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Esurance Sponsors the SFIFF Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award

San Francisco, CA — March 9, 2010

The 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival (April 22–May 6) is proud to present the Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award to Academy Award—nominated short-filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt for his unique contributions to animation. Over a long career, Hertzfeldt has remained fiercely independent by sticking to short format and challenging the boundaries of his craft. The popularity of his work is unprecedented in the world of short animation and his films are frequently referenced in pop culture. Hertzfeldt will be presented with the award and participate in an onstage interview at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 23, at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas. A collection of short films, past and present, including "I am so proud of you," "Intermission in the Third Dimension," and a few surprise selections are set to follow.

Established in 1997, the Persistence of Vision Award each year honors the achievement of a filmmaker whose work is crafting documentaries, short films, animation, or work for television.

"We are delighted to present this honor to Don Hertzfeldt, who is the youngest recipient to be awarded to date, but whose body of work and determination to practice his craft in his own way and to remain an independent animator exemplifies a true persistence of vision." said Rachel Rosen, SFFS director of programming.

Born in Fremont, California, Hertzfeldt taught himself animation at age 15 with a small video camera. While in film school at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he was able to find international distribution for all of his 16mm student films: "Ah, L'Amour," "Lily and Jim," "Genre," and "Billy's Balloon."

Created traditionally with pen and paper and without the aid of computers, his work commonly features hand-drawn stick figures in odd stories infused with dark humor, surrealism, and tragicomedy. Hertzfeldt uses antique 16mm or 35mm film cameras to photograph his artwork and often employs old-fashioned special-effect techniques such as multiple exposures, in-camera mattes, and experimental photography. Hertzfeldt often single-handedly produces all aspects of his films, taking years to complete a single short. His early films have prominently influenced the past decade's pronounced absurdist strain in animation, exemplified by much of the programming on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. His films are regularly featured in international film festivals, touring animation programs like the Animation Show and on DVD collections. His works are also featured on television, including MTV, Bravo, Sundance Channel, and IFC.

This year's program is sponsored by Esurance, the direct-to-consumer insurance company known for its popular commercials featuring the quirky, pink-haired animated character, Erin Esurance. In addition to this award, Esurance is also proud to support this year's SFIFF Animation, Technology and Design programs.

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About Esurance®

Esurance, a subsidiary of White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM), provides personal auto insurance direct to consumers online and through select agents, including sister company, Answer Financial. Esurance is dedicated to constantly improving the way people shop for, buy, and manage their auto insurance. By combining the best of technology with industry know-how, Esurance is able to offer hassle-free coverage with 24/7 customer service and claims handling at competitive prices.

Through Esurance's website,, customers can get instant car insurance quotes, view comparison quotes, buy an Esurance policy, and print their insurance cards — all in minutes. Esurance also offers policyholders the ability to make policy changes and file claims instantly online, demonstrating its commitment to improving the entire insurance process from quote to claim.

Answer Financial, also a subsidiary of White Mountains, is one of the largest independent personal lines insurance agencies in the country. Answer Financial offers comparison quotes and provides auto and property insurance from more than a dozen top-rated insurance companies through its website,, and over the phone.


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