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Matt Groening Production Fellowship in Animation

During the 2009-10 academic year, Matt Groening, the multi-Emmy-winning creator of Fox’s The Simpsons, and Barbara Boyle, UCLA TFT’s Associate Dean of Entrepreneurship and Special Initiatives, established the Matt Groening Production Fellowship in Animation, which support UCLA TFT animation students who are producing animated short films with themes of social responsibility.

The impact of Groening’s munificence was immediate in the awards’ first year, when six films were funded. Heart, created by grad student Erick Oh, was one of the six and later became a national finalist at the 38th annual Student Academy Awards. Today, Oh, who graduated from UCLA TFT with distinction in 2010, is an animator at Pixar Animation Studios. He was recently the supervising animator on the short The Dam Keeper, which was a 2015 Academy Award and Annie Award nominee.

Fourteen student animated shorts were underwritten by Groening in the 2013-14 academic year and screened in November 2014, including The Awesome Amazing Hour of Walt the Walnut (Tyler Rice); Breakfast (Heather Paul); Backseat Full of Weird (Joe Statom); Cat Lady (Ben Haist); Currency Affairs (Zehao Xue); The Dress (Rami Kim); Eggplant (Yangzi She); The Fall of Last Leaf (Jing Wang); Goong Goong (Chloe Booher); Having a Ball (Kirsten Murphy); Heads or Tails (Kate Isenberg); Helping Hand (Seung Yoon); Light and Life (Fan Liang); and The Walker (Heather Collins).