For Shaheen, the experience of working on prestigious films such as Theeb as a student at Academy of Art University was invaluable. To collaborate on, “not a school project but an actual, real-life project,” was incredible, she says. “I applied to the Academy on a lark, after a friend told me about the school, and I found out about the quality of its faculty.
“Once I got to class, I couldn’t believe I could learn how to make things like 3D models and work on all these advanced projects, with the best technology at my fingertips. It’s an awesome school that teaches you art and how to apply art to business and to the real world. Without the Academy, I wouldn’t know how to perform in an animation studio.”
Thanks to the Academy, the future is now for Shaheen. A young woman of two worlds (she was born in Saudi Arabia and lived intermittently in Michigan before relocating to San Francisco to attend the Academy at age 16), Shaheen is currently a bidding coordinator at the Santa Monica, Calif., outpost of Method Studios, an award-winning international VFX group. Shaheen, however, is already thinking ahead, to the day she hopes to set up her own production studio in Dubai.