Over the last few years, animation degree students and alumni have produced some high quality content that has grabbed the attention of Hollywood. A few of these shorts have gone on to create full-fledged features while others have remained just as they are, a labor of love for students and professionals alike.
Following is a group of the more notable Oscar nominated shorts and the animators behind them.
If the name sounds familiar for animation students, it is. 9 is the embryonic little brother to the feature film of the same name released in 2009. The short was directed, animated, and written by UCLA graduate Shane Acker. Released in 2005, 9 was developed by Acker while he was studying at UCLA’s Animation Workshop.
Praised by Tim Burton, a CalArts graduate, the short was nominated for the Academy Award in the Animated Short category. It would go on to lose against The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation, but Acker wouldn’t call it a complete loss. 9 won the Gold Student Academy Award, and on top of that, Tim Burton’s praise came with production money and 9 quickly turned into a feature film.
Acker produced a number of short films while at UCLA’s Animation Workshop, but the incredible success of 9 is what brought him into the big leagues.
Departure of Love (2010)
Departure of Love is the labor of love of Ringling College of Art and Design alumna Jenna Bors. Conceived as her senior thesis while at Ringling College, Departure of Love was created using industry software like Maya, Adobe After Effects and Premiere.
The short was inspired by silent films in the 1920’s and the comedies of silent film star Buster Keaton. It features the love story of man and woman, with a silent film twist.
While the film was not nominated for a full-fledged Oscar, it was awarded the 2010 Student Academy Award Gold Medal and the CINE Award of Excellence. The full short is available to watch online, alongside more of Jenna Bors’ work.
Adam and Dog (2012)
The most recent nominee on this list, Adam and Dog is a love letter to the animation days of old. Animated by Minkyu Lee and his team of 27 animators, Adam and Dog features the story of the first dog in existence traveling through the Garden of Eden. Lee and his team utilized a hand-drawn style to produce the short.
Minkyu Lee is not a student of art design per se, but his contributions to the world of animation are still pretty big. Lee not only works at Disney on big projects, but also as a professor at CalArts. Lee teaches Character Animation at the school and has worked on a number of big projects for Disney’s animation studios.
These three animated shorts should serve as inspiration for young animators. The instant success of 9 that brought Shane Acker to Hollywood, the student awards for Departure of Love and Jenna Bors, and the animation teacher extraordinaire behind Adam and Dog. All tales of inspiration for any young student pursuing an animation degree.
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