Thursday, September 16, 2021

SCAD AnimationFest 2021 Returns Virtually September 23-25

The acclaimed event will offer online access to a global audience of creatives and enthusiasts; program includes panels with industry professionals from Nickelodeon, Fox Animation, Paramount+, Bento Box, and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has announced the fifth annual SCAD AnimationFest, presented by SCADFILM. It returns this year in a virtual format, running September 23-25, 2021. The online program features three days of special guests, screenings, presentations, panels with leaders in animation, and a curated showcase of student work. Global access will be available to creatives and enthusiasts in the industries behind animation, visual effects, motion media design, and gaming content across all genres and platforms.

The festival will feature the premiere of collaborative student work including two animated feature films from SCAD Animation Studios. The 3D animated Hex Limit and 2D animated The Pope’s Dog  will be shown along with breakout sessions with SCAD alumni.

"SCAD is home to SCAD Animation Studios, the world's only animation studio housed at an elite university, where students write, perform, and animate 2D and 3D films,” commented SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace. “To see SCAD's latest releases—Hex Limit and The Pope's Dog—and enjoy a comprehensive look at everything SCAD offers future animators (including IMDB credits before graduation!), SCAD AnimationFest is THE place to be this September."

AnimationFest will also feature content and panels with notable industry professionals from top animation entertainment studios including Nickelodeon; Fox Animation; Paramount+; Bento Box; and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.

“Our festival programming celebrates the explosive growth of the animation industry and SCAD's role in preparing talent across all the disciplines that contribute to this transformative art form,” noted SCADFILM senior executive director Leigh Seaman. “At SCADFILM, we illuminate the opportunities for artists in any medium to find success in the entertainment business, and animation offers opportunities galore. We look forward to welcoming guests from major studios and production companies to talk about trends and take us behind the scenes of some of this year's most anticipated animated content.”

The curated programming for the festival represents the expertise and excellence of the university’s degree programs from the Schools of Digital Media and Entertainment Arts. Animation has exploded in popularity in recent years and has become one of the largest of SCAD’s programs. The animation program is recognized globally for preparation of a growing field that encompasses film, television, interactive media, and video games.

Announcement of additional guests and programming to come. Additional information is available here.

Nickelodeon at SCAD AnimationFest 2021 schedule:

Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021

3 p.m. ET

In conversation with: Jen Gay, line producer; Ben Hibon, director and co-executive producer; Patrick Krebs, supervising producer; Nikie Monteleone, lead look development artist

Moderated by: Ashwin Inamdar, SCAD professor of animation

Action and adventure await a motley crew of young aliens in the upcoming Paramount+ animated kids' series Star Trek: Prodigy, created by Nickelodeon Animation Studio and CBS Studios' Eye Animation Studios. Join production staff for a behind-the-scenes look at how the team brought the Star Trek universe full circle with visuals and storytelling aimed at younger audiences.

4 p.m. ET

In conversation with: John Cahoon, CG environment artist, Nickelodeon; Laura Hohman, CG supervisor, Nickelodeon; Pablo Smith, CG animation director, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years

Moderated by: Jenna Zona, SCAD professor of animation

SpongeBob SquarePants and the babies of Rugrats have undergone a digital transformation in recent years. Explore how Nickelodeon's CG artists adapted these classic shows into new CG-animated Paramount+ originals Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years and Rugrats, staying true to their iconic models, pushing the limits of computer-generated expressions, and giving a unique identity to shows with a storied history and nostalgia.

Friday, Sept. 24, 2021

3 p.m. ET

SCAD Alumni Voices

In conversation with: Keachia Greenidge (B.F.A., broadcast design, 2010), senior producer of design and animation, BARK-BARK; Darnell Johnson (B.F.A., sequential art, 2010), story artist, Sony Pictures Animation; Ariel Paxton (M.F.A., animation, 2020), motion designer, Nickelodeon Animation; Cierra Ramsey (B.F.A., animation, 2019), background designer, Bento Box; Emily Rodriguez (B.F.A., animation, 2020), freelance 2D animator and designer

Moderated by: Audra Price Pittman, Ph.D., vice president for SCAD Atlanta

Hear from SCAD graduates across disciplines in the SCAD School of Digital Media, now working in animation and beyond, as they offer insight and inspiration on their journeys from student to industry professional.

5 p.m. ET

Character Design in Animation

In conversation with: Claire Almon (M.F.A., animation, 2012), senior artist, Gimmie Games; Amanda Bell (B.F.A., animation, 2016), character designer, Netflix Animation; Ida Hem (B.F.A., animation, 2016), character designer, Nickelodeon Animation; Benjamin Tong (B.F.A., animation, 2017) character designer

Moderated by: Matthew Maloney, SCAD associate chair of animation

Character designers are responsible for knowing what to exaggerate and what to minimize, how to give a hint of depth and background, and what to do to develop personality in a film or TV show's characters. Alumni animators share their expert character design tips for creating an authentic cast of memorable characters.

SCAD AnimationFest returns with an insight into the industry from Nickelodeon, Marvel and more

Savannah College of Art and Design is presenting the fifth annual SCAD AnimationFest featuring a fresh slate of guests, screenings, panels, and presentations from some of the most exciting studios and creators in animation.

For three days, participants can take part in screenings and presentations from Nickelodeon, Fox Animation Domination, "Star Trek: Prodigy" and The Harper House from Paramount+, Bento Box, and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, creators of Marvel’s hilarious "M.O.D.O.K." series.

It should be no surprise that many of the industry guests and presenters are SCAD graduates. Animation is consistently the most popular major at SCAD, and for good reason.

“Animation is one of the most incredible things you can experience,” said Christopher Gallagher, Chair of Animation at SCAD. “It transcends generations, race, and gender identity. It’s powerful, intimate, and playful. At the same time animation is fun, ever changing, and evolving. Just thinking about animation brings a smile to my face!”

Last year, because of the pandemic, the festival switched to an all virtual format. The changes carried unique challenges, but the organizers and presenters not only adapted quickly, but were able to reach more people than ever before.

“We have now mastered and perfected the virtual presentations and the virtual engagement to make sure everyone is as captivated as possible,” said Gallagher. “The level of engagement has exceeded our expectations and we now reach a global audience. Anyone, anywhere who is interested in animation can be a part of SCAD’s AnimationFest.”

Gallagher is a SCAD alum who spent his career working for Walt Disney Animation Studios on Academy Award winning films like "Frozen," "Big Hero 6," and "Zootopia," before joining the SCAD faculty in 2017.

“I knew I needed to create that same studio experience for my students,” said Gallagher. “I wanted to build something that was open to all SCAD students to get involved in from animation to sound design, visual effects to dramatic writing. SCAD Animation Studio is the ultimate collaborative experience. It is larger than an individual course and it elevates students to their true potential. I’m proud to say that we are the first full run university animation studio in the country.”

One of the highlights of this year’s SCAD AnimationFest is the presentation of two new projects from SCAD Animation Studio, “The Pope’s Dog” in 2D, and “Hex Limit” in 3D.

“Hex Limit” is a blend of 2D and cutting edge 3D animation that tells the tale of three witches who race brooms through a cyberpunk city. The film was a massive undertaking that took a year to produce. The interdepartmental collaboration was conducted virtually with students communicating entirely online. Dailies were shown and work was critiqued without the participants ever meeting in person.

“Besides myself, there were 82 other students working on this film and we are a very diverse group of artists,’ explained SCAD Senior and “Hex Limit” producer, DJ Price. “They range from illustrators to sound designers, from animators to compositors, and they were from all around the world.”

SCAD's animation program is named one of the best in the country year after year by Animation Career Review, and SCAD Animation Studio may be the program’s most important innovation.

“SCAD animation is incredible,” said Price. “It focuses on strengthening and widening our scope, that’s our knowledge of software and programs. I think the professors are what really make it special. They really focus on hands-on and one-on-one learning and teaching. Each of them have impressive industry careers and carry priceless knowledge from other personal experience from studios such as Pixar, Disney, or gaming studios, and they share that information with us.

“Beyond that, SCAD Animation Studios, in particular, is what is really special about SCAD animation, because it gives us an opportunity to stretch our legs professionally. It gives us this opportunity to practice our skills and expand our knowledge of a pipeline and see how our pace of work, our style interacts with other artists and what we’re able to create.”

SCAD AnimationFest is open to everyone, so whether you are a student looking to get into the industry, or you are just really enjoying this animation boom, there a three days' worth of reasons to join in. Check out for a full schedule of events.


WHAT: SCAD AnimationFest 2021

WHEN: Sept. 23-25

COST: $40, Student/Educator $20


Originally published: August 26, 2021.

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