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Inaugural Class Announced for CAPE Animation Directors Accelerator

Program provides an opportunity to develop and hone creative and leadership skills via a series of panels, workshops, and masterclasses; selected applicants to be paired with high-level animation industry mentors.

CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) has announced its inaugural class of participants for the CAPE Animation Directors Accelerator (CADA) powered by Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). The new program aims to equip animators on-the-cusp of leadership positions with the skills, mentorship, and professional network needed to break the ceiling in feature film and episodic animation.

The first edition of the program will take place virtually with the selected animation directors and leaders honing their artistic and leadership skills through a series of panels, workshops, and masterclasses from high-level executives, producers, and creatives in the animation industry. The Fellowship is co-chaired by Justinian Huang (Sony Pictures Animation, VP, creative,) and Michelle Wong (producer, Vivo).

“Before we launched CADA, we had no idea how many candidates would apply because there's never been an initiative like this before,” shared Huang. “We were amazed to receive so many applicants, which proved the overdue need for this program. That put us in a position to make some difficult decisions as we selected the six members of our inaugural class. As a group, they are wonderfully diverse in background and talent, but what they share in common is a worthiness and readiness to join the creative leadership community of our industry."

Six applicants have been selected for the program; each will be paired with a high-level mentor from the animation industry.  

  • Alex Kwan (Nickelodeon - episodic director) | Mentored by Arthur Fong & Wira Winata (Wish Dragon)
  • Isha Mangalmurti (freelance storyboard artist/2D animation director) | Mentored by Alyce Tzue (Steps)
  • Kenny Park (Netflix Animation - head of story) | Mentored by Yoriaki Mochizuki (The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part)
  • Mingjue “Helen” Chen (Sony Pictures Animation - visual development artist & production designer) | Mentored by Galen Chu (Ice Age 5: Collision Course)
  • Vi-Dieu Nguyen (Netflix Animation - head of story) | Mentored by Henry Yu (Surf’s Up 2: Wavemania)
  • Yunhao Zhang (Disney Television Animation - storyboard & 3D artist) | Mentored by Maggie Kang (K-Pop: Demon Hunters)

Speakers this year will include Oscar winner Domee Shi (director-writer, Pixar’s Bao and the upcoming Turning Red); Jaydeep Hasrajani (creator, Netflix’s Boons and Curses); Osnat Shurer (producer, Moana, Raya and the Last Dragon); Kurt Albrecht (producer, The Mitchells vs. The Machines); Daniel Chong (creator and executive producer, Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears); Matt Braly (creator and executive producer, Disney Channel’s Amphibia); Jude Weng (director, Netflix's Finding 'Ohana’); Jason McConnell (Nickelodeon, director of animation development); Tim Yoon (producer, Maya and the Three); John Aoshima (co-director, Netflix’s Ultraman); and Janet Wu (Netflix, director of original animation and family features).

“I am thrilled about the inaugural class as they represent what is missing in animation: diverse and authentic stories that are fresh and inspiring,” added Wong. “They are all talented leaders, and I congratulate them for embarking on a journey to discover more about themselves.”

“According to a recent Grand View Research report, the global 3D animation market alone is estimated to reach $39.96 billion by 2028, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 11.7% from 2021 to 2028,” noted CAPE executive director Michelle K. Sugihara. “There is no better time to invest in API animation leaders than right now.”

The CAPE Animation Directors Accelerator joins other CAPE initiatives such as the CAPE New Writers Fellowship (which recently opened for submissions) and the CAPE Leaders Fellowship. CAPE is also incubating several other initiatives, including ones for assistants and stand-up comedians, as well as the CAPE Database, a public-facing database for Asian and Pacific Islander talent, executives, reps, and more.

Additional information is available here.

Source: Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment