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NY Times on the Rise of Brigham Young University’s Animation Program

by on May 27, 2013

The New York Times Magazine has taken a look at the rise of the Brigham Young University animation program as a somewhat unlikely rise as a feeder program for Hollywood’s top animation studios. The university was singled out by Pixar president Ed Catmull in a speech on campus in 2008, and a 14-person team at Pixar responsible for complex horse musculature and Princess Merida’s hair modeling included 6 Brigham Young alumni. The university in Provo, Utah, is a Mormon University owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and maintains a strict honor code that conforms to Mormon principles. The animation program (and film programs in general) is aimed at injecting values-oriented filmmakers into Hollywood, with program director R. Brent Adams stating in the article, “Without being preachy about it, if we can add something to the culture that makes people think about being better human beings — more productive, more kind, more forgiving — that’s what we want to do.” The article goes on to describe how several current members of the program express this goal in their student work, as well as discussing how the university’s required religion courses and other work actually prepares its students better for a life in Hollywood.

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