Animation + VFX Students in the News 

As we recently announced, Woodbury’s dynamic and evolving Animation program is now known as Animation + VFX to better reflect our offerings, our students — and the exciting career opportunities that await them. Here’s an inside look at just a few of our students’ recent projects and accomplishments. We invite you to review our updated Animation + VFX program page and learn more!


We’re thrilled to announce that two recent Woodbury graduates — Lauren Gregorio and Aspen Leavitt — have been named finalists in the 23rd Fine Cut Festival of Films, a showcase for the best short films created by Southern California student filmmakers presented by Los Angeles public broadcaster KCET.

After vetting more than 300 films submitted by up-and-coming filmmakers enrolled in more than 40 Southern California schools, KCET recently announced the 33 finalists whose works will air as a series of six one-hour TV episodes this fall spanning themes of mental health awareness, struggles with racial identity and belonging, and LGBTQ+ issues.

Lauren Gregorio

Lauren Gregorio (Animation ’22) is the student director of Shadow, a story about a girl who learns to cope with the breakup of her family. Woodbury’s first film created with Pixar’s rendering software and the recipient of Conductor’s rendering scholarship, Shadow will air on KCET on Wednesday, October 19, at 10 p.m. PT, and nationwide on Link TV on Thursday, October 20, at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

This marks Lauren’s second time being honored by the Fine Cut festival, as she was also selected as a finalist for her junior film last year, Il Bello di Nonna.

Aspen Leavitt

Aspen Leavitt (Animation, ’22) is the student director of Other Plans, the story of a prospective college student whose life changes forever when community service becomes more than just an obligation. This film from Aspen, who was awarded animation industry-standard software Harmony and Storyboard Pro, will air on KCET on Wednesday, September 28, at 10 p.m. PT, and nationwide on Link TV on Thursday, September 29, at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

In addition to the broadcast debut of these films, all winning projects will be screened in a student showcase at the 2022 Newport Beach Film Festival on October 20 — where three winners in the categories of Documentary, Animation, and Narrative short films will receive a variety of prizes worth over $30,000, and one student will receive the Jack Larson Southern California Student Filmmaker Award in recognition of their strength as a storyteller.

The competition’s semifinalists and finalists will also be invited to a mentor workshop sponsored by Sony Pictures Entertainment at LA Center Studios, an opportunity designed to provide tomorrow’s generation of filmmakers with opportunities to engage with entertainment industry experts in the film, television, animation, and documentary fields.

Read more about the finalists and the viewing schedules in Variety Magazine.


Dithyrambos, a film directed by Andy Mangano (Animation, ’22), was recently selected as a finalist by The Student World Impact Film Festival, a biannual festival that attracts submissions from 5,000+ aspiring student filmmakers in 100+ countries across the globe each year. Andy’s film tells the story of a water spirit who helps a fire spirit cope with her fear of hurting others.


A restaurant rendering by Jeri Baccari (Animation, ’24) was showcased at the SIGGRAPH2022 conference and expo, which took place on August 8–11, 2022, in Vancouver, and is now archived on their website. SIGGRAPH, a highly respected venue for the presentation of new computer graphics technology, art, and interactive techniques, is attended by tens of thousands of computer graphics professionals annually.

We warmly congratulate our Animation + VFX students, who continue to inspire us with their dedication and talent.

Last Updated on August 26, 2022. 

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