SIGGRAPH 2019: Bringing the Community Together

This year marked the 46th SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques) in Los Angeles, the heart of the CG industry. With almost 20,000 attendees from around the world, SIGGRAPH is the largest conference on computer graphics art, animation and interactive techniques. My participation this year is slightly different than usual… I was more active in panels, studio visits as well as alumni outreach… Here are the highlights!

Representing the lead for the NYC Chapter of Women in Animation, I was part of the panel “"Building WIA Chapters: Vancouver, NYC, Montreal and More” within the Women in Animation Summit at SIGGRAPH. I got to share my experience co-leading the NYC chapter, my collaborations with other local organizations and the many challenges that the chapter is facing in its efforts to reach the goal of 50/50 by 2025. My SVA colleague, Jimmy Calhoun, chair of BFA Computer Art, was part of the panel “Supporting Students of Animation.” The panel discussed how to manage the cultural and technical challenges faced by students leaving animation schools and entering the workforce.

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I was also part of the "Women in CG" panel where I shared the stage with Sidney Clifton, executive producer, Deluxe Animation Studios; Kaitlyn Yang, founder and visual effects supervisor, Alpha Studios; Katie Bouman, post-doctoral fellow, MIT; and moderator Diana Arellano, chair of ACM SIGGRAPH External Relations. It was such an honor to be sitting side-by-side with these outstanding female leads in their industry. I’ve learned just as much as the audience did by listening to their stories, where they came from and what led to where they are in their careers. Most important, we get to discuss what is still left to be done to support more women in their chosen fields.

Stepping out of the convention center, I got to visit several studios, including Buck LA, Frederator, Netflix, Bento Box Entertainment and Warner Brothers Animation. It did not come as a surprise that I ran into many familiar faces, SVA alumni and friends in the industry. However the highlight is indeed the moment when I finally got to meet Dony Permidi, the filmmaker for “Kiwi!” It is a 3D animated short about a kiwi bird’s journey on making the most effort to achieve their goal. Dony and I had corresponded many times over the course of several years and I finally got to meet him in person. What an honor! Thank you, all the studios for hosting us. Special thanks to Branko Kljajic (BFA 2017 Animation), who currently working as an animator, guided this special private tour.

Last but not least, there was the amazing SVA x SIGGRAPH reception where alumni and friends of the industry were all invited for conversation and inspiration. In addition to this reception, I also got many chances to meet with BFA Animation alumni across parts of LA. Thank you, everyone for coming out to reconnect!

Hsiang Chin Moe
Named Inaugural BFA Animation Chair at SVA

I still can't believe this is actually happening, this new chapter of my career and life. Thank you, School of Visual Arts and all my colleagues as well as friends in the animation community. Let's paint this world with colors of all the amazing stories we are going to tell together.

Below is the press release of my new appointment at SVA and it can be found on Animation Magazine.

Date: August 1, 2019
School of Visual Arts (SVA) President David Rhodes has announced the appointment of Hsiang Chin Moe as chair of the College’s BFA Animation program, effective August 1. She is the first chair of this program, which was formerly joined with SVA’s BFA Film department. Moe previously served as the director of operations for the New York City school’s MFA Computer Arts department and brings a decade of teaching experience to her new role.

Moe first joined the SVA community in 2006 as a student in the MFA Computer Arts program, where she simultaneously began her career in advertising, VFX and animation. She found her way back to SVA and joined the administrative staff of the department, eventually becoming director of operations. As a leader in this program, she oversaw curriculum development, recruitment of staff, faculty, visiting artists, guest lecturers and students, and has taught courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. She also acts as an advisor on MFA thesis projects. Moe was selected as the 2017 recipient of SVA’s Distinguished Staff Award.

Moe is an active member of the global animation community, working with animation executives, recruiters and artists to foster talents all over the world. In addition to organizing and moderating an annual talent panel at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, she has made her own documentary, short and animated films that have screened in the United States and abroad, including Japan, Sweden, Taiwan and Thailand.

“It is my extreme honor and privilege to continue the success of BFA Animation, that was built upon the great achievements of alumni of the SVA animation community. Being the connection between education and industry has been my true passion and I am grateful to be given this special opportunity to expand my role as an educator for the animation community,” said Moe.

Moe regularly represents SVA as a panelist, presenter and organizer at major international conferences and festivals, including FMX Conference, VIEW Conference, SIGGRAPH, Ottawa Animation Festival, New York Comic Con and New York Foundation of the Arts. She acted as associate director of the New York Digital Salon, working to create international dialogue and partnerships to celebrate digital animation, video, games and interactive installations. She now serves as co-lead of the New York City chapter of the Women in Animation organization, where she works alongside the industry’s leading artists, filmmakers and recruiters to create an equal and supportive platform for everyone in the creative industry.

The BFA Animation program at SVA comprises more than 300 students, more than 30 faculty, and 39 courses that cover everything from innovative drawing techniques, to methods of storytelling and storyboarding, and professional software in the College’s HD digital compositing lab. Graduates of the program have gone to work for Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Warner Bros. Animation, Blue Sky Studios, Nickelodeon, Lucasfilm Animation, Sony Pictures Animation and independent animation studios around the world. SVA has 6,000 students across all programs at its Manhattan campus and 38,000 alumni in 75 countries.

For information, visit sva.edu.

Hsiang Chin Moe
Digital Taipei - Bridging the Gap between Industry & Education

I always see myself right in the middle between the animation education and industry. I am that invisible line connecting these two important dots. Often times, I get to share what I know at different animation film festivals. This summer, I found myself speaking the same topic but in Mandarin at “Digital Taipei 2019”, a B2B trade fair of digital content industry of Taiwan. My presentation is called “Bridging the Gap between Animation Industry and Education” where I got to share what my experience has been like working at School of Visual Arts as an educator and my take on working with the animation industry leaders, recruiters, and artists on fostering talent.

During this one-day forum, there are also many speakers sharing their expertise, including LeSean Thomas, Director and Creator of Cannon Busters on Netflix, leaders of the industries from Bilibili, HTC Vive Originals, Greener Grass Production, Tracking Troops VFX and Jonathan Lin, Modeler at DreamWorks Animation.

Special thanks to Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US and its Investment and Trade Office for making this trip happen.

Hsiang Chin Moe
Annecy 2019: Celebrating Animation and Education from Around the World

Below is a excerpt of my recap for this year’s trip to Annecy, featured on SVA website.

"Lapin!" the audience screamed at the top of their lungs every time a rabbit appeared on screen as part of the signature film for the Annecy International Animation Festival. This is one of many fun traditions at this festival in southeastern France and this year was no different. The energy of the room was full of passion and excitement from animation lovers from across the world, for whom Annecy International Animation Festival is the place to be.

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The entire SVA team had a packed schedule at this year's festival, full of panels, screenings and industry events. On Monday, Women in Animation (WIA) and Les Femmes s'Animent (LFA) hosted their third annual WIA World Summit, where I was part of the Supporting Students of Animation panel, moderated by Brendan Burch, CEO of Six Point Harness and chair of students at WIA. The fellow panelists were Deb Stone, director of recruiting and talent development at Blue Sky Studios and co-lead of WIA NYC; and Cecile Carre, 2D animator at The SPA Studios. We discussed how to handle the high volume of female students, many from abroad; the cultural and technical challenges in animation schools; and how industry and education can work together to create a supportive and practical bridge between schools and studios.

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On Tuesday, I moderated my annual talent panel during the Mifa Campus that is specifically designed for talents to learn about not only the latest productions from studios, but also practical tips on how to enter the industry at different stages of their careers. The panel Master Your Career in Animation mixes recruiters and hiring managers across from animation and VFX industry. They included Antonio Canobbio, SVP and CCO of Titmouse Inc. from U.S.; Amélie Chicoye, Project Manager of Illumination Mac Guff from France; Ian Landman, Senior Recruitment Manager of Framestore from U.K.; and Roisin Mcintosh, Recruitment Manager of Brown Bag Films from Ireland & U.K. This year, the panelists put together a series of examples to not only talk about how to put together a portfolio and reel, but really show actual work on what the best practice is in order to stand out from the competition. One of the attendees, Arnau Ferrer from Spain, event posted a beautiful drawing from the panel to his Instagram account.

On Wednesday, Warner Bros. Animation presented Looney Tunes cartoons and their creators (the company premiered its latest short, "Mummy Dummy," at the festival's opening ceremony earlier in the week), including alumnus and storyboard artist Michael Ruocco (BFA 2011 Animation). Later in the evening, the SVA team was invited to Netflix's celebration for its upcoming animated feature Klaus. Throughout the week, there were many other events where the team reconnected with alumni, including Phil Rynda (BFA 2003 Animation) from Netflix; Rebecca Sugar (BFA 2009 Animation) and Ian Jones-Quartey (BFA 2006 Animation) from Cartoon Network; and Dana Terrace (BFA 2013 Animation) from Disney.

Thursday was another highlight for the SVA team, with an industry dinner co-hosted by Pearl Studio and MFA Computer Arts. It was a night of Chinese dining in France where international animation industry professionals mingled over a family-style feast. The guests included Sergio Pablos, director of Klaus; animator Bill Plympton (SVA 1969 Cartooning); Alexandre Heboyan, director of Mune: Guardian of the Moon; Delphine Selles-Alvarez, film curator at French Institute Alliance Francaise; Tiffany Feeney from Talent Output; Chi Sui Wang, dean of the office of international affairs at Taipei National University of the Arts; and Will Feng, animation producer, and Ben Kalina, COO, of Titmouse, among many others. The event was organized by me along with Hank Abbott, preproduction manager and Justian Huang, head of development at Pearl Studio. The event ended with everyone holding up their glasses and cheering in Chinese, "乾杯!"

This is my seventh year attending Annecy and the eighth year where SVA was represented. Over the years, I've witnessed the tremendous growth in the festival in terms of the number of attendees, the variety of the film premieres and selections and the industry's undivided attention to the animation lovers. Sitting in the theatre should-to-shoulder with people who share the same passion as you about animation is the best feeling ever. We cheer, we cry, and we clap at the same time. These are the moments that remind us, as educators, why we do what we do. We want to bring this worldly perspective back to SVA and we also want to bring our unique voices of SVA talents to all corners of the world.

Thank you as always, Annecy! We will see you again in 2020!

Hsiang Chin Moe
Women in Animation NYC Chapter Relaunch

Nope, never busy enough, especially for the right cause! Two days after I got back from a month-long trip to Asia, I found myself back in NY in a room full of passionate creatives who share the same goal of supporting everyone in the creative industry. I can’t be more grateful for the opportunity to work alongside of everyone. Happy WIA NYC!

So… how did this start?… Earlier this year, in a restaurant in Stuttgart, Germany, Deb Stone, Director of Recruiting & Talent Development and I sat down for a quick lunch during this crazy and fun week of FMX Conference. The conversation of Women in Animation was brought up and very quickly within months, two of us plus Mark Osborne, Director, Writer, Producer and Animator, formed the leadership team as Co-Leads with the goal of relaunching the WIA NYC Chapter, which was originally established by Lisa Goldman, Animation Content Creator and Writer and a dear mentor of mine. Our mission is to continue the legacy that Lisa has built and bring the creative community in the NYC area closer for greater support of women in the industry.

The support comes from all corners of different studios and schools, especially SVA & Blue Sky Studios. The relaunch party was amazingly successful and we can’t thank the members, both new and existing, for making it possible. Cheers to an exciting 2019 for all of us.

Photo credits - @antelmostudio & Shunya Chang

A Month Long Outreach Trip to Asia - Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei

There is no easy way to pack for this trip! 8,000 miles away, I found myself in three amazing cities along with my SVA colleague in Asia. According to SVA report, during this fast-paced tour, we met over 140 alumni (representing 17 degree programs), 80 students from eight different schools (more than 100 more from schools I personally visited), 12 companies and 5 libraries. Read the full recap on SVA website.

In addition to SVA main outreach trip, I set aside some time to visit a few schools on my own and they are: Myongji University, National Taiwan Normal University, Shih Chien University, University of Taipei, and Kuando International Animation Festival hosted by Taipei National University of the Arts.

Needless to say, I am very grateful for this opportunity for me to reconnect with SVA alumni, industry leaders and most importantly my dear friends. I miss you all very much and look forward to another fun reunion in the very near future. Cheers!

Annual Trip to Annecy - Busy and Fun as Always!

2018 marks the 6th year I’ve been attending Annecy International Animated Film Festival and I am proud to say that this trip is the most insanely productive and busy of all. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to moderate two panels with such great opportunities working with all the studios while representing SVA.

For the “Crafting Your Future in Animation/VFX” panel, it is very close to my heart because helping out talents is what I enjoy the most at SVA. As an educator, there is nothing more satisfying to see students and talents from all over the world learn, grow and find their ways in their future artistic careers. For this panel, I got to work with recruiters from LAIKA, Illumination Entertainment, Illumination Mac Guff and Titmouse!

As for the “Tickling Your Brain with VR panel, it was a great challenge for me to mix such different professional points of view on the topic of VR and they are researcher, tool-maker, artist, filmmaker, director and producer. No one has all the right answers to everything yet, technically speaking so it was fun to hear from all experts. The hardest part of me is to have two sets of questions for the panels because how different their perspectives are. At the end of the panel, I shared a photograph of my grandmother who is now 94 years old. It is her sitting on her bed playing with her iPad. She comes from the generation that there wasn't even electricity when growing up but she now finds company in this white electronic box in her hands. I think VR is the same thing that we will take for granted in the very near future.

More more recap, please visit SVA’s write-up here.

Hsiang Chin Moe
Denim Dudettes in NYC

Published by Rizzoli, Amy Leverton, the denim fortune teller, gathers a group of denim dudettes to show how denim inspires the creativity and trends around the world. Yup! I am in it!

Special thanks to lovely friend, Ponytail Journal for the great write-up about all of us in NYC. Read more here.

What? You want a copy too?! Awww… here it is!

Hsiang Chin Moe
Young Voice's "Virtual Reality" Lecture at Taipei Film Festival

Fubon Art Foundation once again collaborated with the Taipei Film Festival and launched a series of lectures for teenagers to be selected to be the jurors of the year. The lecture series included 5 feature films and 8 short films in addition to a special topic on “Storytelling in Virtual Reality” by Hsiang Chin Moe.

Hsiang Chin Moe
Insights from NYC Creative Technology Labs & Studios

During Creative Tech Week in 2016, I was invited to be on the panel representing School of Visual Arts along with fellow artists and educators from Eyebeam, Parsons School of Design and NYC Media Lab. We got to share what is in R&D and what’s trending in digital media, interaction design and multidisciplinary collaborations. To read more, visit Amy Chen’s blog.

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Hsiang Chin Moe