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2008 Gobelins Student Films

California Love

French animation school Gobelins has released the latest batch of their student films. From a purely technical standpoint, the quality of this school’s work never ceases to amaze me. It’s certainly better than a lot of professional work that comes my way. My personal favorite in the current crop is California Love, a CG short with the design sensibilities and expressiveness of hand-drawn animation. The film was created by Lucie Arnissolle, Yann Boyer, Vincent Mahe, Mael Gourmelen and Stephen Vuillemin. At the film’s website, you can see various ‘making of’ videos showing the individual contributions of each of the team members. Solid work all around.

Another curious entry is For Sock’s Sake, which is a stop-motion short produced by one person, Carlo Vogele. Though Vogele graduated from Gobelins, he made this film during an exchange semester at CalArts. I’ve seen pieces of clothing anthropomorphized like this before but the quality of acting and personality in Vogele’s animation is particularly impressive and shows a promising animator in the making.

(Thanks, Pete Shand)

  • So that’s California Love…all these years I’ve been doing it the hard way.

  • Joel Brinkerhoff

    Wow, amazing. What are they teaching that we aren’t? Hopefully these guys can bring some of that brilliance into the work force and make great animated features.

  • Though it has an interesting style there is very little substance to it. Kind of hard to believe it took 6 people to make that.

  • Regardless of its technical merits, i find the subject matter of ‘California Love’ at the very least dodgy, if not downright offensive. What’s the message of this? A lighthearted look at rohypnol and date rape?

  • Jason Brown

    ^^ I agree. And its not nearly as good as Burning Safari. That short was Gobelins at its peak.

  • ZigZag

    Unreal. As a CalArts alum, I freely admit how ashamed I am. The level of quality all around is remarkable. Definitely better than most of the student work done stateside, and a good deal of the pro work as well. It’s clearly time to reboot how animation is taught. When I was a student, I was surprised at how we were never forced to work collaboratively on a project. Perhaps this annual beating from Europe will wake up the institutions around here.

  • More than technical achievement and animation proficiency, I found this years Gobelins films as lacking substance. Compared to previous years, and films like Oktapodi, Voodoo and Burning Safari, just to name a few, I found the stories to be lacking that spark that really set Gobelins apart from other colleges/shorts.

    Don’t get me wrong, they look beautiful and are animated extremely well…but that is irrelevant if the story doesn’t work.

    My favourite is California Love, just for the sheer wackiness of it, and great animation, rather than story structure. I disliked the ending in it tho, thought it was a cheap way to finish the story..

    my thoughts anyway

  • A

    Yeah, I’m not sure what the hell that California Dream short was about but I’ll be honest, when they showed a Cholo i was taken a back, then they show the cat drugging a girl, wtf???

    I’m Mexican American and definitely no prude and stuff rarely offends me so this doesn’t either but I’m real curious to know what the hell the message was supposed to be here and why they took such strange paths to get there.

    So is it about finding someone just as silly/stupid/sick as you? Is it some sort of commentary about California and it’s (at least from these French students perspective) shallowness? Is it just a stupid film and they need characters that were unappealing and/or un-relatable and just wanted to do some pretty animation with butts and cholos??

    Curious as to the thoughts, if any behind this?

  • Celia

    I loved it, can there be a sequal? More 3D should squash and stretch like that.

  • Mitch Kennedy

    For Sock’s Sake is hilarious, and totally fun! The arguing bit in the beginning was a bit annoying, but it got great after that.

    The video game music fit, too! Some of the shots seemed to have taken inspiration from side scrollers.

  • Hulk

    Leave it to the French to portray the Americans as rapists and try to make that funny.

    Ever heard the french knock-knock joke?


    -“I surrender!”

  • I thought ‘For Sock’s Sake” was incredible, full of gags and really good animation.

    ‘California Love’ had nice character design, and it was funny too, but kind of rushed to the ending too quickly.

    Man, if I had known about this amazing school when I was 17…

  • areader

    Can’t wait for “Clichy-sous-Bois Amour”.
    Looks: 10 Concept: 1

  • Wow. Scary good. I especially like “After the Rain.”

  • I love how false the message is in “Passion Ski.” It’s about how things rarely live up to our aspirations, and yet these guys made a film that in every way exceeded aspirations, most likely.

  • MattSullivan

    The animation quality beats the hell out of anything Calarts has ever produced, and I say that as a calarts graduate and working professional. I dont know if it’s laziness or what least none of these films are unfinished.

    Sadly, most calarts films are 3/4 storyboard panels.

  • areader

    “The animation quality beats the hell out of anything Calarts has ever produced, and I say that as a calarts graduate and working professional. I dont know if it’s laziness or what least none of these films are unfinished. Sadly, most calarts films are 3/4 storyboard panels.

    Although I think you’re overstating the ratios for Calarts films(“most” films are 3/4 panels? Not when I was there or for years before or afterwards), keep in mind that at Calarts it’s almost always 1 student=1 short. NOT 6 students =1 short or 8-11 students=1 short. Obviously profound difference there as to how slick and/or finished a short it’s possible to make if you have more than one person, not to mention 6.

    Why can’t a reaction to this very slick work simply be “amazing job! Great quality animation that beats hell out of much student work elsewhere!”(which to my eyes is often true of Gobelins overall)? Why take an opportunity to enjoy good work to change the subject to another school, pro or con-usually con? It seems any opportunity to compare and contrast negatively is never allowed to get by here.

  • Saturnome

    Am I alone being amazed at After the rain … ?

  • Chuck R.

    I wasn’t terribly blown away by California Love either. The personality animation is just so-so. It’s saving grace is its stunning use of color —the characters are chewed up by the scenery. I agree, the subject matter is questionable, but consider this: any teenage girl who sees this film should be effectively persuaded to keep a close eye on her drink next time she’s out in singles bars.

    For Sock’s Sake is a lot of fun. The ankle socks made it for me.

  • Hi, thanks you all for you comments. I’m glad some liked our film, or at least the technical side. It was a LOT of work.

    but, just a hint, about the character is giving drug to women, how could you ever think it is to be taken literally ? I think our teachers may have had a seizure if we had told them that we wanted to promote rape by doing a film in their school :]

    again, thanks a lot for giving us your thoughts on the film.
    and yeah, check out the other films, there’s some really nice stuff to see !

  • ‘After the rain’ is my favourite-stunning. California Love is off the dial but highly entertaining!

  • I was wondering what a “cholo” is and i made some google search. The main character was designed to be a nod to Eazy-E, the deceased rapper (according to our character designer, he was famous for his lust for women, and died from Aids ). There’s absolutely no racial related content in the movie, we even considered to put some random skins colors like green or blue to avoid this kind of things.

  • Some great entries this year, but my heart goes to After The Rain for its fun, dreamy elements (and much love for huge, cute creatures). I’ll tend to agree with other people who mentionned past films as having a bit more substance and will stay in my memory longer.
    I’ve heard that some of the Gobelins students are professionals who return to school. It may explain some of the high quality, if this is indeed the case (this needs to be verified- until then, just something I overheard)

  • Goeblins has consistently produced slick,quality,group projects that require the co-ordinated efforts of many students various talents.We will talk about Goeblins as a “group”,but Cal-Arts is known for the individual achievements of the student animators,such as Bruce Smith,Chris Sanders,Brad Bird,Peter Chung,Bill Kopp and many more.
    As a group,individuality has to be supressed for the benefit of the group,as an individual,you sink or swim on the merits of you own work.Choose one,both methods have proven to be effective.
    Obviously,one way is more of a risk than the other.I tend to like risk,that is what attracted me to the entertainment biz as an animator.
    My main issue with the “Cali love” story is that, as a lot of student films,it was not very well researched so the story will not travel well,especially with the people you were trying to portray.American animation students do it with fake anime and Ninja themed projects,that probably are sterotypical and racist to Asians,at best naive portrayals of someone eles’s culture and traditions.
    Eazy-E the rap artist,entreprenuer,who I knew well,was well known for his business acumen and for overcoming gang violence in Los Angeles.This potrayal of him is way off the mark,if that was the intent.
    The “date rape drug thing” is just a confusing metaphor.I just assumed that message was not intentional as the creator stated above?
    ….the artwork and technique is spectacular,just improve the writing and research,so I won’t have to do a sterotypical film about french people.

  • sean

    MattSullivan says:
    The animation quality beats the hell out of anything Calarts has ever produced, and I say that as a calarts graduate and working professional. I dont know if it’s laziness or what least none of these films are unfinished. Sadly, most calarts films are 3/4 storyboard panels.

    that’s probably the most ignorant statement I’ve heard from anybody.. especially a calarts graduate..

    hey matt sullivan.. have u even watched any of the character animation films in the past years? Have you seen Mark Ofdedal’s, Pete Doctor’s, Mark Walsh’s or Thor Freudenthal’s films? They are all done in PENCIL TEST and they still kill any of these “finished” films that you are talking about in terms of entertainment and telling a clear story!..

    It’s really annoying that people are so amazed at just the surface detail.. which might be the color.. the angle of the shots.. nice designs..believable movement..

    but what the hell is going on? I would much rather see students spending their time in the animatic/pencil test phrase and really try to get their drawings and moments to live on screen.. instead of spending so much time painting the eyelashes on each frame!

    .. when all is said and done..
    as ollie would say “What is the character thinking?”

  • A

    Thanks Mr. Brice, well put.

  • MattSullivan

    Maybe this school has a different style of teaching…and to them, a pencil test is antiquated technology.

  • MattSullivan >> Nope, we got to study 2D animation (and thus to make pencil tests) for 2 years before actually launching up a 3D software. That’s hard, that’s a lot of work, but i thinks it’s the best way to learn animation IMHO.

  • A

    I still would like to know what the message (if any) is behind the film, just out of curiosity you know?

    I suppose that’s a general complaint of the films from Gobs though right? Pretty motion, amazing artwork and skill, but as a (perhaps much too cynical) friend of mine liked to say, “let’s play a little game I like to call WHY.”

    Get it?

    Ah, anyways, not to be a sourpuss I should congratulate you, you really have to love the piece on a technical (artistic and all that jazz) level, it is EXCEPTIONAL. You’re much more talented than I, kudos!

  • you guys are bizarre, I am not really sure what you are looking for but I don’t think you are going to find it. I think it is quite clear that there are no negative intentions with this film at all. Not only that, it is very clear to understand and comes across very simply, not like so many of the student films you see trying to do WAY more than they know how, in terms of telling a story, and they don’t even have the technical chops to make it look decent.

    This film provides everything, a perfectly strong straightforward idea, brilliant execution and design, and so on. People who have issues with the animation are insane, look at the extra steps taken in the rigging and design to really make the animation interesting, there are some definite innovations in that regard.

    Anyway, so many are really missing the most important part, if someone can create something that causes a viewer to really be inspired to discuss, or even better sit down and do something creative with their inspiration. . .I mean, what is better than that? Forget the technical, forget the story, forget it all, when something can cross the threshold of just being entertaining for random people and inspire them to create something new, it is successful.

    I am definitely inspired, my current film will definitely improve after watching these new ones, for a variety of different reasons.

    Keep up the good work guys, and animation faculty around the country, you could learn a great deal from these guys. The biggest reason is not the teaching method or any of that. It is the PEOPLE! Gobelins is a different setup than most schools in that it is really focused on doing something specific, and they are bringing in TALENTED people and faculty. That is the biggest difference.

  • Jerry Brice

    I am extremely excited to really get started with this whole creating animation as a paying career thing. It is very exciting to be on a path to make your living doing something you actually enjoy!

    I always like to “consider the source”when it comes to actually taking one’s opinion,especially when it comes to an online chat room.You did feel the need to cast a personal attack on those that may have a different point of view than you have.
    I figured you were new at this,and probably an inexperienced kid.That’s okay,but you may want to check yourself before you call anyone else here “bizarre”?
    Your opinion is not based on experience….if your online resume is true,and I am pretty sure you recognize the quote you made above.
    It is naive to believe that calling yourself an experimental animator means that your work can not be held up to professional standards,….but,honestly,you do not have any professional experience,so I am curious as to what your comments are based on.
    Obviously not experience.