How the Academy of Art University Enables Red Carpet Dreams

Many people grow up dreaming about appearing on the silver screen, emulating some of their favorite actors and actresses. It is likely that too many choose other, sedentary professions instead of pursuing their dreams. Some, however, chase these visions of what could be, and discover many paths of working in entertainment. Academy of Art University offers comprehensive educational programs to give creatives the skills they need to succeed and thrive in Hollywood and the entertainment arts industry. 

Recognizing Notable Red Carpet Contributions 

The 2020 Academy Awards, broadcasted on Sunday, February 9, recognized the best accomplishments in the entertainment arts industry. Numerous Academy of Art University graduates were involved in critical areas of development for several of the films up for top honors. 

Best Visual Effects


  • Vijay Selvam (ANM, 2002)

The Irishman

  • Christian Castaneda (ANM, 2010)
  • Megan Dolman (ANM, 2005)
  • David Gottlieb (ANM, 1999)
  • Robert Jackson (ANM, 2011)
  • Ricardo Marmolejo (ANM, 2012)
  • Priya Short (ANM, 2013)

Avengers: Endgame 

  • Jan Philip Cramer

The Lion King

  • Victor Wagner (ANM, 2007, M-AVE, 2009) 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

  • Can Chang (VFX, 2004)
  • Siau Yene Ang (Illustration, 2002)
  • Behnam Shafiebeik (VFX, 2006) 
  • Ryan Hopkins (Computer Graphics, 2001)
  • Peter Dworin (Computer Animation & Cinematography, 2006) 

Best Animated Feature Film


  • Alex Orrelle (ANM, 2000)
  • How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World
  • Evon Freeman (ANM, 2010)
  • Daniel Arata (ANM, 2013)
  • Avedis Ekmekjian (ANM, 2006)
  • Cassandra Fanning (FA, 2007)
  • George Ho (ANM, 1997)
  • Lea Antonette Lorenzo Irlanda (ANM, 2015)
  • Marc Machuca (ANM, 2008)
  • William Sokoloski (ANM, 2017)

Missing Link

  • Cynthia Chen (MFA, Motion Picture and Television Editing, 2017)
  • Alex Widener (2013) 
  • Tyler Fermelis (Computer Arts, 3D Modeling, 2006) 
  • Guillermo Martinez (2D Character Animation, 2010) 

Toy Story 4

  • Simon Christen (BFA, 2006)
  • Cody Lyon (Character Animation, 2015)
  • Rosana Sullivan (ANM, 2010)
  • Erik Smitt
  • Terry Song
  • Guiherme Jacinto (ANM & VA, 2007)
  • Jenna Calvao (ANM & VA, 2010)
  • Tom Zach (Character Animation, 2005) 
  • Stephen Wong (Illustration, Animation, 2005) 
  • Erinn Kathryn Burke (Multimedia Communications, 2013) 
  • Jae Hyung Kim (ANM, 2006) 
  • Raphael Suter (Fine Arts & Animation, 2005) 
  • Laura Meyer (Graphic Design) 
  • Brett Shultz (Animation) 
  • Adam Rodriguez (Character Animation, 2011) 
  • Tomoyuki Harashima (Character Animation, 2006) 
  • Joshua Dai (ANM, 2010) 
  • Nicole Ridgwell (ANM, 2015) 
  • Axel Geddes
  • Cameron Miyasaki (ANM, 2001) 
  • Jamie Datz (Film & TV Production, 2001) 

Best Animated Short

Hair Love

  • Caitlin Vanarsdale


  • Rosana Sullivan (Animation & Visual Effects, 2010) Writer & Director 
  • Randy Barrett (IND, 2000)
  • Qian Celine You (ANM)
  • Tim Evatt (ILL, 2005)

Other Academy of Art University alumni worked in other departments on these Academy Award-nominated films: 

  • Best Original Song – Toy Story 4, Frozen II
  • Best Original Score – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  • Best in Sound Editing – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  • Best in Makeup and Hairstyling – Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Red Carpet Feature – Former Animation Student

A notable short film in Pixar Animation’s SparkShorts program was nominated for Best Animated Short. Kitbull was written and directed by Academy of Art University former animation student Rosanna Sullivan (Animation & Visual Effects, 2010). Sullivan conceived the idea for this story while still a student at the Academy, and later wrote and directed the piece as an employee at Pixar. It tells the story of a scrappy stray kitten and an abused but affectionate pit bull in San Francisco’s Mission District. 

Image result for kitbull

Rosanna has also been a storyboard artist at Pixar, with credits like Monsters University and Incredibles 2. The inspiration behind Kitbull was Rosanna’s passion for watching cat videos on the internet. An animal lover, she was on track to become a veterinarian until an elective class inspired a love for art. “It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was like, ‘I love this,’” she says. 

Fans and others may not realize it, but Kitbull is completely hand-drawn and completed in 2D animation. This is notable because Pixar is widely known for CGI animation. In order to complete this project, Rosanna and her Pixar producer had to actually refine processes at Pixar Animation to accommodate her production. 

Red Carpet Preparation at Academy of Art University 

Creatives who desire a rigorous and multi-faceted path of preparation for careers in the entertainment industry can find what they seek at Academy of Art University. Since 1929, the Academy of Art University has shaped budding artists for exciting careers, right in the heart of San Francisco. Here are some of the Academy’s top schools for training in the entertainment industry. 

School of Motion Pictures & Television 

Direct. Produce. Shoot. Edit. Production Design. Write. Crew up and follow your passion for creating entertainment. Master postproduction software, acquire VR experience, delve into drone and VFX cinematography, explore documentary filmmaking, commercials and music videos…the choice is yours. 

The School of Motion Pictures & Television’s degree programs (AA, BFA, MA, MFA, CERT) offer a solid grounding in the art and business of entertainment, along with six areas of specialization – directing, cinematography, editing, producing, production design and screenwriting.

School of Communications & Media Technologies 

Learn from the best talent and the latest technologies to help you tell compelling stories on every multimedia communications platform. From broadcast and streaming to mobile and social, students will shoot, edit, and produce stories that inform, entertain, and engage. There is a dual emphasis on interpersonal and mass communication, and a focus on skills that are immediately employable. 

A degree in Communications & Media Technologies (BA, MA) opens the door to the future of media and entrepreneurship. Keep pace with an ever-changing media landscape as a communications major – from broadcast to streaming, from mobile to social. 

School of Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media 

Love music? Does sound interest you? Prepare for a successful career at The Academy’s music production school. Learn harmony, orchestration, composition and scoring, as well as sound design, editing, and mixing techniques from industry professionals, and apply these skills in film and video game production.

Star Wars creator George Lucas famously said that sound is 50% of the modern motion picture experience. The degree programs in the School of Music Production (AA, BFA, MA, MFA) will give you the production skills that contribute to the overall presentation of any visual image.

School of Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media 

Here is a fabulous opportunity to study feature film and television screenwriting with Academy and Emmy Award-winning writers, producers and development executives. Learn visual storytelling from the ground up, including understanding basic production realities, and how directing and acting enhance the work of the writer. 

If your goal is to create a body of work that could launch your professional writing career, the Academy School of Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media offers degrees (BFA, MFA) that will give you the competitive edge you need. 

School of Acting 

Do you dream of becoming a leading artist in theatre, film and television? Gain marketable acting, speech and movement skills while developing the ability to deliver truthful performances that uniquely qualify you for work on a wide array of projects, taught by professional, working actors. Academy instructors provide you with industry insights and inside knowledge they have cultivated through personal expertise in the entertainment industry. For further resources and guidance, aspiring actors can also visit websites like

Degree programs from the School of Acting (AA, BFA, MA, MFA) are rooted in developing craft, individual process and truthful storytelling. From stage to camera, voiceovers to commercials, the School of Acting is your opportunity to bring your passion to life.

School of Animation & Visual Effects 

Prepare for an exciting career in this exciting and growing industry from the School of Animation & Visual Effects (VFX). Aspiring visual effects artists, 2D and 3D animators and storyboard artists come to the Academy of Art University to learn from industry professionals in the heart of the animation industry.

Pursue your animation degree (AA, BFA, MA, MFA, CERT) from one of the most dynamic Animation and VFX programs in the country. 

School of Visual Development 

Visual development artists are the key figures of a production pipeline – setting the artistic design and even the moods for the images that entertain us.

Whether you’re interested in designing movie characters or composing video game environments like those on tridewi slot, the Academy’s School of Visual Development programs (AA, BFA, MA, MFA) teach you everything you need to create the aesthetic concepts shaping 21st century media.

For more information about these or other creative degree programs to prepare you for a future in the entertainment industry, request information from an Academy of Art University admissions representative, or apply now to begin your journey.