Local author brings home gold and silver awards at IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards

Stevenson Ranch and former Disney animator Dave Bossert won awards on April 5 for his recent book on Disney's furniture designer Kem Weber. Nancy Levey-Bossert

When Dave Bossert first came to California to study animation at CalArts, he thought he would return to his native New York to work in advertising. He never expected he would be hired by Disney nine months after graduation, work at the company for 32 years and go on to win awards for his books about the company’s history.

On April 5, Bossert attended the 31st annual Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Awards, where his new book “Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs for the Disney Studios” was a nominee. Bossert’s book walked away as a Gold winner for The Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book: Nonfiction category from a new imprint and winner of silver in the Home & Garden category.

“It’s feels fantastic to receive awards like this because it’s recognition from your peers that you did something exceptional and validation of the topics I’m writing about,” Bossert said. “It’s funny because one of the jacket quotes from a poet that I know says I ‘honor the important under-noticed things the rest of us seldom think about.’ I laughed and thought it was perfect because who would have written a book about Weber and the Disney animation furniture? No one.”

Kem Weber was the industrial designer and architect and designer responsible for creating the Disney animation studio in Burbank. According to Bossert, Walt Disney wanted to create a “utopian” animation studio but lacked the technical skills and expertise to do so and hired Weber fulfil that vision. Disney also commissioned Weber to create special furniture for the different art departments resulting in 22 unique pieces of furniture.

During his time at Disney, Bossert was given one of Weber’s animator desks and was allowed to keep it when he eventually left the company. The desk transitioned from being Bossert’s drawing desk to his writing desk, and he was eventually inspired to write about the designer.

“I was writing on my desk one day and was curious if anyone had written about the Weber furniture, so I ended up blowing the day on research,”he said. “What started out as just a love letter to the furniture is now a book. The reception has been fantastic, and people have left lots of great comments on Amazon.”

“Kem Weber” is Bossert’s seventh book about Disney. His writing career began years ago as a blog he wrote about activity in Santa Clarita Valley. Bossert worked closely with Roy Disney, and after he passed, people suggested he collect his stories about Disney in a book. After that, he continued to write about the world he knew, Disney animation, and noticed that his writing kept improving.

“Over time, I’m writing stronger prose and strengthened my vocabulary and also developed my voice further,” he said. “I’ve had people tell me after reading my books that it was like I was sitting next to them, reading them a story. To me that’s the best compliment.”

He is currently working on a book about “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” a film which he worked on as a visual effects artist, and a few other titles for the Disney Editions publishing company. He said that he is also branching out from non-fiction and working on a novel.

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