By Jessica Davis
As the red carpet was unrolled and designer tuxedos were pulled from closets last weekend, a group of BYU alumni accepted a “student Emmy” for their short animation, “Lemmings.”
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation, the non-profit, educational arm of the group that gives the Emmy awards, presented the first-place award at a ceremony Sunday in North Hollywood. The award honors outstanding college television talent.
“They had their awards ceremony last night with a lot of fanfare and a lot of photo opportunities,” said Adam Sidwell, a technical director of the film who met up with Emmy attendees after the ceremony. “It was a really exciting thing. They got to pose in their tuxes and look at some of the stars that were there.”
After winning a student Emmy, “Lemmings” continues to earn recognition around the world.
The short film, which tells the story of a cartoon lemming who tries to convince other lemmings not to jump off a cliff, has appeared in more than 20 film festivals and is scheduled to show at this year”s Cannes Film Festival in France in May.
While creators are unsure if they will attend the prestigious event, Sidwell said they are all proud of the film”s success and plan to attend as many film festivals as work will allow.
“The film is actually placing really well, getting honorable mention or first place in most of these festivals,” Sidwell said.
Twelve core students worked on the project, which also involved participation of more than 50 students in various majors.
Kevin Bargeron, who worked on the visual effects of “Lemmings,” said the film is something the creators are all proud of. He said it helped him land his job working on the upcoming movie, “Little Red Riding Hood,” for Sandman Studios in Orem.
“”Lemmings” obviously made it possible for me to get a foot in the door with this company,” Bargeron said. “Most people who graduate in animation or a field that”s similar to animation don”t have any practical experience working in a production setting.”
Bargeron isn”t the only creator benefiting from the success of the “Lemmings” animation. Seven of the film”s other creators were hired at major film and digital companies in California following their graduation from BYU.
“It was pretty impressive,” Sidwell said. “I think a lot of people really liked what they saw, because there were several of us hired.”
Sidwell, along with four other creators of the film, now works for Digital Domain perfecting the graphics for films like “I, Robot,” a futuristic action movie produced by Fox and starring Will Smith.
Other creators have been involved in productions by George Lucas” company, Industrial Light and Magic, as well as “Scooby Doo 2” and “Garfield.”
Sidwell said with all the excitement surrounding “Lemmings,” the creators enjoy new opportunities and being in the spotlight.