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Animation Arrives in Syracuse

The region’s public broadcasting station WCNY and Five Peaks Animation, creator of children’s animation, have partnered to help develop the animation industry in Central New York including working in collaboration with the Central New York STEAM High School.

The organizations are working together to produce several educational television series that will be produced locally and will provide skills training and jobs to aspiring and accomplished animators in the region. The series will promote reading and classic literature, teach zoology, oceanography, and wildlife conservation with the goal to distribute the animated shows on WCNY and make them available to other participating PBS stations nationwide.

“The collaboration between STEAM, WCNY, and Five Peaks will bring further innovation to Central New York,” said Mitch Gelman, President and CEO at WCNY. “Our high school students will gain hands-on experience working on animated television shows and will be recognized in the series’ credits.”

As part of this effort, WCNY and Five Peaks Animation will align with the Syracuse City School District to establish a pilot program in animation for the Central New York STEAM school. Until the STEAM school opens in 2023 in the former Central High School building in downtown Syracuse, Five Peaks will begin training students from the Syracuse City School District and surrounding school districts in all aspects of animation at WCNY’s facility on the Near Westside in The Robert J. Daino Broadcast and Education Center.
The training will include 2D and 3D animation, illustration, audio production, visual effects, script writing, and editing.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our students in Central New York and the STEAM High School,” said Syracuse City School Superintendent Jaime Alicea. “This type of collaboration is exactly what we envisioned when we started planning for the STEAM High School and I am thrilled that we will be able to offer this training,” added Alicea.

Five Peaks Animation founder Monte Young, has worked in the entertainment industry for two decades. He has produced, written and directed feature films, including ‘Hitters,’ ‘Survivors,’ ‘Gasp,’ and ‘The Wave.’ Recently, Young turned his focus to producing and directing animation, including a series, ‘EmergenSea,’ which teaches children about marine conservation. “Our goal is to educate kids through story and entertainment,” said Young. “With the STEAM school, we also have the opportunity to teach local students both the artistic and technical skills needed to create and produce animation.”

Originally from Liverpool, New York, Young worked in Los Angeles and South Florida, and has returned to Central New York with his wife and daughter to be closer to family and friends. He works with veteran animation and visual effects professional Dean Lyon, who has contributed to hundreds of international television commercials and more than 50 feature films including ‘Armageddon’, ‘Independence Day’, ‘Air Force One’ and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. A world-renowned visual effects creator, Lyon will relocate to Syracuse in the Spring.


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