John Canemaker

Professor/Animation Area Head

Photo of John Canemaker

John Canemaker is an Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning independent animator/designer/director, animation historian, author and teacher.

He won a 2005 Oscar and a 2006 Emmy Award for his 28-min. animated short, The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation.

He has also produced, designed and directed animation sequences for the Oscar-winning HBO documentary, You Don’t Have to Die; the Peabody Award-winning CBS-TV documentary with animation Break the Silence: Kids Against Child Abuse; Yoko Ono’s John Lennon Sketchbook;  Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood (TCM); and Warner Brothers’ The World According to Garp, among many other commercials and sponsored films.  His films are part of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection and are distributed by Milestone Film & Video.

He is a full, tenured professor who, for thirty years, has headed the Animation program at New York University Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film & Television.

In 2009, he received NYU’s Distinguished Teaching Award for “exceptional teaching, inside and outside the classroom.”

A renowned animation historian, John Canemaker has written twelve acclaimed books on subjects ranging from Winsor McCay, Felix the Cat, and Tex Avery, and numerous Disney and Pixar artists (e.g., Mary Blair, Joe Grant, and Walt Disney’s famed Nine Old Men), as well as animation art and techniques (e.g., Disney storyboards (Paper Dreams), concept art (Before the Animation Begins), and special photographic effects (e.g., The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis and the Secrets of Walt Disney’s Movie Magic.

His articles and film/book reviews have appeared through the years in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Print Magazine, and Esopus.

He has curated animation art exhibitions for the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco (The Art of Pinocchio; Magic Color Flair: The World of Mary Blair; Herman Schultheis’ Lost Notebook) and the Katonah (N.Y.) Museum of Art (Dreams in Motion: The Art of Winsor McCay).  For television’s Turner Classic Movies, Canemaker co-hosted, with Robert Osborne, a special hour on the films of Winsor McCay.

He has been honored by ASIFA-Hollywood with its prestigious Winsor McCay Award in recognition of his “career contributions to the art of animation.”  Italy’s Le Giornate Del Cinema Muto awarded him the 2007 Jean Mitry Award, and the 2006 Zagreb Animation Festival gave him a special “Animation Theory” award.

Canemaker has received two residency grants (in 1999 and 2009) at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study Center in Italy; an American Film Insitute grant, and an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Marymount Manhattan College.

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Action Analysis II
Intermediate Production


MFA, Graduate Film, New York University