John Canemaker

Professor/Animation Area Head

Photo of John Canemaker

John Canemaker is an internationally recognized animator, author, teacher, and animation historian. THE MOON AND THE SON: AN IMAGINED CONVERSATION, his 28-minute autobiographical film, won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Animated Short and a 2006 Emmy Award.  He has designed and directed animation for numerous commercial projects, including the Warner Bros. feature The World According To Garp; TCM's Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood; and CBS' Break the Silence: Kids Against Child Abuse, which have won for their sponsors an Oscar, Emmy Awards, Ace Award and Peabody Award.

He is the recipient of grants from the American Film Institute, PBS, and a Rockefeller Foundation Residency Grant in Bellagio, Italy. His independently-produced animated shorts, which are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, and on a Milestone Films DVD titled John Canemaker: Marching to a Different Toon. One of America's most respected animation historians, Canemaker is the author of twelve acclaimed books, including "Winsor McCay: His Life and Art," “The Art and Flair of Mary Blair,” and "The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis and the Secrets of Walt Disney's Movie Magic." His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Print magazine.

Canemaker was creative consultant and on-camera/audio commentator for the DVDs The Fantasia Anthology; Dumbo; Winsor McCay: The Master Edition; Walt and El Grupo; Frank and Ollie; Tex Avery's Droopy; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, among others. He has appeared on NBC's Today Show, PBS' News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and co-hosted with Robert Osborne a TCM program on the films of Winsor McCay. Canemaker has lectured throughout the United States and in Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Wales. In 2014 he curated a major Mary Blair exhibition at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.

A tenured professor at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, where he began teaching animation in 1980, Canemaker has directed the Animation Program since 1988. He was Acting Chair of the NYU Undergraduate Film and Television Department from 2001-2002. The John Canemaker Animation Collection, part of the Fales Collection in Bobst Library at New York University, is an archival resource that opened to scholars and students in 1989. Professor Canemaker was a 2009 Recipient of NYU's Distinguished Teaching Award for "exceptional teaching inside and outside the classroom."


Action Analysis II
Intermediate Production


MFA, Graduate Film, New York University