The Savannah College of Art and Design held SCADFILM’s second annual SCAD AnimationFest, which attracted more than 2,000 attendees to its state-of-the-art theater SCADshow in the heart of Midtown Atlanta September 27-29.
The festival welcomed notable speakers from across the industry, including Adrianna “A.J.” Cohen, senior vice president of production, Twentieth Century Fox Animation; Mark McCray, author of “The Best Saturdays of Our Lives”; Christina Elefante, production coordinator, Sesame Workshop; Lisa LaBracio, animation director, TED-Ed; Franz Palomares, animation director, TED-Ed; Ashley Kohler, executive producer, Awesome Inc.; Joan Baker and Rudy Gaskins, co-founders, the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences; Mulan director Tony Bancroft; and more.
The second annual three-day festival presented by SCADFILM — one of the country’s top programs for students and working professionals in film and television, animation, gaming, virtual reality and digital arts — included elevated panel discussions and special screenings. Panel discussions focused on the latest developments and dynamic facets within the animation industry, including character development, small studio animation, as well as the growth of Atlanta-based production houses. Additionally, the festival explored conversations around historical moments in animation, inclusion and diversity in the industry, and the rising popularity of the field.
Highlights from the festival included:
- AnimationFest featured presentations about the history of the Saturday morning cartoons, the impact animation can make in education, and a special conversation with Adrianna “A.J.” Cohen, Senior Vice President of Production, Twentieth Century Fox Animation.
- Thursday evening, AnimationFest held a special preview screening of the Warner Bros. forthcoming animated feature Smallfoot, starring Zendaya, Common, James Corden, and Channing Tatum.
- Panelists from Floyd Country Productions, Twentieth Century Fox Animation, Sesame Workshop, TED-Ed, and Awesome Inc. held an empowering panel discussion exploring the current culture shifts that are impacting the industry hiring practices, career growth and content choices today. Other panels on Friday included an Alumni panel and a character development panel.
- AnimationFest’s Friday evening program included a discussion with Disney’s Mulan director Tony Bancroft and a special screening of the film, celebrating its 20th anniversary. The day of programming culminated with a panel and screening of two episodes from Season 4 of Adult Swim’s Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell.
- On Saturday morning, AnimationFest held a “Saturday Morning Cartoons” marathon. Guests were encouraged to wear pajamas, and breakfast was provided by Chick-Fil-A.
- In the afternoon, SCAD held their annual Animation Showcase, where SCAD students debuted a range of styles and techniques that they had learned from their classes at SCAD.
- The festival concluded with SCAD’s 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows. Since 1998, the Animation Show of Shows selects the best in animated short films from the world’s most renowned animation festivals and presents them at the major animation studios to inspire animators and directors. This year, AnimationFest presented a new batch of exceptional, inspiring shorts from around the world.
Animation is the largest of SCAD’s preeminent degree programs and is considered a top program for preparation of a growing field that encompasses film, television, interactive media and video games.
With the only university-run casting office in the country, SCAD helps drive the multibillion-dollar film and television industry in Georgia, now the No. 1 filming location in the United States, according to FilmL.A. Of the nearly 17,500 SCAD alumni from entertainment and digital media disciplines, more than 2,800 work in the Georgia film industry. SCAD students, alumni and faculty have won Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, Golden Reels, Tonys, Annies, and more.