Character Animation Assistant Dean Leo Hobaica at Aniwow! 2009 in Beijing

Though he can usually be found in his office or lecturing in the Palace at CalArts, Character Animation Assistant Dean Leo Hobaica Jr. is currently halfway around the world at the [Aniwow! 2009] 4th China (Beijing) International Student Animation Festival (Oct. 28-31). He’s serving as a judge, guest lecturer and an unofficial goodwill ambassador for CalArts’ animation at the festival.

[Aniwow! 2009], which is being held at the Communication University of China, is a three-day whirlwind of screenings, master classes, panels and forums on animation and digital media, and competitions among students.

Hobaica’s hands-on master class, The Machine, will take place on Friday. He’ll guide students to “quick think” ideas for future animated work and provide opportunities for student collaboration, with a finished flipbook as the end-result of the three-hour seminar. Hobaica says he’ll use stills from Western art history, and time-based examples from early silent films, contemporary films, animated shorts and conceptual art making, to investigate the phenomenon of The Machine.

Also making the trip with Hobaica are four portfolios from then-incoming CalArts’ animators, as well as a slate of student work, including several Woody Award winners—the highest student award from the Character Animation program. The videos in this post (by Marcos Cohen (Film/Video BFA 12) and Josh Look) are two of the films that that Hobaica has taken to China.)

A veteran of the department since 1996, Hobaica is a firm believer in international exchanges and experiences for students, whether they come to CalArts from abroad, or whether CalArtian animators study internationally.

“I’ve always wanted to be a citizen of the world,” he said. “When you have a foreign experience, the kinds of things you learn are amazing. It’s like a wake-up call when we bump into our own cultural corners.”

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