In 2003-04, Casey Safron was hosting animation screenings in downtown Manhattan. This was before YouTube or Vimeo. There were no large-scale animation festivals in America. Student animators were not getting the opportunity to showcase their films outside of potential end-of-year university shows. Safron’s college roommate owned a coffee shop in East Williamsburg called The Archive that had access to a screen down the block. Casey started courting sponsors and curated a festival program. Hundreds of people showed up to the first official Animation Block Party on Sept. 9, 2004.
In 2005, ABP received corporate sponsorship and began working with the Brooklyn Academy of Music. ABP partnered with Rooftop Films in 2006. The festival became a full weekend event and by 2009 was averaging 2,500-plus attendees per summer. The 2016 festival passed 5,000 attendees for the third consecutive summer. Now in 2017, Animation Block Party is an international four-day festival featuring panel discussions, exclusive showcases, amazing after-parties and just over 100 of the world’s best new animated shorts in competition.