CalArtians Invited to Join the Academy’s Class of 2022

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has extended invitations to distinguished artists and executives around the globe to join its class of 2022. Among the 397 invited members this year are alums and faculty from the School of Film/Video at CalArts.

Since 1927, AMPAS has annually recognized those who have “distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.” Membership to the Academy is invitation-only from the governing board, and only those who choose to accept the Academy’s invite will be added to the 2022 class and into one of the 17 member branches. 

The Short Films and Feature Animation branch included the following CalArtian invitees: 

Sean Buckelew (Film/Video MFA 14) 

Buckelew, a graduate of the Experimental Animation Program, is known for his animated shorts “Drone” and “Hopkins & Delaney LLP.” In addition to filmmaking, he is a programmer and curator at the international GLAS Animation Festival, and the recipient of a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship and an Art Directors Club (ADC) Young Guns Award. 

Brooke Keesling (Film/Video MFA 01)

Keesling, who also serves as faculty in the Character Animation Program, is known for her short films “Meatclown” and “Boobie Girl,” the latter of which received the Student Academy Award in 2001 and the Emmy’s National Student Production Award in 2002. In 2020, Keesling was appointed head of animation talent development at Bento Box Entertainment. 

Brian Pimental (Film/Video BFA 86) 

Pimental is a veteran storyboard artist, screenwriter, and director credited in numerous iconic animated films. He notably served as head of story on animated Disney features Tarzan (1999) and A Goofy Movie (1995), both of which earned him Annie Award nominations. Pimental currently serves as the head of story at Skydance Media. 

Mike Rianda (Film/Video 11) 

Rianda is a director, writer, and voice actor whose critically acclaimed sci-fi comedy feature The Mitchells vs. the Machines nabbed multiple Annie Awards and an Academy Award nomination this past awards season, among various other accolades. Rianda and Mitchells co-director Jeff Rowe (Film/Video 11) were named the guests of honor at CalArts’ 2022 Producers’ Show.

Conrad Vernon (Film/Video 92) 

Vernon is a director and writer whose film career began as a storyboard artist in several animated productions, including comedian Steve Martin’s four-minute short “Morto the Magician.” He made his feature directorial debut with DreamWorks Animation’s Academy Award-nominated film Shrek 2 (2004), for which he is credited as a writer and even lent his voice acting talents to the Gingerbread Man character. Vernon and Greg Tiernan recently co-directed the animated retelling of The Addams Family (2019) and its 2021 sequel

A CalArts alum has also been invited to join the Directors branch:

Andrew Ahn (Film/Video MFA 11)

Independent filmmaker Ahn made his directorial debut with his 2016 drama Spa Night, for which he received the coveted John Cassavetes Award at the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards. He is also known for his feature Driveways, and more recently directing Searchlight Pictures’ summer rom-com Fire Island, hailed as a modern retelling of the Jane Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice.

See the full list of creators and executives invited to the class of 2022 in the Academy’s official announcement.

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PUBLISHED BY Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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