Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television hit the jackpot with another $5 million gift from a familiar benefactor, the Walter Lantz Foundation, pushing the foundation’s total support of the school to $13 million. The new gift, announced Thursday by film and television dean Stephen Ujlaki, paves the way for construction of new quarters for the school and continues a push by Ujlaki, a longtime movie producer, to put LMU in the top rank among a growing number of film programs nationwide.
“This is our official launch of our new building campaign,” said Ujlaki, in declaring the Lantz contribution a “lead investment” in a 25,000-square-foot facility to be designed by the Gensler firm.
The gift was disclosed at an opening reception for a show at LMU’s Laband Gallery, called Woody Woodpecker and the Avant-Garde. Curated by LMU animation chair Tom Klein, it includes bits of modernist art that were tucked into frames of Woody Woodpecker cartoons like “The Loose Nut” by the director Shamus Culhane.
The exhibit also features artworks by Jules Engel, Oskar Fischinger, Losar Feiltelson, and others who inspired Culhane.
Woody Woodpecker, of course, was a Walter Lantz mainstay, and the late animator and filmmaker’s foundation has been a mainstay of LMU, already having backed a new animation facility for the school. “Walter Lantz was a true pioneer, and if he were alive today, he would be thrilled that his legacy will live on at LMU,” said Edward Landry, a trustee of the foundation.