SpongeBob SquarePants creator, Steve Hillenburg was a student of Jules Engel's: "He was the most influential artistic person in my 'Art Dad'." [abbrev]
Janeann Dill, phd, mfa
L.A. + Kansas City + Boston, Massachusetts
United States
2 Team Members and 

If you wanted to donate, but missed our deadline, you still can! Every dollar will go toward the film's POST-PRODUCTION. All amounts welcomed and celebrated!

For tax-deductible donations by credit card or PayPay go to:
To make a tax-deductible donation by check, write check to "FROM THE HEART PRODUCTIONS."  In the note/for/memo field, write 'VISUALIZING ART HISTORY - JULES ENGEL.'  
Send the check to our IGG Fiscal Sponsor:
From The Heart Productions
Attention: Carole Lee Dean
1455 Mandalay Beach Rd.
Oxnard, CA 93035-2845
If you have any questions please email:!
If you want to speak personally, please email and I will happily call you!  
Again, warm thanks to everyone for your heartfelt support and participation in our project! Updates will continue to be posted as we move forward towards our goal.
P.S. If you've just discovered our project, it is chock'full of information so hang out and enjoy the read. Check out the film's website and follow us on Twitter:

"As a former student of Jules Engel's, I was elated to learn of Janeann Dill's feature documentary film. Not only was Jules Engel a seminal figure in the history of animation, he also had a profound influence on countless generations of animators. He truly was the most influential artistic person in my life. I consider him my "Art Dad." The work he produced both professionally and personally was groundbreaking, and is still cracking it as I write.

Jules always promoted the notion that animation could be a means of personal expression. Jules Engel's films are true examples of the unlimited possibility that the art form of animation offers. Janeann Dill is the perfect director to document Jules Engel's life and work. Her commitment and knowledge of the material is unsurpassed. I'm certain she will produce a compelling piece about a uniquely creative man."

---Stephen Hillenburg, Creator/Executive Producer                                                      
"SpongeBob SquarePants," Nickelodeon Animation Studio     


"This is a fantastic and deserving tribute to Jules, and you're just the one to do it, Janeann!  A long overdue project by one great filmmaker about another."

---Jon Stout, Co-Founder and General Manager, Free Speech TV                                             Fellow, Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Program                                     Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award, Association of Education


“It is very emotional for me to see Jules on film, because it transports me back to my beginnings as an animation filmmaker, at Cal Arts. Jules made me realize that animation filmmaking was the ultimate art form, the synthesis of all the arts. He also was such a generous teacher, encouraging experimentation, and self-expression. Bravo to Janeann for capturing him on film, so that Jules can be brought to a wider audience.”

---Joyce Borenstein, Academy Award® Nominee                                                                     'My Father's Colors' (Director-Animator-Writer), National Film Board of Canada


"Jules opened up my eyes about the endless possibilities of animation, and for that I will forever be grateful to him. This documentary must be completed so that the rest of the world can have a chance to be as profoundly affected as each of his students were. This is a true film 'of consequence,' using his own indelible phrase."

---Mark Osborne, Two-time Academy Award® Nominee                                                           'KungFu Panda' (Co-Director) and 'More' (Producer-Director-Writer)                                   Guggenheim Foundation Fellow



A documentary feature film focused on the critical history of an experimental art form and the power of an artist-mentor-educator to transform its creative practice and art history.  Help support a film that presents an inspired educator and art history!  

Jules Engel (1909-2003)

Visualizing Art History: Experimental Animation and It’s Mentor, Jules Engel is a documentary feature that tells the story of the power of higher education to change the face of art history, one student at a time. Recognized as one of the most important figures in abstract animation and modern art, Jules Engel's invaluable contribution to independent filmmaking as an art studio practice, to the animation industry at its earliest formation (Fantasia, Bambi, and UPA), and to his students across three generations  is captured in this documentary.

Experimental animation grew up in California in the belly of the beast of Hollywood but was established as a discipline in the first higher educational institution in America to create an academic track for the study of animation as an art form, California Institute of the Arts. Early in 1970, CalArts appointed Jules Engel the Founding Director of the Animation Program.

So, what is it that distinguishes experimental animation?

Generally speaking, experimental animation is a timing-based art form that grows out of an exploratory relationship to an idea or concept, material or process --- as would any experimental art form, painting, sculpture or choreography. [Dill]

Jules would say, experimental animation is art "because it was made by a human being" ... in other words, animation created for personal expression.



"It is not what I give to a student that is most important, it is what I don't take away."  ---- Jules Engel

Teachers provide powerful legacies by their influence on students, from early childhood education through post-graduate studies, either negatively or positively, across the humanities and the fine arts. While skills, techniques, and career choices are worthy motivators for arts education, higher education is called higher education for a reason:  to foster a language of critical thinking. This is a film that portrays higher education as it is meant to foster critical thinking within a creative practice. The intellectual (i.e., research) serves an essential role in experimental thinking (i.e., intuition) when engaged simultaneously in the creative act … within the arts and within the humanities.

Engel is an acknowledged Early California Modernist who created unceasingly until his death at 94 years old. A role model for the quintessetial artist and mentor, Engel’s students today are important leaders in the animation industry, in independent filmmaking, and in arts education. These include ... naming only a few amongst hundreds in more than three generations from California to New England and internationally ... the likes of:

Glen Keane (Walt Disney Studios), Ellen Woodbury (The Lion King), Henry Selick (Coraline), Ellen Woodbury (Lion King), Eric Darnell (Madagascar), and Mark Kirkland (The Simpsons), Steven Hillenburg (SpongeBob), Jorge Gutierrez (El Tigre), Peter Chung (Aeon Flux), Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda and More).

Independent Animation Artists and Educators: Amy Kravitz, Steven Subotnick, Joyce Borenstein, Sheila Sofian, Sky David, Kathy Rose, and Christine Panushka (among others too numerous to name here).


“Jules’ comments on my work still echo in my mind after 30 years. I switched mediums from animation to stone sculpture a few years ago and his words still apply.”                                                                                                                                                                                   ---Ellen Woodbury, Sculptor, Lead Animator, Walt Disney Productions, "The Lion King" (ZaZu)


Visualizing Art History: Experimental Animation and It’s Mentor, Jules Engel is not only a documentary feature, it is part of a larger biographical project by Janeann Dill of a (DVB) Digital Video Book, and interactive website. Engel’s Biographer and former student, Dr. Dill earned her Ph.D. in Media Philosophy, MFA in Experimental Animation, and founded The Institute for Interdisciplinary Art and Creative Intelligence (ThinkTank)

              Animation Drawing by Jules Engel, "Wet Paint," Frame from Documentary Film


What We Need & HowYou Can Help!

Now is your opportunity to be a part of this feature-length documentary! This is the first feature-length documentary film to tell the story of experimental animation: its art history, its animation history and its educational history! Jules Engel was a formidable mentor and a larger-than- life figure in an art history that has been invisible far too long --- help this film bring Engel and the art history of experimental animation out of the shadows of marginalization into view to claim its rightful spotlight. This is the story this documentary feature tells!


                                                   Animation Cel 
                                    Mr. Magoo Cel / "Uncle Sam" / UPA

Successfully reaching our goal of $30,000+ means we can shoot key interviews this summer + animate footage for the film! We are slated to begin shooting June 5th! Your donation (at any pledge level) means we can create a sample reel that is feature-length to go for the really big money in grants + enlisting a great co-producer. (Are you out there somewhere, listening, my co-producer?)

How does your donation help? It means that a crew of us can start filming key interviews (Boston, New York, Montreal, Los Angeles, San Francisco) + animating sequences + identifying key art historical footage in select archives.   Be our Angel Donor ... all donations are tax deductible, thanks to the great Carole Lee Dean!

Carole Dean was a funder for "Paris Is A Woman" and that film went on to win "Best Experimental Short" and "Best Directorial Debut" to be shown world-wide in museums and film festivals. The short film on Jules Engel has already screened in Budapest, Cannes, Positano (Italy), Maryland (AFI), New York and Los Angeles!

In 1992, I recorded my first audio interview with Jules Engel. In 1998, I began to film my interviews with Jules and garnered hours of (now) rare, archival footage (since his death). These interviews are the heart-beat of this documentary. Subsequently, I have filmed interviews with Engel's contemporaries, also now rare and archival (since their deaths). Interviews already filmed are with James Byrnes, the first Curator of Modren Art at Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Susan Byrnes, American Gallery (1940), Los Angeles gallerist who represented Jules Engel, Man Ray, Al Held, et. al; Herb Klynn, Engel's close friend and partner in the animation studio, Format Films; and, June Wayne, a colleague of Engel's and noted artist, lithographer, and Founder of Tamarind Institute, funded by the Ford Foundation. June Wayne commissioned Engel to create the film, "The Look of the Lithographer, Louise Nevelson," presently housed in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Film Study Center (Archive).  

About our campaign: While each level of pledge builds in its perks, pledging at every level is vital to the full success of this campaign.

Just as a mentor holds a space for students to realize their full potential, your collective participation in this project will open a similar space that can be realized by opening a larger view of art history to include experimental animation. Consider the impact of your participation, whether you were one of Engel's students or simply a believer in the importance of an inspired education ... the single seed holds the potential to grow a full garden.        -------- Janeann Dill 


How Your Contribution Will Help:

  1. Funding further key interviews to complete principle photography

    (production costs include crew and equipment)

  2. Funding for selected scenes of animation (animators + footage)

  3. Funding to research, identify, and license key art historical footage in select archives 

  4. Funding to edit a production cut to use for seeking completion funding --- this money will allow us to shoot footage and gather key art historical footage to edit together a sample feaure reel of the film which is what the big funders need to see!  

                       All donations are tax-deductible!!
NEW INCENTIVE!!! DONATE AT LEAST $25 OR MORE BETWEEN MAY 2nd-10th and you will be entered into a raffle to win an interview by the Director of the film for a behind-the-scenes spot on the Engel Documentary DVD ... go for it now!



Visualizing Art History: Experimental Animation and Its Mentor, Jules Engel is profiled on Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Linked-In, and on the IIACI website. Please let all animation lovers, students, friends, relatives, and cinefiles know about this project world-wide!  

For more information on the production and its producer-director, please visit IIACI (pronounced ee-ah'-chee), the Institute for Interdisciiplinary Art & Creative Intelligence (ThinkTank). Go to these URL addresses:




Mass Humanities Council (contains links to Facebook, etc.):  


Final Notes: One of our goals to come out of this film and out of this media campaign is for animation students across the world to link to each other via the Jules project! Jules would have loved this idea --- he wanted this project to be realized. 

See the Massachusetts Humanities Council article published on THE PUBLIC HUMANIST for links to social media! "Like" our movie page on Facebook to continue to be updated alongside the IndieGoGo updates here when you pledge!

Feel free to especially let students know about the campaign and the film. If there is a contingency of students + at least one faculty member who want to participate as an institution to be listed as a 'new' student category, contact us! 

We would absolutely LOVE to see a whole movement of animation students across the world connect with each other through the Engel Project as they all grow up in the animation industry and independent filmmaking and the art world! 


ABOUT INCENTIVE FOR THOSE WHO DONATED AT LEAST $25 OR MORE BETWEEN MAY 2nd-10th: you were entered into a raffle to win an interview for a behind-the-scenes spot on the Engel Documentary DVD ... we will be in touch!! 



Have questions? We want to answer them! 



Photo of Janeann Dill and Jules Engel, 1998.                                             


Find This Campaign On
raised by 74 people in 1 month
8% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$30,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on May 15, 2012
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Select a Perk
  • $10USD

    You are the Future! This $10.00 pledge is your participation in art history! Your name will be featured on the Donor Wall of the VISUALZING ART HISTORY_JULES ENGEL movie site! Tax Deductible.

    18 claimed
  • $10USD
    SMFA:IIACI Interns

    Students: School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston, founded in 1876, offering a BFA, MFA, and MAT, is an interdisciplinary art school in partnership with Tufts University and the Museum of Fine Arts. Your name will be featured in the Donor Wall on site. Student categories determine a local screening of the film based on donations! Tax Deductible.

    4 claimed
  • $10USD
    KCAI:IIACI Interns

    Students: Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI), founded in 1885, is a four year institute offering the BFA in animation and digital arts. Your name will be featured in the Donor Wall on site. Student categories determine a local screening of the film based on donations! Tax Deductible.

    12 claimed
  • $25USD
    Signed Note Card!

    Receive a personal 'thank you' note card digitally printed with a photo of Jules Engel taken from the film footage and signed by the Director and your name will be featured on the Donor Wall on movie website! Tax Deductible.

    17 claimed
  • $75USD
    Digital Film Download!

    All the above Perks + Additional digital image from production of film signed by Director and a Limited Edition DVD of the short film version of documentary footage, "Jules Engel: An Artist For All Seasons," and the Director's award winning film, "Paris Is A Woman." Tax Deductible.

    14 claimed
  • $250USD
    Limited Edition DVD!

    All the above Perks + This is dedication! Receive a personal email, special facebook post, Indiegogo updates, and twitter posts! And: receive a Limited Edition PreRelease Digital DVD of the film that includes the short form version & behind the scenes footage; signed by the director with a personal 'thank you' telephone call from the Director at the close of the campaign! Tax Deductible.

    1 claimed
  • $500USD

    All the above Perks + You've made a leap! Receive all packages mentioned so far, and join our crew as a VIP at our Experimental Animation Screening! (transportation and hotel costs not included; date TBA, no refunds for conflicts) Tax Deductible.

    0 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    VIP + A Guest!

    All the above Perks + Receive the entire package above as well as an additional ticket for your guest to our Experimental Animation Screening! (Transportation and hotel costs not included; date TBA, no refunds for conflicts) Tax Deductible.

    0 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Screen Credit + IMDB!

    All the above Perks + Receive the entire package + IMDB credit + a screen credit with "Partially funded by ..." ! Tax Deductible.

    0 out of 10 claimed
  • $7,500USD
    Director's Artwork!

    All the above Perks + Incredible! IMDB credit + original piece of the Director’s artwork (unframed) selected by Dr. Dill for you. Package includes two VIP tickets to our Experimental Animation Screening + 2 tickets to Premier Party in a city near you! (Transportation and hotel costs not included; date TBA, no refunds for conflicts) See GALLERY+Art by Janeann Dill: Tax Deductible.

    0 out of 6 claimed
  • $10,000USD
    Mr.Magoo or Framed Art by Dill

    You Are Incredible! Associate Producer credit on selected versions of film + ONE original Mr. Magoo cel, "Uncle Sam" (only) is available (unframed) OR selection of one of THREE (framed) original art works created by Janeann Dill. IMDB credit + screen credit with "Partially funded by ..." + two VIP tickets to our Experimental Animation Screening + 2 tickets to Premier Party in a city near you! (Transportation and hotel costs not included; date TBA, no refunds for conflicts). Tax-Deductible!

    0 out of 4 claimed
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