Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 17th 2014 Contents B3
SUNDAY, AUGUST 17, 2014
ERLINE ANDREWS took in UTT's screening of
the work of its animation students, and came
Omar Lewis, one of the lecturers for UTT s
diploma in animation studies, opened the
fifth annual screening of work from pro-
gramme graduates with the kind of exag-
gerated praise you would expect from a proud
"We are creating a new visual language, a
new cultural iconography that the world has
never seen before," he said as he introduced
the "amazing films created by our amazing
Great amateur work
The half-hour of 14 short presentations
showed his words to be only slightly hyperbolic.
The 13 films and one game clip were great
amateur work. Even more fascinating, they
showed a wide spectrum of animator capa-
bilities, which went far beyond creating silly
characters aimed at children.
There was storytelling and comedy, as shown
in The Big Catch by Arminda Bailey---a Tom-
and-Jerry-esque, brain-vs-brawn confronta-
tion between a scarlet ibis and a crab. The
sparse pan soundtrack was a good fit and
made for a satisfying total-local package.
There were special effects, as in the oth-
erwise live action piece Bella Chronicles by
Rachel Grappie and Davonne Joseph, about a
little fluffy dog who transforms dramatically
when the human caretakers aren t around.
There were computer graphics and con-
ceptual creativity, like in Alive by Kevin
Richardson, which shows an artist dummy
naively try to emulate its owner when alone.
And then there were video games, like The
Antilles by Andy Berahazar, Abriel Samm and
Kegan McKie: a 3D game that resembles the
online hit Slender, except the player has to
escape characters from T&T s folklore.
The output was particularly impressive con-
sidering most of the students had only been
introduced to animation for the first time
when they entered the two-year course; most
of them did the final film essentially alone,
with guidance from lecturers and a little help
from friends, while they completed six courses
Animation expanding locally
Since the diploma started in 2008, it s
become a lot easier for those with the talent
to pursue a career in animation and other
forms of digital art. Previously, it may have
been necessary to go abroad to study and find
work in the field.
The recent growth spurt in the local film
industry suggests more opportunity for ani-
mators here. Trinidadian animator Shaun
Escayg this year released the short film Noka
online. Shot in T&T, it features wonderfully
executed computer-generated images. Another
respected filmmaker, Christopher Guinness,
incorporated animation in his award-winning
film Captain T&T.
A number of entrepreneurial endeavours
have cropped up, including the Lab 206 ani-
mation and graphic design studio run by for-
mer UTT students.
And of course there s the continued wide-
spread use of animation and computer graphics
The on-average 20 students who graduate
from the UTT programme---plus about 15 from
a YTEPP animation course---aren t enough to
meet the demand for their services, said UTT
programme administrator Camille Selvon Abra-
"We have a system in place where people
come to us for our students and right now
we don t have enough students to send out,"
"Five years ago, I had mothers coming to
me, crying, Please don t let her do animation
because there s no money in it, " she recalled.
"Look at this now," she said, sweeping an
arm across the crowded foyer of the National
Academy for the Performing Arts, where stu-
dents had set up tables to promote their work
shown in the adjacent theatre.
"Look at the excitement in the student s
face. Look at the excitement in the mother s
"The landscape is changing," she said.
"There s a shift in thinking in the value of
animation right now---that it s a real career,
it s a lucrative career. Parents are recognising
that it s a valid area of study."
Animae Caribe festival
Selvon Abrahams said that there s been a
substantial increase in the number of local
animated films submitted to Animae Caribe,
the animated film festival she founded 13 years
ago that has also helped boost interest in the
"For a lot of the student films that come
from here, Animae Caribe is their platform
to move on," she said. "Every year we definitely
get between 12 and 15 new [T&T] films. And
that s a feat; that s a big thing. In 2001, when
we had the first Animae Caribe, we had five
submissions from the Caribbean."
Ramon Granderson, who won the audience
prize for his masterful Chemical Wings, about
a young man s epic battle with a fly, said the
course at UTT gave him the opportunity to
pursue a dream he d had since he was a child.
Now, he said, he s fielding multiple job
"There is no one way to get money in ani-
mating," he said, "because there are different
fields of animation, whether it s traditional
animation, 3D animation, forensics animation,
[or] game animation."
Digital media arts degree in the works
UTT is hoping to increase the talent output
in the area with a bachelor s degree in digital
media arts due to start next year. It would be
a four-year programme with animation, film
and music technology specialisations.
It s a further sign of how far things have
"In my lifetime I don t think I ll see the
industry where it s supposed to be," said Selvon
Abrahams. "But I know it will damn well be
very far from where it was."
...more than just cartoons
Two of the UTT diploma in animation studies
projects shown at this year's screening:
Chemical Wings by Ramon Granderson and
The Big Catch by Arminda Bailey.
Links Archive August 16th 2014 Remembering World Wars 1-2 Navigation Previous Page Next Page