'SIMPSONS' CREATOR MATT GROENING MAKES TRANSFORMATIONAL GIFT TO TFT
Matt Groening, the award-winning creator of “The Simpsons,” has bestowed a major gift to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television to create The Matt Groening Chair in Animation at TFT, announced Dean Teri Schwartz.
The endowment will enable the animation program to bring master artists and working professionals with wide ranging expertise to work with TFT students, some of whom would not normally be available in the animation curriculum.
“Matt Groening is recognized globally as a preeminent and pioneering animator, storyteller, cartoonist, writer and producer. His groundbreaking animated series have truly changed the landscape of television and have become a gold standard for animation and great storytelling throughout the entertainment industry,” said Dean Schwartz.
“We are so inspired by Matt’s vision, and truly honored by his remarkable generosity and support of our Animation Program,” she continued. “Our TFT animation program is known for its exceptional and diverse talent from across the globe who create outstanding, award-winning innovative works year in and year out. With this amazing gift, Matt has given our students enormous support and ensured that we will be able to take our program to even greater levels of excellence. Our animation students will benefit greatly from this endowment and it will reinforce TFT’s continuing position as a premier professional school of entertainment and performing arts. Thank you, Matt Groening.”
The 23-year series reign of “The Simpsons” makes it the longest-running television comedy of all time. Groening’s creative talents have resulted in his receiving 13 Emmy nominations, 12 Emmy wins, the 2002 National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award and a 2004 British Comedy Award.
In 2007, Groening was ranked fourth (and highest American by birth) in Britain’s Daily Telegraph list of “Top 100 Living Geniuses.” Later this month, Groening will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His iconic brand of satire and social commentary is evident throughout dozens of “Simpsons” specials, spin-offs and feature films as well as the “Futurama” series, numerous books, merchandising and more.
This is also the second year of The Matt Groening Initiative. Pioneered by Groening and Barbara Boyle, Chair of the School’s Film, Television and Digital Media Department, Groening’s annual gift for this initiative supports animation students producing short animated films with social responsibility themes. The first year of The Matt Groening Initiative’s support led TFT’s Erick Oh to be named a Student Academy Award Finalist in 2011 for his film “Heart.” Oh graduated with distinction and is now an animator at Pixar Animation Studios.
— Posted February 14, 2012