School of Cinematic Arts Directory Profile

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Sheila Sofian, M.F.A.

Professor of Cinematic Arts

Affiliated Divisions:

Expanded Animation

Work Phone: 213.740.7595

Sheila M. Sofian creates films that investigate social issues utilizing a unique hybrid of animation and documentary. She has produced, directed, and animated seven independent animated films. Sofian has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, and the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, among others. Her award-winning films have been exhibited internationally.

Awards include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the CineToro Film Festival in Colombia, Best Animated Film and Grand Jury Prize, New Orleans Film Festival, Best Animated Film, Humboldt International Short Film Festival, Best Animated Film, Ojai Film Festival, First Prize, World Animation Celebration, First prize, Animation, Central Florida Film & Video Festival, a CINE Golden Eagle Award, Grand Prize, International Festival of Non-Professional Cinema, France, a Student Academy Award, and Best of Show Award, New England Film Festival.

Professor Sofian has taught painting-on-glass and documentary animation workshops internationally Colombia, Japan,  China, and Spain.  She developed curriculum and designed coursework for Documentary Animation Production and has written on the subject.

In addition, Sofian’s films have exhibited internationally, including MoMA, Annecy Animation Festival, the Ottawa International Animation Festival, Hiroshima International Animation Festival, Zagreb Animation Festival, and CaixaForum in Barcelona, Spain. Her films are distributed educationally and in streaming markets. Collections include Harvard University, the California Institute of the Arts, and the Walker Arts Center, among others.

Professionally, Sofian’s freelance work includes animation for the feature film "Closetland", titles for the feature film "10 Things I Hate About You", “The Strip”, and MTV. She has also worked as staff animator for Metapa, Inc.

Sheila M. Sofian studied at The United World College of South East Asia in Singapore and Old Dominion University in Virginia before receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Animation at the Rhode Island School of Design and her Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts.

Sofian was head of the Animation Program at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia from 1992-1997. She chaired the Animation Program at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita from 2001-2006. Sofian is currently Full Professor and Director of the Expanded Animation Program at the University of Southern California. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Short Films and Feature Animation branch.