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Debra Solomon

Animator, Director
debrasolomon.com
212 619 7900
917 399 7774
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Debra Solomon has been making animated films since 1995. A N.Y.F.A fellow and Jerome recipient, her films have won awards at festivals around the world, including a Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale, Best Soundtrack in Annecy, and a Special Jury Award at the World Animation Festival. Her films are also showcased in the Met Museum and MOMA's collections. In 2001, Debra helped create the Disney Channel's first hit show, Lizzie McGuire designing the animated Lizzie and acting as animation director for the series and movie adaptation. Her film Getting Over Him in 8 Songs or Less, begun as indie shorts was adapted and featured on HBO. Debra completed her latest animated short, My Kingdom, a comedic mediation on personal space.



Filmography 

2015- Preproduction – My Sisters?

2014 – 2015 commercials made with the Productive for Con Edison and Almond joy

2014 - Signal film for ASIFA East

2013 - 2014 “My Kingdom” - animated short with Jane Curtin

  • Woodstock Film Festival | Woodstock, NY Best Animated short
  • The Blue Sky International Animation Festival | Wooster, OH
  • Florida Film Festival | Maitland, FL
  • Big Muddy Film Festival | Carbondale, IL
  • Queens World Film Festival | Jackson Heights, NY
  • Tally Shorts Fillm Festival, Tallahasse | FL
  • Oporto International -Fantasporto’2015Film Festival | Porto, Portugal
  • Independent Days Film Festival | Karlsruch, Germany
  • Claremont 5 Second Film Festival | Claremont, CA
  • Hamptons Film Festival | New York, NY
  • ReAnimania Festival | Yerevan, Armenia
  • Ojai Film Festival | Ojai, CA
  • Cucalorus Film Fest | Wilmington NC
  • Palm Springs International ShortFest | Palm Springs, CA

2010-2011  “Getting over Him in 8 Songs or Less” - a half hour animated musical for HBO, originally created as an independent 3-part series, with an additional 5 songs commissioned by HBO.

  • - Stuttgart Int’l Animation Festival
  • - San Luis Obispo Festival
  • - Steve Allen Theater screening with Jerry Beck

2010 Animated title sequence for “Running Wilde for Fox”

2009 “Drugstore” – an independent animated short film

2008 “Teach Me to be a Woman” - an independent animated short film

2007 “I Wanna Know Everyone in My Building” - an independent animated short film

2006-09 Freelance Animation /Illustration; Teaching at School of Visual Arts

2005  “Stevie Sanchez”  - Directed and created pilot for The Disney Channel

2004 Animated film for “The Blind Men and the Elephant” - with Chris Rock and Joseph Mantegna, opening film for the Emmy & Peabody Award Winning HBO Family Special. ASIFA  East  Animation Award - Best Commercial Film

2004  “Get out the Women’s Vote” - film for the swing states, created for   NARAL

2004 “Super Lambert”  - created animated short created for Disney

2002-03  “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” -  Director of animation and creator of the animated title sequence for the theatrical release , Disney

2000-2002  “Lizzie McGuire” -  Disney Family Channel;  created the character of animated Lizzie;  designed and directed animation for the prime time live action show for the Disney Family Channel; supervising director and consultant for sixty-five episodes of the series.

2001 Private Eye Princess, Created and Executive Producer half hour special for the Cartoon Network

1999 Nikki Creator and Executive Producer. Short for Cartoon Network

1998 UNICEF 51 Anniversary - animated Halloween campaign with Meg Ryan; Created and Executive Producer

1998 “The Parable of the Clown “ Creator and Executive Producer; with   Geoffrey Holder Mary Tyler Moore , Jackie Mason HBO, opening film for the Emmy Award winning Rosie O’Donnell show, “Kids are Punny” Asifa East Best Entry in Commercial Films

1998 “Everybody’s Pregnant” - Creator and Executive Producer

  • World Animation Festival, Special Jury Award
  • New Directors New Films Series, Museum of Modern Art
  • Santa Barbara International film Festival, The Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animated Short
  • Aspen Short Film Festival, Special Jury Award
  • New Haven Film Festival, First Place Audience Award
  • Sydney Film Festival, First Place Short Film Category
  • Palm Springs Film Festival, First Place Audience Award
  • Russian Film Fest, Animation Recognition Award
  • I Castellli Animati ,Special Jury Award
  • ASIFA East, Best Film
  • New York Shorts Film Festival, Best Animated Short Film
  • Greece International Film Festival, Best Film Dionysos Award
  • Tampere Animation Festival
  • Annecy Animation Festival
  • Newport Film Festival Anniversary
  • St. Petersburg Festival
  • Atlanta Film Festival
  • BBC Film Short Film Festival,
  • Norwegian Film Festival
  • Melbourne
  • St. Petersburg
  • Anima Mundi Brazil
  • Sao Paulo Short Film Festival
  • Short Film Festival of Drama, Greece
  • Ottawa Animation Festival Directors Choice
  • Bumpershoot Festival
  • Filmfest Hamburg
  • Sitges Festival, Spain
  • Vevey Film Festival
  • Leipsig Film Festival
  • Mendrisio Cartoon Festival
  • X Ground Festival
  • Channel Four Television
  • Yleisradio Oy (Finnish Broadcasting)
  • Telepiu (Pay TV-Italy, Switzerland, Montecarlo)
  • SBS TV (Australia) Danish Library Centre
  • Normal Ohio Film Festival
  • Canal Plus Television France
  • Oxygene Media                                                                                                                        
  • Irish Film festival
  • Danmarks TV, Denmark
  • Regensburger Short Film Week
  • Asbury Short Film Festival
  • Woodstock Festival
  • New York Short Film Festival
  • Best of 20 years of Asbury Short Films

1997  UNICEF 50th Anniversary Spot - animated Halloween campaign with Brandy; Created and Executive Producer

1997 How Do You Spell God?  “The Parable of the Clown” animation

  • ASIFA East  Animation Award Best Commercial Film

1994  Mrs. Matisse (first animated film)

  • Annecy Film Festival  Best Sound Track  
  • Asifa East Best Entry 1995
  • La Biennale Di Venezia  Giovani Leoni Prize, 1994 Special Jury Award
  • New York Film Festival (Shown Opening day of festival)
  • Anima Mundi 1996
  • Autennacinematv Film Festival
  • Brisbane Film Festival
  • Cardiff Film Festival
  • Cartoombria Film Festival
  • Dublin Film Festival
  • Goteborg Film Festival
  • Kiev Film Festival
  • Kilbride Film Festival
  • London Film Festival
  • Mendrisio Film Festival
  • Minsk Film Festival
  • Ottawa Film Festival
  • Oxfordshire Film Festival
  • Sitges Film Festival
  • St.Petersburg Film Festival
  • Channel Four Television
  • Yleisradio Oy (Finnish Broadcasting)
  • Telepiu (Pay TV-Italy,Switzerland,Montecarlo)
  • SBS TV (Australia)
  • Canal Plus Television (France)
  • WGBH Boston
  • Jacob Burns Center
  • Danish Library Centre
  • Normal Ohio Film Festival
  • Museum of Fine Arts Boston First Night Celebration 1996
  • Pay TV Canada
  • Museum of Modern Art  Film and Video Collection
  • Vevey Film Festival
  • Channel Four Television
  • Vevey Film Festival
  • Leipsig Film Festival

 

Other Film Production

1994 Animated short for Palms West Hospital

1994  Animated Spots for Procter&Gamble

1999 Freelance development consultant MTV

1996 Animated short for PBS show Vote For Me

Grants Awarded

1995 Jerome Foundation Film Grant for “Everybody’s Pregnant”

2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Grant and Fellow in film




Full Biography 

Debra Solomon has created award winning animation since 1995, starting with her independent film, “Mrs. Matisse,” that won the Silver Lion Award at the Venice Biennale. This debut film was screened as part of the opening day program at The New York Film Festival and is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Film Collection.

“Everybody’s Pregnant,” Solomon’s second animated indie film, established her globally as a visionary filmmaker, winning eleven prestigious awards, including the World Animation Festival’s Special Jury Award. Screened in over fifty festivals worldwide, it appeared in the Museum of Modern Art’s New Directors New Films and was added to the museum’s permanent film and video collection. To complete this film, Solomon received a Jerome Foundation Film Production Grant. Film critic Molly Haskell called this film “a little masterpiece of gallows humor.”

Key to all of Solomon’s independent and commercially animated productions is her keen ability to weave original sound and visuals into captivating storylines. She borrows from personal details, finding humor in life’s struggles and creating narratives that diverse audiences easily relate to. She composes and performs original music and lyrics for all of her films and creates original backgrounds for most of her work.

In 2000, Solomon was approached by producer Stan Rogow to design Lizzie McGuire’s alter ego. She had just completed a short for Cartoon Network called Nikki, in which the tween heroine Nikki’s interior world formed the backdrop for the action. For Solomon “emotional reality is the basis of her humor’ that, she says, and the element of surprise” became the foundation for the animated Lizzie. 

Solomon’s creative collaboration on “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” included table sessions with the comedy writers and the director Jim Fall. When reviewing the film, Walter Kerr stated, “The Lizzie character managed to be funny in a way that Woody Allen might be funny if he was a teenage girl.” In 2004, “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” won the Australian Kids’ Choice Award and the Blimp Award, was nominated for a Leo Award, and lead Hilary Duff was voted Favorite Movie Star. The movie grossed forty-three million dollars and started a trend of the now commonly used device of “interior monologue.”

In 2005, with six years of film and TV production under her belt, Solomon conceived of the fresh idea for her next hugely successful indie short.  Based on her actual desire to become friends with every single resident in her eighteen story high rise, she created a humorous ode to alienation. While performing this story as part of her standup comedy routine, she realized that the concept would work better set to music. So she composed a song, which morphed into a movie.

That film was followed by a love ballad to the CVS drug store, called “Everything I Need Is At the Drugstore,” with the corner pharmacy as the sole setting for an affordable shopping spree. The following indie film, “Teach Me to be a Woman,” became the third in the series and was produced shortly after Solomon and her husband separated. It was inspired by a morning tableau of a beautiful naked young woman lounging in an open window. The series of three completed animated shorts was brought to the attention of HBO’s Sheila Nevins, who requested the creation of an additional five segments with original songs to round off a 30 minute HBO special, “Getting Over Him in 8 Songs or Less.”

Solomon‘s other HBO credits include short animated films, which opened the Emmy and Peabody Award winning shows “How Do You Spell God?” and “Kids are Punny.” For the two shows, she directed star talent, Geoffrey Holder, Chris Rock, Joseph Montegna, Mary Tyler Moore, and Rosie O’Donnell.  She has created and produced several shorts for the Disney Channel and Cartoon Network, including a half-hour Thanksgiving special, “The Private Eye Princess.” 

Beginning her career as an illustrator and cartoonist, Solomon illustrated for multiple sections of the NY Times and Newsday.  She provided artwork for many humor books, such as the best selling “A Good Friend,” as well as  “Phobophobia,” “I love You Because,” and other popular titles. “Oh Brother!” and “Oh Sister!” both winners of 1996 Children's Choice Awards from the American Library Association, were published by Warner Books.  For seventeen years, she created funny and insightful science cartoons for the internationally syndicated column, “How Come?”  These cartoons were published in Newsday, the LA Times, and other newspapers worldwide. The “How Come?” column was compiled into three books with a fourth book published out in the Fall 2014. The book has been reprinted in scientific publications and text books. This best selling book series is used by middle and high school teachers all over the world to engage students in a wide array of science lessons.

Solomon created two successful animated campaigns for UNICEF’s 1997 Halloween Drive, one included a live segment with Meg Ryan. In 1998, she directed Brandy for UNICEF’s Fifty Year Anniversary Campaign. For two years, she taught Character Design to animation students at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City.

Apart from professional activities, Solomon has volunteered extensively for organizations that support people with AIDS. In the late 1980ies, she volunteered at God’s Love We Deliver as a cook and provided their summer interns with a place to live. She also volunteered at Miracle House, an organization that provides housing for out-of-town families of people with AIDS. In 1992, when Miracle House had serious financial problems, she hosted and co-organized with friend Victoria Newhouse, a themed charity art auction, with art donated by such luminaries as Julian Schnabel, William Wegman and Eric Fischl. The event raised over $28,000. 

As a Board Member of ASIFA East, Solomon has curated programs featuring her own work and the work of other animators, including John Schnall and a memorial program for the award winning animator Karen Aqua. In 2014 she was asked to create ASIFA’s 2014 signal film, to open the 2014 Animation Festival. She is a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and New York Women in Film and Television (NYWFT). She served on the selection committee for SVA’s Dusty Awards for three consecutive years, as well as selection committees for NYFA and various other film festivals. For two years Debra has been asked to judge the Student animation entries for NYU’s Fusion festival. 

In 2014, Debra completed “My Kingdom,” an indie short which she says: My kingdom has no castle, no rolling hills and no moat. It’s my personal space…the 24 inches around me, which I must defend to the death, without guns, barbed wire or attack dogs, especially on the subway”. My Kingdom is currently on the festival circuit and has won Best Animated Short at the Woodstock Film Festival .

In 2014-2015 Debra has worked on animated commercials for, among others, Con Edison and Almond Joy and published the fourth in the series of “How Come” Books for Workman Publishing,

Solomon is currently in the preliminary stages of creating her next film, “My Sisters?” (working title), which, in a departure from her earlier films, will have a spoken soundtrack. Using fairy tales and myths, she will explore the rugged terrain of the sister complex.