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Veteran Animator, Animation Historian Tom Sito to Receive SVA’s Dusty Outstanding Alumni Award

World-renowned animator and historian Tom Sito to be honored with the Dusty Outstanding Alumni Award during SVA’s 27th Dusty Awards In New York City on Tuesday, May 10.

Tom Sito served as an animator under his old mentor Richard William on Disney/Amblin Entertainment’s Academy Award-winning film, ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit.’

Reeves Lehmann, chair of the BFA Film and BFA Animation programs at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), and Annie Flocco, producer/director of SVA’s 27th Dusty Awards, announced that this year’s Dusty Outstanding Alumni Award will be presented to animator/historian and winner of the June Foray Award Tom Sito (BFA 1977 Animation) and Academy Award-winning production sound mixer Mark Ulano (1975 Film and Video). Sito’s many credits include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King; Ulano’s include The Hateful Eight, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Iron Man 1&2, The Judge, Titanic and Inglourious Basterds. The awards will be handed out during the 27th Dusty Awards, to be held at the SVA Theatre at 333 West 23rd Street in New York City on Tuesday, May 10, at 6:30 pm EST. (Red carpet event begins at 5:30pm). The ceremony will be streamed live at

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Josh Singer (Spotlight, The Fifth Estate, The West Wing), will lead a wealth of bold-faced names from the world of film and animation who will serve as award presenters for the ceremony; other presenters include actress/producer/director Trudie Styler (American Honey (Official Selection - Festival de Cannes 2016), Freak Show, Seagull), animator/director/producer Mark Osborne (The Little Prince, Kung Fu Panda, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie), Academy Award-winning production sound mixer Chris Newman (The Godfather, The Exorcist, Amadeus), Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Laurens Grant (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Freedom Riders), writer/director Ti West (The House of the Devil, Wayward Pines, VHS), editor Aaron Yanes(Tyson, You Don’t Know Jack, Europa Report), director of photography Michael Simmonds (Nerve, White Girl, Vice Principals), animator Howard Beckerman (Boop-Beep), producer and New York Women in Film & Television president Alexis Alexanian, and producer and IFP Program Manager Zach Mandinach. Media personality Valerie Smaldone returns to emcee the ceremony.

In addition to presenting the Dusty Outstanding Alumni Award to Sito and Ulano, the other awards presented will go to students who are graduating this spring from SVA’s BFA Film and BFA Animation programs, and whose work will be included in the more than 100 student films and animations shown during the Dusty Film & Animation Festival; which runs Saturday May 7 - Monday, May 9, and is free and open to the public. The Outstanding Achievement awards will recognize excellence in directing, screenwriting, editing, cinematography, documentary, animated film, character animation, and animation production design. Other honors to be bestowed include the Human Spirit Award, the Gotham Sound Honorary Grants, the IFP Award and the New York Women in Film & Television Award.

This year’s Headlining Sponsors include AbelCine, Adorama Rental Co, Animation Magazine, B&H Photo, Bryan Singer - Bad Hat Harry, Carlos Saldanha -- BottleCap Productions, Dig It Audio, Randall Emmett -- Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, Foto Care, Gotham Sound, IFP, New York Women in Film & Television, Nice Shoes Creative Studio, Nickelodeon, Rota6, SCS Agency, the SVA Campus Store, Technicolor PostWorks New York and Toon Boom Animation. One hundred percent of the sponsors’ donations will benefit thesis film and animation students in the form of grants and in-kind awards.

“The Dustys has become one of the top student film festivals in the country,” Lehmann said. “Year after year, the festival brings attention to remarkable work by SVA students and proves to be a launching pad for so many professional careers,” Flocco added.

SVA’s BFA Film and BFA Animation programs offer immersive, hands-on education, with coursework in directing, screenwriting, cinematography, editing, documentary—and sound, one of the few undergraduate programs to support this specialty. The BFA Animation program at SVA is one of the most competitive in the country, with Disney, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, and nearly every other major studio recruiting its graduates.

School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers and creative professionals for more than six decades. With a faculty of distinguished working professionals, dynamic curriculum and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprised of more than 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and 35,000 alumni in 100 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world.

Source: Dusty Film & Animation Festival

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.