CalArts Character Animation Producers’ Show 2018

On May 2, the Directors Guild of America (DGA) hosted the much anticipated 2018 CalArts’s Character Animation Producers’ Show. Students, faculty, friends, family, industry professionals and fans packed the West Hollywood venue to watch CalArts’ Character Animation Program’s best of 2018.

From the 192 student films screened at the open show in late-April, the selection was narrowed down to the top 22 films. Three awards—The Peer’s Pick Award, the Vimeo Award and the Walter and Gracie Lantz Animation Prize—were given that evening. Immediately following the screening, the animation industry’s most respected companies mingled with students at the DGA reception.

Interim Provost Brian Harlan introduced CalArts President Ravi S. Rajan, who celebrated yet another inaugural CalArts event—his first Character Animation Showcase.

In his opening remarks to the full house, President Rajan stated, “One of my greatest pleasures has been getting to know the faculty and students in the Character Animation program. It has such a remarkable history and such a great record of achievement. This last year has been more than I could have ever dreamed.”

Above: Yden Park, Goodbye Galaxy Girl

Dean of the School of Film/Video Leighton Pierce congratulated the students for the high level of craft they deployed to tell their personal stories. In his brief overview of the Character Animation program’s history, Pierce also recognized Rachelle Katz, Associate Dean of Finance and Operations, calling her the “Producer of the Producer Show.” After 28 years, Katz will be leaving CalArts to pursue a new opportunity.

Above: Anchi Shen, Barry

Maija Burnett, director of the Character Animation Program, introduced the 2018 Guest of Honor Ann Telnaes (BFA 85). An alum of the Character Animation Program, Telnaes, as editorial cartoonist for The Washington Post, won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 2001.

When recalling her time at CalArts, she commented on how much the industry has evolved technologically and demographically. Telnaes was impressed with the women and gender non-conforming individuals who currently make up 75-percent of the CalArts’s Character Animation program. Her advice to the young animators in the audience, “Be adaptable. Have a plan. Have job goals, but don’t ignore unexpected opportunities.”

The three outstanding student awards were:

  • Peers’ Pick (juried by students): Yden Park (Film/Video 18) for Goodbye Galaxy Girl
  • Walter and Gracie Lantz Animation Prize, better known as the Woody Award (chosen by the CalArts Character Animation Program faculty): A tie between Gabby Capili (Film/Video 18) for Dennis the Dinosaur and Anchi Shen (Film/Video 19) for Barry
  • The Vimeo Award for Outstanding Student Achievement in Animated Filmmaking (juried by Vimeo): Alex Avagimian (Film/Video 19) for Little Bandits

Above: Alex Avagimain, Little Bandits

Among the themes throughout the evening included family, coming of age, food and, in some cases, a combination of all three. Polaris by Hikari Toriumi (Film/Video 18), Jido by Noor Rasoul (Film/Video 18) and Then and Now by Li Wen Toh (Film/Video 18) touched on personal family relationships. While family-related, Burger Boss by Rachel Kim (Film/Video 18), Lunch with Me Today (Film/Video 18) and When the Raven Comes by Anatola Howard (Film/Video 19) had charming food connections.

See all the films from the evening’s program on the 2018 CalArts Character Animation Vimeo channel.

—by Ellen Evaristo

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