Talented Allan Hancock College alumni are everywhere, including the Academy Awards. At the 2013 awards ceremony, former Hancock student Mark Andrews received an Oscar for co-directing and co-writing Brave, winner of the award for best animated feature. Another Hancock alumnus, Jessica Chastain, was nominated for a best actress award for her performance in Zero Dark Thirty.
Andrews took one class at Hancock, but it was enough to set him on a path toward computer animation. In 1988, he was enrolled in an Introduction to Animation class taught by the late Ed Harvey.
“My brother and I were the only ones in our class to complete an animated short film for the class on cell. Harvey told my brother and me about Cal Arts and the rest is history,” Andrews said via email.
A resident of Solvang when he enrolled at Hancock, Andrews said the college was the only school on the Central Coast that offered a course in animation.
“Hancock was a mecca for the arts, theatre, film and especially animation,” he said. “It was at that time the only school in hundreds of miles that had an animation course. That just goes to show you how forward thinking Hancock was.”
Brave also received this year’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and Golden Globe awards for best animated movie.
Actress Jessica Chastain was a student at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (PCPA) at Allan Hancock College. She performed the role of “Hermia” in the PCPA Theaterfest’s summer performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1999.
In addition to her 2013 Academy Awards nomination, she won the 2013 Golden Globe best actress award for Zero Dark Thirty and was a BAFTA and Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG) nominee for the same role. In 2012, she was nominated for best supporting actress for her work in The Help. After leaving PCPA, Chastain attended The Juilliard School in New York City. At Juilliard she received a scholarship presented by Robin Williams, another famous alumnus of Allan Hancock College and the PCPA.