Jacqueline Devine, Las Cruces Sun-News
Published 1:09 p.m. MT June 16, 2019
LAS CRUCES – Alexander Santiago has been selected as one of six finalists out of over more than 500 global applicants to be considered for a full-ride animation scholarships to Vancouver Film School in Canada awarded by accomplished Pixar animator and director Michal Makarewicz.
According to the VFS, Santiago will receive a partial scholarship no matter what. Makarewicz is awarding more than $250,000 in scholarship and partial scholarships.
Makarewicz’s impressive résumé includes classic animated films such as “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “WALL-E,” “Up,” “Toy Story 3,” and “Finding Dory,” just to name a few.
“It would mean the world to me to be hand chosen by Mr. Makarewicz. It makes me feel validated as an artist and I’m ready to take it to the next level,” Santiago said.
Santiago, 29, is a graduate of New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute.
He is currently teaching as an adjunct instructor at NMSU and would like to continue working as a full-time professor.
Santiago was also recently hired by Color Switch, a mobile game App on Google Play.
“I really like teaching but I need to get a master’s degree to be able to teach full-time at the university,” Santiago said. “I was looking and I found the Vancouver Film School. They’re listed as the number one Global Animation School of 2019 by Animation Career Review Magazine. Even though it’s not a master’s degree program they have that scholarship listed and I figured it’s a full-ride scholarship, so I might as well take a shot and see what I get to do.”
The scholarship is valued at $50,000.
Santiago said he would still like to teach but he also wants to spread his wings and see how far he can go as an animator.
“A part of me would like to go see if I can work at any of the big studios. I definitely would love to work in the industry,” he said. “They have a lot of connections in Vancouver and a lot of studios out there.”
Santiago said he was ecstatic to found out he was top six finalist for the scholarship and is anxiously waiting for the scholarship recipient announcement.
“I had forgotten that I applied initially because it took them a little while to get back to me and I didn’t think I had gotten it until I heard back,” Santiago said. “It made me feel fantastic to be top six out of hundreds.”
VFS spokesman Christopher Bennett said the winner of the scholarship will be announced this week.
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