"What I found so wonderfully compelling about [Engel's] work was how it captured the best of what choreography can accomplish, but generally fails to when performed live in the theater. Not only is [the] work constructed to direct the audience's eye to a subtle, minute and particular gesture or shape, but in a manner which can be achieved in a fleeting instant. With just a few images a rhythm is generated that elaborates upon itself; five images which began moving in unison, subsequently break Ho a canon and then a fugue. These images, while still retaining their initial quality, permutate, providing 1 2 5 variations on a theme, each compelling and mesmerizing. This use of repetition and the subtle variations that naturally arise, embodies choreography at its most successful."---Janice Margolis, Dancer/Choreographer
In 1939 he created choreography and color for Fantasia and, after serving in the Army Air Force Motion Picture Unit in World War 11, was one of the original members of U PA Studios-bringing Mr. Magoo, Gerald McBoing, Madeline, Icarus Montgolfier Wright Iscripte d by Ray Bradbury; Oscar nomination for Engel and other notable characters to the screen. Simultaneously he painted, printed, constructed, traveled and taught. This exhibition of his work opens with drawings of 1939 and extends through films of the 1990s.
He has received many awards-most recently the Norman McLaren Heritage Award in 1992 and a 'Lifetime Achievement' Award at the Cardiff International Film Festival in Wales, 1994. From February to April 1997, The Donnell Media Center, New York celebrated the art of Jules Engel and the CalArts Film/Video Departments with the series "The Animated Film: A tribute to Jules Engel and CalArts Animation."
Engel was founding director of the Experimental Animation Department at California Institute of the Arts in 1971, and taught there until his death in 2003.