Jazno Francoeur | Animator and Educator

Photo of Jazno FrancoeurWhen Jazno Francoeur graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1992, little did he know he would someday end up teaching his craft half way around the world. Francoeur heads up the animation program on the Singapore campus of DigiPen Institute of Technology, which is based in Redmond, Wash. During his time in Singapore, Francoeur has lectured all over Asia about animation under the sponsorship of the Singapore Tourism Bureau, the Media Development Authority and Kanagawa Institute of Technology. He’s been interviewed extensively by newspapers and television stations about his work. In addition, Francoeur was invited to a seven-month effects training program at Lucasfilm Animation.

In addition to his animation career, Francoeur has branched out into the music industry with his own ensemble, Mercymachine. Francoeur is both artist and producer. The group has put out three studio albums and has been featured on National Public Radio. “In the past two years, I have created music for two animated shorts, ‘Audition’ and ‘Fire Gods,’” Francoeur said. The last film garnered a Bronze Medal at the Park City Music Festival. He is also a published poet and exhibiting photographer.

Francoeur was first introduced to KCAI by his stepmother, Vicki Francoeur. She was doing graduate work at Wichita State University and took some ceramics classes at KCAI during the summer. “She was incredibly impressed with the school, and her excitement filtered down to me,” he said. KCAI became his home. An internship during his sophomore year at Walt Disney Feature Animation Studio in Orlando, Fla., got the ball rolling for Francoeur. He had no trouble keeping up with his colleagues there.

“I was more than prepared because of the intense drawing I had done at KCAI,” he said. During his Disney internship, Francoeur worked on the movie “Aladdin.” After graduating from KCAI in 1992, Francoeur went to work at the Disney Studio in Los Angeles, but most of his career with Disney was spent in the Orlando unit, which closed in 2004. While at Disney, Francoeur worked as an animator on such films as “Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Lilo and Stitch,” “Pocahontas” and “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

Francoeur joined DigiPen Institute, located outside of Seattle, in 2004 and taught traditional animation, character design, film history and analysis, among other subjects. When DigiPen opened a new school in Singapore, it was Francoeur who was chosen to head the inaugural production animation B.F.A. program. Even Francoeur’s first name reflects his creative approach to things. Jazno was born with the name Jason but when asked to first spell his name as a child, he wrote “Jasno”. The nickname stuck; when he legally changed his name, the “s” became a “z.”

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