Sony Pictures Imageworks Awards $50,000 in Scholarships for the Second Year in a Row to Next Generation of Visual Effects and Animation Leaders

Four Outstanding Students at IPAX Member Schools Selected to Receive Grants


Sony Pictures Imageworks president Tim Sarnoff is proud to announce its second annual scholarship winners, presented this year to four students currently enrolled at academic institutions affiliated with IPAX, Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation's Professional Academic Excellence program.

The IPAX scholarship top prize winner is Luis Rodrigo Huerta of Texas A&M. Through the IPAX scholarship fund, Luis will receive tuition money towards his master's degree at Texas A&M in visualization and the online character animation courses he is taking through Animation Mentor.

"This is an exciting and unexpected turn of events for us to see a student's work benefit from attending two IPAX schools concurrently. It is the best of both worlds and a true vision of collaboration in education to produce outstanding talent", said Sande Scoredos, Executive Director of Training & Artist Development at Imageworks and the head of the IPAX program at the facility. "Tim McLaughlin, Chair of the Texas A&M Visualization Lab and Bobby Beck, founder of Animation Mentor are both to be commended for their excellent contribution and are extremely proud of Luis Rodrigo and this IPAX award."

The other scholarship recipients are Jorge Garcia, a talented character animator from Ringling College of Art & Design, Rogelio Olguin from The School of Visual Arts submitted outstanding examples of painting and lighting, and Christian Haniszewski, also from the School of Visual Arts demonstrated a keen aptitude for character modeling and rigging.

Each scholarship winner is currently enrolled full-time at their IPAX member school and is pursuing the goal of a professional career in animation, visual effects, or technology. Scholarships are solely merit based. The selection committee, consisting of Imageworks visual effects and animation supervisors, producers, executives and recruiters, carefully reviewed each essay, reel and portfolio, looking for the very best use of digital technology and a passion and understanding of visual effects and animation. A record number of applicants submitted this year and the four recipients represent exceptional work of the highest standards.

"The competition this year was amazing. The work submitted was truly outstanding and the winners represent the best of the best -- these are students who we want to track and keep in touch with before, during and after graduation. Our intent is to see these talented students enter the exciting world of animation and visual effects and we hope these artists will want to work at Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation. We are very excited to see Jim McCampbell at Ringling and Bobby S. Beck at Animation Mentor continue with their great animation programs and it is especially rewarding to see two of our newest IPAX members receive awards; School of Visual Arts and Texas A & M", said Imageworks' Barry Weiss, senior vice president, animation production and artist development.

The IPAX program was created in 2005, under the leadership of Scoredos, with the intent to educate faculty and structure curricula at leading academic institutions in an effort to develop future talent who will contribute to the overall growth of the visual effects and animation industry.

IPAX is a professional development program designed to share, extend and expand the Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation knowledge base. In addition to providing IPAX member schools the opportunity to attend in-house training programs and experience a working production environment, giving instructors valuable knowledge and skills to return to the classroom with, the program also provides a collaborative global knowledge exchange between IPAX member schools and faculty, their students and Imageworks. The IPAX Scholarship Program encourages the best of each member school to continue his or her pursuit of a quality education and to enter the visual effects and animation industry.

For more information on IPAX and The IPAX Scholarship Program, please visit

About Sony Pictures Imageworks

Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. is an Academy Award® winning, state-of- the-art digital production studio dedicated to the art of visual effects production and character animation. The Imageworks production environment facilitates distinctive pipelines including live-action visual effects and character work, Imagemotion™ performance capture, all CG animation and Imageworks 3D stereoscopic.

The company's achievements have been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with Oscars® for its work on SPIDER-MAN™ 2 and the CG animated short film THE CHUBBCHUBBS!. In 2008, SURF'S UP was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In 2007, two of Imageworks' projects, the all-CG animated feature MONSTER HOUSE and SUPERMAN RETURNS, were nominated for Academy Awards in the Best Animated Feature and Outstanding Achievement in Visual Effects respectively. With those two nominations, Imageworks became the first studio to be recognized in the same year in these distinct areas, an indication of the diversity and quality of the company's capabilities. Other Oscar® nominated projects include THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, SPIDER-MAN™, HOLLOW MAN, STUART LITTLE and STARSHIP TROOPERS, for a total of nine nominations.

Imageworks most recently completed projects include HANCOCK, SPEED RACER, BEOWULF, and I AM LEGEND.

Imageworks maintains operations in Culver City, CA; Novato, CA; Albuquerque, New Mexico and Chennai, India.

Sony Pictures Imageworks is part of Sony Pictures Digital Production division.

For more information, please visit "ACADEMY AWARD®" and "OSCAR®" are the registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. MARVEL, and all Marvel characters including the Spider-Man, Sandman and Venom characters ™ & ©2007 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

About Sony Pictures Animation:

Sony Pictures Animation exemplifies the next generation of CGI storytelling to produce a variety of animated entertainment for audiences around the world. Sony Pictures Animation is developing a full slate of films with CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS now in production. Its second film, SURF'S UP, was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature and won two Annie Awards. Its first film, OPEN SEASON, was a box office success and the #2 DVD title of the year for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) in 2007. A sequel, OPEN SEASON 2, is now in production for SPHE. Sony Pictures Animation is an operating unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions.

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SOURCE: Sony Pictures Animation

CONTACT: Rachel Falikoff of Sony Pictures Imageworks, +1-310-840-8789,

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