CalArts alumni invited into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

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Signal file photo California Institute of the Arts.

Eight California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) alumni and faculty members were among 774 industry professionals invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) last week.

This year’s Academy class includes members from 57 countries, 96 Oscar nominees and 24 Oscar winners.  The list is almost the most diverse yet with people of color making up 30 percent of the new class.

“We’re proud to invite our newest class to the Academy,” Academy President Cheryl Boone said on the organization’s website.  “The entire motion picture community is what we make of it.  It’s up to all of us to ensure that new faces and voices are seen and heard, and to take a shot on the next generation the way someone took a shot on each of us.”

Since its founding in June 1927, the Academy has grown from 293 filmmakers representing five branches to more than 7,000 members across 17 branches today.

All of the CalArts alumni and faculty members were invited to the Academy for their work in short films and feature animation.

Alumni invitees include director of “Despicable Me 3” and “Minions” Kyle Balda, director of “The Sum Of Them” and “The Content of Clouds” Christine Panushka, and director of “The Good Dinosaur” and “Partly Cloudy” Peter Sohn.

Additional alumni invitees were story board artist and animator for “How To Train Your Dragon” and “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” Jenny Lerew, head of story for “Moana” and “Big Hero 6”David Pimentel, and story artist for “Monsters University” and “Up” Jeffrey Pidgeon.

CalArts School of Film/Video faculty invitees include character design supervisor for “Frozen” and “Wreck-It-Ralph” William (Bill) Schwab and animation supervisor for “Frozen and “Tick Tock Tale” Wayne Unten.

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