The second International Student Animation Festival of Ottawa (SAFO)
wrapped up on Sunday. The festival received an astonishing 745 entries,
from students, and, this year, first time filmmakers. 59 student films,
ranging from primary, secondary and post-secondary levels were screened.
The international jury, comprised of Suzanne Buchan (Switzerland), Eric
Darnell (USA), Peter Dougherty (USA/UK), George Griffin (USA), and Marcy
Page (Canada), awarded the Grand Prix, Best Film In Competition, to
"Grace," by Lorelei Pepi (USA). The Royal College Of Art (UK) won The Grand
Prix for Best School In Competition. Although all of them offer strong
practical training, the six schools nominated this year for "Achievement in
Animation Education" (La Cambre, CalArts/Experimental Animation, Edinburgh
College of Art, Royal College of Arts, Rhode Island School of Design and
Turku Arts Academy) promote themselves as Art schools first. To prevent
restrictive specialization, students are encouraged to take a wide range of
courses, as well as to develop personal exploration, in order to continue
to grow as artists and be able to use animation as a fine, applied or
commercial art. This approach admittedly presents the risk of cutting
students off from the realities of film production. However, these schools
can pride themselves on quite a few brilliant career paths. CalArts' former
students include John Lasseter ("A Bug's Life"), Henry Selick ("Nightmare
Before Christmas") and Eric Darnell ("Antz"). Guionne Leroy, from La Cambre
School (Belgium), became an animator for John Lasseter and Henry Selick, as
well as director of her own amazing short films.
Many schools offer excellent training in their specific domains. Former
students from CalArts' Character Animation department, Sheridan College and
CFT Gobelins (CFT's former student and teacher, Kristof Serrand, will be
the animation director on DreamWork's next feature "Spirit"), to name just
a few, are holding influential positions at most of the major studios.
Finding the right school might be a challenge, but one should always keep
in mind one's interests and future goals, whether it be working for a large
studio, directing independent shorts, developing computer games, or new
If you are looking for a school, a visit to AWN's on-line Animation School
Profile database can provide you fast access to detailed information on
over 400 schools. You can search Schools by name, location, program types,
degrees offered, and even do a keyword search through the entire database.
Visit AWN's on-line database
Schools and More Schools!"
Before jumping into a program, it is
best to know what they are offering and what you want. Pamela Kleibrink
Thompson explains in the January 1999 issue of Animation World Magazine.
Back on the University Days: A Survey of Alumnae,"
fresh from the world's top animation schools reminisce about their
This survey was just one of the articles offered in our 1997
Animation World Magazine profiled three schools that have recently received
major donations from leading corporations: Sheridan College, California
Institute of the Arts, and The University of Southern California. Read
Programs: Three School Profiles"
in our August 1997 issue.
Animation World Magazine's June 1998
issue focused on Education & Training as well.
For a complete list of SAFO '99 winners, visit the festival's official web