SOFA takes the Big Apple

May 31, 2017

Thumbnail for SOFA takes the Big Apple
Thumbnail for SOFA takes the Big Apple

Thumbnail image by Naghmeh Farzaneh

A dozen School of Film and Animation students, accompanied by faculty, made their way to New York City last week for enriching and informational tours as well as a meetup with CIAS alumni.

SOFA assistant professor Mari Jaye Blanchard and visiting lecturer Naghmeh Farzaneh took nine soon-to-be seniors and three graduate students — all animators — to the Big Apple to check out notable animation studios. The group’s itinerary consisted of visits to Nickelodeon, Sesame Workshop, Blue Sky and Hornet.

The students who partook in the experience that spanned from May 23-26 are: Mackenzie Bates, Bob Brewster, Grace Boos, Joe Hurley, Andrea Carvalho, Isabel Marte, Katie McMahon, Mika Nizinski, Miranda Sider, Luke Polito, Nicholas Vernon and Nelson Caliguia.

Above photo by Louis Henry Mitchell of Sesame Workshop: SOFA students pose with one of the original Sesame Street Elmos. To the left of Elmo, from left to right, clockwise: Grace Boos, Nelson Caliguia, Joe Hurley, Mackenzie Bates, Mika Nizinski and Miranda Sider. To the right of Elmo, from left to right: Nicholas Vernon, Bob Brewster, Katie McMahon, Andrea Carvalho, Isabel Marte, Luke Polito, Mari Jaye Blanchard, Sarah Rebar (Sesame Workshop) and Naghmeh Farzaneh.

In addition to the exploring the studios, the RIT crew also attended an alumni gathering hosted by 2009 SOFA alumnus Adam Richlin. The event was held at Lightbulb Grip and Electric Company, the Brooklyn-based, full-service lighting equipment rental house Richlin owns.

Close to 70 RIT College of Imaging Arts and Sciences alumni attended. The graduation years included 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2017.

Prior to the event, six CIAS alumni from different backgrounds — Chad Carbone (SOFA), Joe Catanzano (SOFA), Andrew Maruska (graphic design), Ralph Mastromonaco (new media design), Richlin and Sean Vickery (new media design) — led a panel discussion with the current SOFA students. The graduates detailed how RIT prepared them for their careers, the surprises that met all of them when they moved to New York City and the challenges they have faced as professionals. 

Photo by Mari Jaye Blanchard: RIT CIAS alumni interact with current SOFA students during the panel discussion.