Flying high: Animation Department releases new award-winning film


    By Tiffani Nichols

    BYU Center for Animation will receive its eighth and ninth Student Emmy awards at a black-tie Hollywood event Saturday for their newest films, ?Kites,? and ?Pajama Gladiator.?

    The most current film, ?Kites,? premiered at a media screening yesterday. The touching film differs from the usual award-winning comical shorts BYU has produced in the past.

    ?Kites? portrays the close relationship between a young boy and his grandfather as they deal with a new challenge in their lives. Containing no vocals, the dynamic music represents the characters? emotions.

    Jenny Harris, a senior from Ann Arbor, Mich., worked on the textures in ?Kites.? She said the seriousness of the film sets it apart from other short films.

    ?We were able to generate the emotion we wanted, which is extremely difficult for an animated short,? Harris said.

    Over the past six years, the animation department has entered nine short films; they have won Student Emmys? from the Academy of Television Arts for every single entry, though hundreds of films are entered.

    Jordan Pack and James Jackson, co-producers of ?Kites,? will receive the award in Hollywood this weekend. Faculty members and Kites? director will also attend.

    Pack said it takes one to two years and about 40 people to finish a short film like ?Kites.? There are multiple steps that go into the film-making process, Pack said.

    The animation department will also enter ?Kites,? into the Student Academy Awards, Sundance Film Festival and Annecy Animation Festival in France.

    BYU students expressed their gratitude for help from Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar mentors the animation students working on films. Pixar also hires many BYU students for internships and jobs.

    ?We benefit because they mentor us; they benefit because BYU students end up working for them,? Harris said.

    Kelly Loosli, an animation professor, said Pixar enjoys working with BYU students because they have experience working in groups.

    ?BYU has more of a studio environment,? Loosli said. It is easy for BYU students to transition to studio work because BYU?s animation program is set up the same way.

    Loosli mentioned that students? attitudes are reflected in their work. They do not have the mentality of making sure their work is sufficient for a decent grade; they have the mentality that they are working for their career, Loosli said. This is what makes BYU?s animation department so successful.

    Cheryl Johnson, an animation major from Cabin John, Md., said the professors in the animation program provide hands-on instruction.

    ?As you?re working, they?re guiding you in the process,? Johnson said.

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