The Animation Educators Forum (AEF), a non-profit association of teachers and scholars whose focus is the art of animated film, announce the inaugural group selected to its new Hall of Fame. Dedicated to the artists and scholars whose teaching influenced the history of animation, the AEF will announce a new group of recipients each January.
The first Hall of Fame class is:
Art Babbitt (1907-1992) Animator — Babbitt began at Terrytoons before becoming one of Walt Disney’s top animators, where he became an early champion of animation unions. He helped jump start Disney’s in-house training program, taught at USC in 1957 and the Animation Guild. Babbitt later lectured the Richard Williams’ London team in 1973. For many years Williams’ notes of his lectures were considered essential reading for animators.
Giannalberto Bendazzi (1946-2021) Animation Historian/Teacher — Bendazzi is best known for writing Cartoons − 100 Years of Cinema Animation, which became a standard textbook in the field. He later edited the three-volume Animation: A World History. Bendazzi taught animation history at the Università degli Studi di Milano (2002-09) and the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (2013-15), as well as being an adjunct professor at Griffith University in Australia.
Frank Braxton (1929-1969) Animator — Braxton was the first Black animator to break the color barrier at both Walt Disney, and later Warner Bros. He also worked for MGM and John Hubley and was a President of the Screen Cartoonists Guild. In the late ’50s, Braxton began an animation program near Watts for minority high school students.
Therese “Tissa” David (1921-2012) Animator — A Hungarian-American animator, who was one of the pioneering women in animation. Described as “New York’s Master Animator”, David worked extensively on commercials and projects for Jean Image, John Hubley, Richard Williams and Michael Sporn. Wherever she worked she conducted masterclasses for young animators. She also guest lectured at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the School of Visual Arts.
Jules Engel (1909-2003) Artist, Filmmaker & Educator — Engel spent decades in the animation industry (Disney, UPA, Format Films, etc.), variously working as a color stylist, background artist, producer and director, before joining CalArts in 1969. He was Founding Director of its Animation Program and Experimental Animation Department, mentoring many notable animation artists. He also made a number of personal films and documentaries and won the Winsor McCay and Norman McLaren Heritage Awards.
David Evans (1924-1998) Computer Graphics Teacher — With his colleague Ivan Sutherland, Evans conceived and built the computer graphics program at the University of Utah, one of the earliest in the world. Their program produced many breakthroughs and trained many of the principal figures in the Digital Revolution that transformed motion pictures and interactive games in the 1990s.
Don Graham (1883-1976) Drawing Teacher — Starting teaching at Chouinard Art Institute, Graham was brought on by Walt Disney to improve the drawing skills of his animators and organize a training curriculum. Many of them credit Graham with changing their approach to drawing at in so doing change the direction of American animation. After 1941 He continued to teach at Chouinard, as well as Ray Patin Studio, until his retirement in 1970.
Jim Macaulay (1924-2015) Animation Teacher — Jim began in England at J. Arthur Rank, and moved to Canada after the war. He worked for the National Film Board and several live-action production companies. He was among the first group of animation instructors at Sheridan College’s new animation program in the early 1970s. Until his retirement in 1988 he trained a generation of Canada’s top animation talent. Artists who would not only be major players in their own domestic industry, but who would fan out across the world and contribute to productions from Berlin to Bristol, Brisbane to Beijing.
Bill Moore, Graphic Design Teacher — When CalArts grads of the ’70s were asked, “Of all your teachers, if you had to name one who was paramount to your education, who was it?,” the overwhelming response was Bill Moore. Moore began at Chouinard, then moved to CalArts to teach the fledgling animation program. Many credited him with not just learning technique, but critical thinking.
Les Novros (1909-2000) VFX Animator & Teacher — In 1941, Novros left his job as a Disney layout artist to start Graphic Films, which became known for its large format films and its work on the visual effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey. In 1942, at USC he established its first animation class: “Principles and Mechanics of Animation.” He later developed his “Filmic Expression” class, which inspired several generations of live-action and animation filmmakers
AEF’s Hall of Fame is accessible on the Animation Educator’s Forum website, animationeducatorsforum.com. Candidate suggestions can be submitted through the website to the attention of Tom Sito, administrator.