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Jin An “Arnie” Wong and Dania McManus Wong have lost everything in a recent three alarm fire. These two lovely people were planning their retirement in Hawaii when the fire consumed everything they own: all their clothing, photos, surfboards, computers, vehicles and almost 40 years worth of exceptional art from Arnie’s career as an animator and artist. Insurance will cover the redevelopment of the building but not their personal belongings. They lost it ALL but still have each other (thankfully!) and they still have us, their community and extended family. Over the many years we’ve known them personally, they’ve helped us through some of the toughest challenges with deep integrity, love, and an inclusive attitude that has made all the difference in the world. Now it is our turn to return that energy to them and help them start a fresh new life on the Kona side of the big island of Hawaii, where they own the last piece of raw jungle land that will become home in their tree house during the next chapter of their lives. Donate to help them recover and find grace in this trying time.
Aaron Blaise posted his Hippo Pose/Model Sheet up on Facebook back in August 2015.
Yesterday, he posted up his “Hippo Funk Dance” with the description: “I’ve finally finished my dancing Hippo animation. I’ll be using this animation for two upcoming tutorials, one on animating to music and it will also be part of my upcoming course on character design.”
For more information about Blaise and his hippo dance, click here!
Our second “Animation Profile” features Kendra Williford. Williford recently graduated in Spring 2015 with the completion of her film, Leonid in Space. Within these few months, her short has been selected into 9 film festivals with awards and merits.
Why an MFA degree in 2D/Traditional Animation & Stop Motion at AAU?
I have loved 2 things since I was a young kid—1) Drawing, and 2) Traditional Animation. I grew up watching Disney films, and wanted to study with professors who had first-hand experience working on those films and in the industry.
Name 3 big influences during your time as a student at AAU.
- The first time I watched Frank & Ollie (Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, former Disney Animators) it changed my whole perspective on animation.
- Shaking Ted Thomas’ hand (Frank’s son) when he was touring the school.
- Watching Sherrie Sinclair, Michael Vickner, and Diana Coco-Russell take my work and transform it before my eyes to something better.
In less than 3 sentences, what is your film about?
Leonid in Space follows Leonid, a homeless dog, who goes from living on the streets to becoming the first canine cosmonaut.
While you were working on your thesis project, which personified emotion from Inside Out would you have been?
I would have to say I experienced them all at one time or another, but most of all it teetered between fear and disgust. I was afraid I wouldn’t finish on time, and I was disgusted by my lack of knowledge when I wanted to know it all instantly!
Tools/programs you used to make your film?
Photoshop, ToonBoom Harmony, Premiere Pro
Why did you decide to submit your film into festivals?
I wanted to get some feedback from judges, and I wanted to see how audiences responded to the film. I also wanted exposure, to maybe help me obtain an animation job.
After you graduated from AAU, what are you up to now?
Taking odd (but artistic) jobs, trying to find a place at an animation studio.
Would you encourage future graduate students to submit their work to festivals? If so, what would you suggest for them to do and NOT to do?
Absolutely! However, make sure the festivals you submit to have animation or student specific categories. It is VERY difficult for judges to judge a live action film against an animated film, especially if said judges have no experience in the field of animation. If you pick a festival that has an animation category, the chances go up of them knowing a little something about the category (although this may not be true in all cases). Not only that, the student categories tend to be cheaper—allowing you to submit to more festivals.
Which festival has been your favorite so far and why?
The Los Angeles Independent Film Festival has been my favorite so far, not because I won the category, but because they were quick to respond to the submission, and broadcasted the selections on their site—which means more exposure for the filmmakers.
If you can only watch one film on constant replay for the rest of your life, what would it be?
List of all the festivals your film has been selected and screened at.
Los Angeles Independent Film Festival—Best Student Animation
North Carolina Film Awards—Director’s Award
Best Shorts Competition—Award of Merit
Gwinnett Center International Film Festival—Nominated for Best Animation; Best Director of an Animated Film
Dog Film Festival—Official Selection
Shortz! Film Festival—Official Selection
Accolade Global Film Competition—Official Selection and Award of Merit for Student Animation
InterShort Online Film Awards—Official Selection
ITSA Film Festival—Official Selection
To follow Kendra Williford and Leonid in Space, visit the links below:
Leonid in Space’s Facebook Page
Kendra Williford’s Website:
Kendra Williford’s Facebook Page:
Check out this insightful podcast interview with Bronwen Barry about The Animation Guild (“The Union”) here!