AGBU Kids’ Club is that every time we
visit a new place, there is always someone Armenian working there and
helping us learn,” Cherekdjian says.
“Our focus all along has been to connect Armenian kids with each other
and with key Armenian-American professionals,” said Yervant Zorian, AGBU
Silicon Valley chairman. “Under the AGBU Kids’ Club umbrella, children
will flourish and form lifelong relationships, become knowledgeable
Armenians, and turn into good Armenian parents active in their
communities and valuable contributors to our nation.”
AGBU Silicon Valley Kids’ Club is dedicated to programs for
Armenian-American children between the ages of six and twelve. Its
mission is to connect youth to their heritage and culture through
enjoyable educational activities. Monthly gatherings include learning
games, field trips, and pen pal communication with children in Armenia.
The Kids Club’s next monthly meeting will be held on April 26 at St.
Andrew’s Church in Cupertino, California for a “Walk Through
20th-Century Armenian History.” For more information, email
agbukidsclub@gmail.com.

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