The Walter Lantz Foundation has increased its gift to the Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television’s Animation Department to more than $1 million, one of the largest grants the foundation has ever given to a university animation program, according to LMU officials.
Last year, the foundation awarded LMU $540,000 that the school used to outfit its animation lab with state-of-the-art digital equipment including computers for the university’s newly created motion capture stage, a 3D scanner, lighting for stop-motion animation, and upgraded and networked computer workstations.
“Through The Lantz Foundation’s extraordinary generosity, our students are able to remain current with the latest digital technology. We anticipate that the new learning opportunities provided by this gift will speed graduating students’ entry into the field,” said Stephen G. Ujlaki, dean of the School of Film and Television.
The school plans to use the second gift of $500,000 to continue enhancing the lab, which will be officially named the Walter and Grace Lantz Animation Lab. A portion of the grant will also fund a new master of fine arts graduate animation program emphasizing visual effects.
A dedication ceremony for the laboratory will be held on campus Wednesday, May 8 at 5 p.m.
Lantz was an animator, cartoonist and film producer at Universal Studios who was best known for creating Woody Woodpecker.
“LMU’s Animation School is making great strides in animation education, and we hope this gift will allow the program to continue its path of success and growth,” said Edward Landry of the Walter Lantz Foundation. “Walter Lantz was a pioneer, and now future generations of animators will know and be inspired by his story.”
Recently ranked one of the top animation programs in the country, LMU is one of the only film schools in Los Angeles to provide university-level courses in pre-visualization and virtual cinematography, which is the use of computer-generated worlds and characters to achieve shots and camera angles that would be extremely challenging with traditional moviemaking tools.