Award-winning author, historian and School of Film/Video faculty member Mindy Johnson has been named a 2019 Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. The grant is annually awarded to scholars who develop “significant new works of film scholarship,” with the aim of attracting new audiences for motion picture works, promoting diversity, and creating opportunities. The Academy’s Educational Grants Committee awards honorees with $25,000 on the basis of their grant proposals.
Johnson seeks to recalibrate the current understanding of animation and “support a more gender-balanced approach to film history” through her work. She recently released Pencils, Pens and Brushes – A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation, a book for young readers that celebrates pioneering female animators and showcases their work, heretofore never thoroughly researched or documented. The work, which includes illustrations by Disney artist Lorelay Bové (Film/Video BFA 07), is a follow-up to her 2018 book Ink and Paint, the Women of Walt Disney Animation. Johnson is currently working on Women Who Transformed Our Animated Past (working title), which will include a database of resources and a curriculum. In mid-September, Johnson will also teach a class at CalArts about the legacy of women in animation.
Johnson shares the honor with Allyson Nadia Field, author and associate professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. Field was selected for her book Minstrelsy-Vaudeville-Cinema: American Popular Culture and Racialized Performance in Early Film, an exploration of minstrelsy and its impact on American cinema and popular culture.