Sony Pictures Imageworks' and Sony Pictures Animation's IPAX Education Program Partners With Animation Mentor to Create State-of-the-Art Online Mentor Program

Program Pairs Top Students from 18 IPAX Member Schools from Around the World with Top Sony Pictures Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation Artists, and Leverages Animation Mentor's Learning Model and the School's Proprietary Interactive Online Technology


Sony Pictures Imageworks' and Sony Pictures Animation's IPAX education program announced today the launch of its new online mentor program which will begin in the winter of 2009, and will leverage Animation Mentor's unique learning model and state-of-the-art online technology. The three-month program will pair top students from 18 IPAX member schools from around the world with top Sony Pictures Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation artists who will provide individual online mentoring, training, and guidance. Animation Mentor's innovative mentor/apprentice teaching model and online learning platform will enable Sony mentors to work with students to help them develop their skills and grow their craft. Tools include live video conference question and answer sessions with mentors, video guest lectures with industry experts, and eCritiques® where mentors can provide video commentary while drawing directly on the student's work to illustrate their concepts.

IPAX, Sony Pictures Imageworks' and Sony Pictures Animation's professional education development program was created in 2004 to connect faculty from leading academic institutions with industry professionals.

"We continue to lead the way in working with top schools to bring new solutions to the industry," said Barry Weiss, senior vice president of animation and artist development and chair of the IPAX collaboration initiative. "We're very excited about this opportunity to showcase how IPAX schools can work together to develop cooperative and collaborative programs that will propel aspiring digital artists forward in their career. Animation Mentor's innovative technology and teaching methodology is the ideal medium for our new mentorship program."

"We are honored to extend our interactive student experience to the IPAX education program and be the first to support IPAX in creating this exciting new knowledge center for the digital arts industry," said Bobby Beck, chief executive officer and cofounder of Animation Mentor. "There is nothing more valuable than the guidance a professional can give a budding animator who is honing their craft. This partnership really validates the unique teaching model Animation Mentor embodies and the powerful technology we've created to support an incredible learning experience -- no matter where you are on the planet."

This is an opportunity for IPAX member schools to engage future visual effects and animation professionals with the mentor/apprenticeship learning model perfected by Animation Mentor's online teaching program. Top students from the 18 IPAX member schools will be selected through an application process where student work is reviewed by Sony artists and matched with an appropriate Sony artist/mentor. The program is designed specifically for advanced students who are working on a range of special projects including short films, animation or visual effects. Sony mentors will give students individual input and feedback to help guide their work and perfect their skills over the course of the program.

The program is limited to students from IPAX member schools. Their respective faculty will initially recommend candidates who will ultimately be selected based on the quality of their work. For more information about IPAX and member schools, visit

About Sony Pictures Digital Production (Sony Pictures Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation)

Sony Pictures Digital Production is the digital production center of Sony Pictures and comprises Sony Pictures Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation. Sony Pictures Imageworks is a leading, state-of-the-art digital animation and visual effects studio creating computer-generated imaging (CGI) for motion pictures through its live action, all CG animation, performance capture and 3D stereoscopic capabilities. Its work has been recognized with two Academy Awards® and numerous honors. Imageworks also houses Imageworks Interactive, a full service creative group that produces websites and supports digital marketing for the studio and outside clients. Sony Pictures Animation develops and produces CG animated feature films from storyboard to screens. Both its full-length features, Open Season, released in 2006, and 2007's Surf's Up, were critically acclaimed and have together accumulated close to $350 million in worldwide box office revenue. Surf's Up also received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature in 2007. Sony Pictures Animation is currently producing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Smurfs for Columbia Pictures and Open Season 2 for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

About Animation Mentor (

Animation Mentor is a state-of-the-art online education and mentorship program teaching students the skills needed to succeed as a professional animator in the studio environment. Focused 100% on character animation, the 18-month program is designed and taught by some of the industry's top professional animators from top studios. Animation Mentor's online campus environment provides students around the world with a convenient, flexible, and accessible learning environment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By graduation, every student will have worked in a production-style environment with mentors who are working studio animators. Students learn how to accept guidance and criticism, to meet deadlines and to budget and schedule their time to succeed in the working world. The program leads students to a diploma in Advanced Studies in Character Animation and is built with a focus on production studio skills, allowing students to get comfortable with the many challenges and opportunities they will experience when working in a studio environment. Upon graduation, Animation Mentor coaches graduates and connects them to job opportunities with major recruiters, video game companies, and film studios. For more information, visit

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SOURCE: Sony Pictures Imageworks

CONTACT: Rachel Falikoff of Sony Pictures Digital Production,
+1-310-840-8789,; or Erica Garver, +1-971-570-3291,, or Christy Caplan, +1-503-412-8850,, or Spencer Crandall, +1-503-735-4038,, or On deadline? Send a message to, all of Sundrop Media, for Animation Mentor

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