APU Launches Animation Degree with 20th Anniversary Screening of Mulan

by University Relations

Azusa Pacific University celebrated the launch of its new Bachelor of Arts in Animation and Visual Effects with a special 20th anniversary screening of the Walt Disney-animated feature Mulan on March 26, 2018. The evening, hosted by APU’s College of Music and the Arts, included a discussion with the film’s co-director and head of APU’s new program, Tony Bancroft.

The major opens for enrollment in fall 2018 and appeals to students seeking careers as creative and influential illustrators and animators. The comprehensive curriculum includes animation and drawing classes, as well as courses in storytelling and cinematic arts, ensuring that graduates are competitive candidates for positions in industries such as film, television, and video game design. With a curriculum that connects faith, culture, and the arts in a growing industry, this degree program will prepare students to make a difference. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, multimedia animators should expect an eight percent increase in job opportunities between 2016 and 2026, double the average job growth for all art and design careers. The Department of Cinematic Arts boasts a strong network of alumni working at major studios, television networks, and agencies, including Walt Disney Studios and DreamWorks Animation, and Los Angeles is one of the top cities in the world for animation careers.

In addition to outlining these aspects and benefits of the new major, Bancroft spoke with students about his professional career as an animator for Disney and Sony Pictures, which includes credits for Stuart Little 2, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and The Emperor’s New Groove. For Mulan, Bancroft and his co-director, Barry Cook, won an Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production. “It is fitting that we celebrate the launch of APU’s new animation degree with a screening of Mulan,” said Bancroft. “Two decades after its release, her story of bravery, sacrifice, and loyalty continues to honor strong women everywhere and inspire generations of fans. I hope to teach my animation students that we all have a vision and story inside of us to tell that can capture the imagination and impact the world.”

Originally published in the Summer '18 issue of APU Life. Download the PDF or view all issues.