RIT’s character animators took all but one of the top prizes for student films at the 2D or Not 2D Animation Festival. Tony White originated the idea of giving awards to animation in a film as well as for the film itself, so that good animation could be judged independently of the story.The festival featured screenings of restored prints of ANIMAL FARM, retrospectives of Tony White’s work, a tribute to Halas and Batchelor, and many other surprises. Keynote speaker Roy Disney (pictured above with Steamboat Willie)stated that he wished to “refute that ridiculous statement of Michael Eisner’s that 2D was dead. It is not dead, and the statement is not true.” Mr. Disney presented a wonderful series of Disney short films inlcuding LORENZO and the Salvador Dali-Walt Disney coproduction DESTINO, and generously donated the use of the audiovisual equipment used for the rest of the festival entries. Eric Goldberg’s latest animation for a Buddhist theme park, featuring greedy monkeys, was another high point of the festival.Films in competition were sent from as far afield as Germany and Wales, with East and West Coast animation schools well represented (though Cal Arts and Ringling were surprisingly absent–we’ll get them to participate next year!)”Golden Pencils” were won by RIT seniors Brittney Lee, Joseph Daniels, and Jedidiah Mitchell, with Merit Awards given to graduate student Adam Fisher and sophomore Wesley Storhoff. Some of their prizewinning RIT films from the 2D or not 2D festival are available online.You can view Brittney Lee’s THE MUSICAL GENIUS OF MOZART MCFIDDLE (Winner, Best Animation in a Student Film with Special Merit for Art direction). Merit Award winner THE BALLAD OF THE PURPLE CLAM, is (partly) here: Adam Fisher’s advisor was Tom Gasek (of Aardman, now of RIT). Joe Daniels and Jed Mitchell won the Best Student Film award for THE WAY OF THE MANTIS, tied with A MANO (from VanArts) Even though MANTIS appears to be hand drawn, it is in fact a CGI film that is rendered to look like paintbrush work–the students designed the plug-in for Maya themselves. Merit Award winner Wes Storhoff’s THE INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM is not online, but it’s hilarious–the young man produced it in Nancy Beiman’s ‘one quarter project’ class, which lasted ten weeks. One of my students, Nathaniel Hubbell, sadly did not enter his film, Pygmalion Dreams, but it’s gorgeous. He also made a strange little film called DINNER (both made under my supervision).All of these students save Adam Fisher were my advisees and most have allowed me to use their preproduction artwork to illustrate sections of my book, which is now available for preorder on amazon.com. A special Golden Pencil Award was also awarded to their teacher. I was certainly not expecting that! The festival was well attended and we hope that it will be even ‘bigger’ next year.
(Photo courtesy of Mark Gittman)