The student animators of the CalArts character animation program will get to showcase their work during the annual Character Animation Producers Show on May 3 at the Directors Guild of America.
Each year, CalArts’ School of Film/Video presents a juried selection of special screenings that unspool new short and feature-length films by students in its four programs: character animation, experimental animation, film and video, plus directing.
These films mark the culmination of projects the students have worked on throughout the school year. This year, 167 films were submitted; on average, 20 to 22 get chosen for the Producers Show.
For the first time in its history, this year’s show will feature three honored guests, who will include key female leaders from Disney: CalArts alumni Stevie Wermers-Skelton (“Prep & Landing”), Josie Trinidad (“Ralph Breaks the Internet”) and Meg LeFauve (“Inside Out,” “Gigantic”).
“As a proud CalArts graduate, it is an enormous privilege to be selected as a guest of honor,” Trinidad says. “I’m especially honored to be selected along with my fellow Disney Animation filmmakers, Meg LeFauve and Stevie Wermers.”
The spotlighted guests reflect changing gender demographics in CalArts’ experimental and character animation programs over the past 20 years — in 1996, only 29% of the programs’ students were female, but by spring 2016, 70% of the students were women.
The guests of honor will present three awards to the students, including the Walter and Gracie Lantz Animation Prize (juried by the character animation faculty), the Vimeo Award for Outstanding Student Achievement in Animated Filmmaking (juried by Vimeo) and the Peers’ Pick (juried by the students).
Throughout their four years in the different programs, the students get to explore an array of stories and a variety of different ways to express them, using the Character Animation Show as a platform on which to manifest those stories, says Maija Burnett, CalArts director of character animation.
“I’m really looking forward to celebrating the student films, and celebrating our guests of honor and having them be visible in front of our entire audience,” Burnett says.