Friday, May 7, 2010

Pratt Show

There are issues in animation education.  Many issues.

Most of these parallel problems facing higher education in general and arts education in particular.  Primary is the transformation of the University to a "service institute" -a place where the student is a customer and the customer is always right.

Some students excel in an open environment.  In animation programs, these are the artists who already have a basic drawing/painting skill set who are motivated to learn beyond the classroom and their peers and who have things they want to say.

Last night Pratt Institute had its Senior Show at Anthology Film Archives.

Several years ago the program was vibrant.  It produced several students with accomplished character animation skills as well as a few interesting experimenters.   It seems the traditional animation has shrunk. It's even hard to find on their website, giving the appearance of an administrative phasing out in favor of the more lucrative digital animation path.

The evening's program consisted of ten or so students -each of whom has something commendable in their work.

Most East Coast animation schools are geared towards fostering individualist filmmakers.  Keep in mind that most 20 year olds have little to say.  This leaves the viewer grasping at moments, holding on to bits of strength -a nice turn of animation, strong layout, smart design or color choices, interesting effects.

While most films offered moments, one student, Kelsey Stark presented a thesis film which was remarkable by itself.  I didn't catch the title -Ghost Progression, maybe.  Something with ghosts, anyway.

It's almost rises to level of JJ Villard's "Son of Satan" for great student film.

The thesis film isn't online, but she has another very good film:

People Talking from Kelsey Stark on Vimeo.


Anonymous said...

The ghost film is called L.G.F.U.A.D.
She is not releasing it on the internet because she plans to submit it to some festivals.

Also, here is your Catch 22: How can young filmmakers get 'mature, experienced films' without making 'immature, not experienced films'? What would you rather have seen? Classroom exercises?

roconnor said...

I'm not sure what you're asking.

I have no issue with students making awkward and imperfect work. I also don't have any problem with programs showcasing student exercises.

The Pratt screening was interesting, in part, because all the students featured had at least one commendable aspect to their work. That's solid.

There was discussion on one site (maybe Cartoon Brew) regarding putting films -particularly student films online. When the discussion started I was only aware of two festivals/awards -Sundance and the Academy Awards -that had any restrictions about films running online.

A few festival programmers chimed in to say they didn't care if a film was online.

Considering a student is more likely to gain employment from people seeing her work than winning one of two highly exclusive festivals -it only makes sense to run your films online.