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Keith Johnson, Deseret News
Animation student Jared Merrill works on his individual assignment for a short film being made at the BYU Animation lab at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah August 9, 2010.

Every year the animation students at BYU vote on which big project they’ll jointly pursue during the next 12 months. In an article headlined “The Dream Academy” that will run in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, reporter Jon Mooallem uses BYU animation’s annual pitch meeting for upcoming projects as the narrative thread for a thoughtful, long-form article that explores why BYU grads are regularly hired by major animation studies like Pixar and DreamWorks.

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“The animated shorts that B.Y.U. students have made every year since the program started in 2000 … have consistently racked up student Emmys and student Academy Awards,” Mooallem wrote. “They’ve played at Cannes and Sundance. Most important, they’ve impressed recruiters. Out of nowhere, B.Y.U. — a Mormon university owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — has become a farm team for the country’s top animation studios and effects companies. Unlikely as it sounds, young Mormons are being sucked out of the middle of Utah and into the very centers of American pop-culture manufacturing.”

Earlier this month, Katie Harmer reported for the Deseret News, “The BYU Center for Animation continued its decade-long winning streak after winning first place in the animation category (on April 25) for ‘Estefan’ at the 34th College Television Awards.

“The award is the 12th Student Emmy the department has won in the past 10 years. Other award-winning films include ‘Dreamgiver,’ ‘Kites’ and ‘The Pajama Gladiator.

Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.