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Animation Instructor Wins Prestigious June Foray Award from ASIFA-Hollywood

Mindy Johnson

February 3, 2023

Drexel adjunct instructor of Animation & Visual Effects Mindy Johnson has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the June Foray Award from the Annies/International Animated Film Association (ASIFA-Hollywood). This juried award recognizes individuals who have made a significant or charitable impact on the art and animation industry.

Award-winning author, historian, filmmaker, and preeminent expert on women in early animation, Johnson’s groundbreaking book Ink & Paint – The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation, (Disney Editions) redefines our collective history. This essential volume casts a light on the thousands of unsung female artists behind the creative and technical advances within the animated art form.

“Sharing the knowledge of their accomplishments holds impact -- I see it in my students each quarter, who are among the first to learn of these remarkable women in my history classes,” says Johnson. “As my students move forward with this understanding, they can continue to expand the animation industry into a more balanced and enlightened forum which benefits us all. This honor ensures a better future for the industry and the continuation of the remarkable legacy of women in animation!”

Recipient of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences - AMPAS/ Film Scholar Award, and the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Educators Forum Grant, Mindy’s research continues into the earliest women of animation with several forthcoming books and film projects. Most notably, she recently unearthed the oldest surviving hand-drawn animated and directed films by a woman. This game-changing discovery of Bessie Mae Kelley and her early work at the dawn of animation re-defines the established understanding of our collective past. Kelley’s restored films debuted in their World Premiere at the Academy Motion Picture Museum in Los Angeles - 100 years after their creation.

Mindy’s young-reader volume, Pencils, Pens & Brushes – A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation, (Disney Press) celebrates the contributions of 20 remarkable women within early Disney animation and is a treasure for all ages. Her critically acclaimed debut, Tinker Bell – An Evolution (Disney Editions) was honored with rare consecutive Family Choice Awards, and she is a contributing writer for the epic volume, The Walt Disney Film Archives – The Animated Movies 1921-1968, (Taschen); as well as the celebrated collection, Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man, (Disney Editions).

A sought-after commentator, speaker, lecturer and panelist, Mindy explores a wide range of subjects within her presentations and appearances at numerous studios, campuses, international festivals, and conferences including: The Smithsonian Speakers Series, Ottawa International Animation Festival, NAFF Festival-Bosnia Herzegovina, Lucasfilm, Dreamworks, TCM Classic Film Festival, Film Forum-NYC, D23 Expo, ABC-Network Specials, San Diego ComiCon, CTN Expo, World Animation Festival and more. She has written for numerous international publications and produced record-breaking global campaigns for the film industry.

Mindy’s creative work extends to a wide range of film projects for a growing list of clients, including: AMPAS/, TCM/Turner Broadcasting, WNET/American Masters, SPARK Animation Festival-Vancouver, The Walt Disney Family Museum, The Walt Disney Company, HoriPro Entertainment, Pixar Studios, Primary Wave, SiriusXM Radio and more.

In addition to a background in network television and film production, Mindy is also an award-winning playwright, Grammy-nominated songwriter, musician, and a contributing artist on several internationally acclaimed recordings. When she isn’t speaking, researching, or writing on a myriad of subjects, Mindy also teaches film/animation studies, women’s animation history, screenwriting & intercultural film at CalArts and other campuses in Southern CA in addition to Drexel Westphal.