Article by Tristian Goik.
The New York City Metropolitan Area College Computer Animation Festival blew into town this year on a cool breeze. After wandering around the Fashion Institute of Technology, I found myself volunteering at the ticket tables. I took a minute to try to remember my previous experiences at MetroCAF and I scanned the invite lists looking for familiar names. But there was no time! Many people needed to be helped and many hands needed to be stamped. I did my best and soon the show began.
The production values of college computer animation have risen dramatically over just a few years. The set designs of some of these films could only have been achieved through countless man hours or well-organized teams, or some terribly arduous combination of the two. Bravo. “Static Aeons” (by Gibney Patterson http://www.mfaca.sva.edu/node/2040 ) comes to mind as a well planned student film; concentrating on modeling skills, it tells a creepy story through tableaus and crane shots.
Eugene Chu created “Bounty + Hunter,” which I realized after the credits was perhaps the first furry animation I’ve ever seen. An interesting PG-13 action romance short, the animation is essentially a chase scene through an elevated train, with a twist ending. I tracked down Eugene on Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/24245945) to find out more. He told me that his film demonstrates how the linearity of train travel plays off how we travel through our life-decisions and turn down different paths. I just think cat ears are super cute.
Jaime Ekkens, (my new friend!) thought “The Man Who Once Owned An Eternal Garden” (by Celeste Lai, http://www.celestelai.com/) was great. In that short, a cut-out hipster man learns the joy and sorrows of apartment-gardening. Jaime is also going to co-chair next year’s festival along with Scott Lang. She assures me that next year will be even better, and according to my exponential calculations, she just may be right. She also roped me into volunteering.
A few more notable films include “Aquatic Bloom” by Susie Hong & Bo Kyeong Kim (http://aquaticbloom.blogspot.com/) with their biomechanical flowers, “Shinobi Blues” by Mike Liu (http://vimeo.com/22664221) with the world’s most expressive ninja eyes, and “Wusong Beats Tiger” by Jing Huang (http://vimeo.com/25253996) which has cute chibi characters telling an ancient myth. There were many more but I can’t list them all. But looking over the list, I noticed 75% of the animations were from the School of Visual Arts and about half of all the animators were Asian. I heard that all films are submitted without credits so the judges do not prefer one school over another, but I guess SVA took a clear lead! The jury was comprised of animation professionals Jenny Bichsel from “Framestore,” Bill Hewes (Film Tecknarna NYC), Scott Sindorf (UVPhactory), Anca Risca (Nathan Love) and Victor DeRespinis.
A year from now the next MetroCAF will arrive and I’m sure the internet will tell you all about it. It was only $10 (or free for FIT students or Siggraph NEW YORK members). And it is a great way to get your finger on the pulse of new student computer animation.