UWE animation students win Crazy Horse short film competition in Stuttgart

Issue date: 25 July 2011

Final year students from the University of the West of England's Bristol School of Animation, Constantinos Mavromichalis and Dane Winn, have won the Crazy Horse Session, a competition at the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film. They competed with other teams of international animators to create a short film using the festival mascot – a Crazy Horse - in just 48 hours.

Dane and Constantinos, who have just graduated from UWE's BA Hons Animation programme, competed with teams from Poland, Singapore, Egypt and Georgia at the session. According to the organisers, animating a film before an audience is a frightening thought for most animation artists – and all the more challenging is the task of creating a short film within 48 hours at the live Animation Jam.

All of the teams had to use the same character, taken from the festival motif, to tell a short story of between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. The organisers provided the participants with the source code for various types of animation software such as Maya, 3D Studio Max and xsi Softimage. They could then compare the skills of the animators with regard to storytelling, graphic style and animation software.

Their film showed what happens when the colourful Crazy Horse encounters a disintegration force-field.

Dane said, “It was a really fun experience. We figured out the story on the plane to Germany, and worked through the 48 hour Jam with hardly any sleep. Our UWE tutors suggested going for something simple with the story, so we thought rather than over-complicate the scenario, we should have a simple conflict for the character and utilise our skills to enhance it. We were very surprised and excited when we were announced the winners, and shared our victory and champagne with our competitors and UWE tutor, John Parry."

Constantinos added, “The competition was very important to us. From the day we found out that we were accepted to compete, we decided that above all else, we would enjoy ourselves and not stress about winning. At the same time, we were familiar with each other's skills and we worked perfectly together. After seeing our finished result, we both wanted to win the competition badly. When we did win, it felt amazing, and we both thought that we had fully deserved it. Winning the competition gave us confidence of our skills and motivated us both to find a good job after graduating. It was an experience that we recommend anyone to try."

During the 18th Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film, the city was transformed into the capital of animation for an eventful six days. The programme demonstrated how animation is a lot more than just light entertainment. The social relevance and the political topicality of the winning films and numerous other entries to this year's Festival were further proof of this. In total, almost 1,000 films were shown at the Festival, and around 70.000 visitors attracted to both the inner-city cinemas and the open air cinema with a large LED screen.

Senior Lecturer in Animation, Rachel Robinson said, “Dane and Constantinos started to work as a team at level two on a production studies module, where students work in small teams of four and five to produce a 90 second animated film. This gives students the opportunity to experience and develop their understanding and practice of the team roles in the animation industry that they will take up after graduation. In their final year they have gone on to develop and hone their skills on a variety of team projects; live briefs, client projects and competitions.

“Both Constantinos and Dane have gone from strength to strength in the work they have produced - they are hugely talented and creative individuals. Their win for The Bristol School of Animation showcases the high standards we expect of our students and the passion and commitment we have to providing high quality teaching and training in all aspects of creative animation production.”

They are part of a group of five animation students, called A Foot Apart Productions, who were featured as rising stars in the spring issue of Imagine magazine. Dane has already secured a job in animation at Blue-Zoo Productions.

To view the winning animation visit: http://goo.gl/Y1dU5


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