Netflix announces to offer scholarships to support the Japanese animation industry

To support the anime industry in Japan, streaming giant Netflix is offering scholarships for individuals who are interested in becoming animators. It will be a six-month stint at Sasayuri Video Training Institute in Tokyo and the scholarship program is called – WIT Animator Academy. It is in collaboration with none other than WIT, an anime studio responsible for titles like Attack on Titan and Ghost in the Shell, to give aspiring anime artists the chance to explore the arena.

Anime has become a big content arm of Netflix. Starting out humbly with a library of Studio Ghibli films, Netflix now carries popular anime titles like Demon Slayer, Attack on Titan and Haikyu to name a few. Netflix has continued to expand its presence within the Japanese anime industry (most recently with the thick-thigh Godzilla), and now it doesn’t want to be involved only in creating animation, but in animators too.

The scholarship program will run from April to September this year and students will be retained as subcontracted animators for a Netflix original anime upon completion.

So how much will the course cost students? Not a single yen. Netflix is footing the bill as a scholarship and is even pledging to help students out with their living expenses during the program. Seats, however, are limited.

On the plus side, that also means small class sizes with more opportunities for student/teacher interaction. Speaking of instruction, the WIT Animator Academy curriculum is being developed by Hitomi Tateno, who worked for 25 years as an animation checker for Studio Ghibli, making sure the art moves fluidly and artistically in anime classics including Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away and both My Neighbor Totoro and its little-known sequel short Mei and the Kittenbus. Tateno will also serve as an instructor for the program.

Netflix and WIT are currently looking for just 10 talented individuals to join the program. To be eligible, applicants will need to be between the ages of 18 to 25, have at least graduated from high school by March this year and be living in Japan. Full fluency of Japanese isn’t required as long as applicants are “able to have everyday conversations” in Japanese. While Japanese residency is required, foreign residents of Japan are welcomed to apply.

Applicants will have to go through exams and interviews before the final selection of successful candidates takes place in March 2021.

The cut-off date for applications for Netflix and WIT’s scholarship program is set on 28 February 2021. Interested individuals can head over to WIT Animator Academy website to apply.

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