The Creative Talent Network will be shining a very bright spotlight on Exceptional Minds during its annual CTN animation eXpo in support of diversity and inclusion in the animation industry. The large community of local and international animation professionals will be donating a portion of its proceeds along with select speaker fees and booth space to Exceptional Minds at its annual expo, held in Burbank next month.
A 2019 California Nonprofit of the Year, Exceptional Minds is a professional training academy and studio for individuals on the autism spectrum who are pursuing careers in animation and visual effects.
“It is very important to the health of our community to help support and better insure everyone has the kind of opportunities needed to thrive,” commented Tina Price, Executive Director and Producer of the event.
CTN animation eXpo is the only dedicated expo for animation talent located in Burbank, the nation’s animation capital. Now in its 10th year, CTN animation eXpo is attended by more than 10,000 professionals with 340 exhibitors. CTN partners include Animation World Network, ASIFA, DreamWorks Animation, Nickelodeon, Sony Pictures Animation, Walt Disney Animation and XP-Pen Technologies, among others. This year the expo’s theme is “Transformations,” designed to promote growth and empowerment opportunities for artists in this community.
“This is easily the most important event of the year in the animation business. We can’t think of a better organization to partner with in our goal to transform expectations for all animators and visual effects artists on the autism spectrum and for diversity and inclusion overall,” said David Siegel, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Exceptional Minds.
CTN is known for its educational programs that give back to the community. The Exceptional Minds nonprofit partnership adds to its Lend A Hand scholarship and education programs that help aspiring artists succeed in animation and related fields.
Exceptional Minds training academy opened its doors in 2011 and, in 2014, added a professional studio to bring in contract work for graduates of its three-year program. Since then, Exceptional Minds animators have worked on projects for Sesame Workshop, Los Angeles Zoo, Special Olympics, Open Hearts Foundation, CBS TV, NPR composer BJ Leiderman and Netflix’s Atypical series (the animated sequence was shown in the episode “Little Dude and the Lion”).
The academy now annually serves an average of 250 full-time, part-time, and privately tutored students as well as graduate artists, providing technical and behavioral training to a population traditionally marginalized and underrepresented in both the labor market and society as a whole.
This year’s CTN eXpo will take place November 21 to 24 at the Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel. Exceptional Minds students and animators will join creative professionals from top studios around the world to take part in expo demonstrations, panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities.