CalArts Student Teams Take Home PSAid Animation Awards

Two groups of students from the program in Character Animation in CalArts’ School of Film/Video and the School of Theater’s Scene Design programs have placed first and second in a national PSA (public service announcement) competition for disaster relief spots.

The PSAid contest, sponsored by the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI), asked teams to develop broadcast and print PSAs to explain the importance of international disaster relief efforts and work conducted by well-established disaster relief organizations. This year’s theme, “to help the most, cash is best,” was echoed numerous times during the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile earlier this year. Many nonprofits tried to get the message out that cash donations–rather than in-kind donations of food, clothing, etc.,–are the most efficient and effective way to help international disaster victims.

The winners were selected from approximately 70 entries. The first-place team, Jamie McElrath (Theater MFA 11), Riyoko Iwamoto (Film/Video BFA 13), Rika Endo (Film/Video MFA 13), and visiting student artists Sebastian Perez and Florentina Perez from ORT University of Uruguay, will split the $12,000 cash prize for their winning broadcast PSA Helping Hands (posted above).

The second-place video PSA winners, Cat Tuong Bui (Film/Video BFA 13), Alejandro Aguilar-Rudametkin (Film/Video BFA 13), James Esparza (Film/Video BFA 13) and Alex Gaines (Theater MFA 12), produced the spot A Walk Through Disaster and will split the $5,000 second prize. In their description, they emphasized the costs of disaster relief: “It costs about 60 cents for one can of food and about 80 dollars to send it where it needs to go, even more for storage. When sending help to those struck by disaster, eliminate the middle man by sending cash. Cash can provide food, water, medical supplies, shelter and so much more.” (Watch video below.)

But while there were two teams on paper, in reality, the students worked on both films under the guidance of School of Film/Video Assistant Dean Leo Hobaica Jr. Aguilar-Rudametkin said that after Florentina Perez suggested the hand motif for Helping Hands, the process “resulted in three different shootings with everyone in both groups, using different means to getting the effect that we wanted.”

Winners were chosen based on an online public vote and the input from a panel of judges, which included Paul Katz of Commit Media, Clifton Wiens of National Geographic and Stephan Bachenheimer of Deutsche Welle TV, as well as representatives from CIDI and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Learn more about PSAid

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