BYU awarded its first BFA Animation degrees in 2004. Since then, the program has received national acclaim, particularly in the animation department, which has won eleven Student Emmys in the last eight years. In recent years, Pixar Animation Studios has mentored students on a one-on-one basis, a remarkable offer as Pixar only mentors two schools in the nation: BYU and Cal Arts, a private animation school founded by Walt Disney himself.
"Over the years, Pixar has worked with a lot of different universities around the country and hired people. One of the interesting things is, all of a sudden, in the last few years, we found that BYU has risen to the top. BYU has an extraordinary program here."
Following Catmull's address, a new Animation Center was announced, which aims to "foster further collaborative work, both with external partners who mentor and hire our students as well as to create more formal and effective curricular collaborations across campus," said Dean Stephen Jones of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, which houses the animation major. The Center will be housed in the Fulton College of Engineering and Technology, and will be directed by animation professor R. Brent Adams.
Brigham Young University Animation Students have won eight College Television Awards commonly known as 'Student Emmys' from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The films that have won are Lemmings, Petshop, Faux Paw, Noggin, Turtles, Las Pinatas, Lion and the Mouse, Pajama Gladiator, and Dream Giver.
In 2008, their short Pajama Gladiator was selected to be part of the Nicktoons Network Animation Festival and was awarded the Producers' Choice Award.
In 2011, their latest animated film Dream Giver won an award for best animation and music composition at the Student Emmys.
The BYU Animation Program is increasing in national significance. In May of 2013 The New York Times did an extensive article (link below) on the growing significance of BYU students in the animation and film industries. Journalist Jon Mooallem came to BYU and interviewed and observed students and faculty as well as top animation industry executives, all of whom had something to say about BYU's surge of excellent Animators.
- The New York Times - When Hollywood Wants Good, Clean Fun, It Goes to Mormon Country (23 May 2013)
- The Deseret News - Local draw: Pixar increasingly tapping into BYU talent (24 June 2011)
- BYU News - Pixar President Praises BYU Animation Program at Premiere of Latest Short Film (28 March 2011)
- The Daily Universe - Taking a look at BYU’s animation program (11 March 2011)
- The Deseret News - BYU Center to Develop Animation Creations (28 March 2011)
- The Daily Herald - BYU Will Centralize Animation Program (27 March 2008)
- KSL - BYU Creating a New Center Focusing on Computer Animation (27 March 2008)
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