Animation Festival honors labors of love

A special wing of the Film Studies department is housed in the Studio Art building; students stumble in and out of Clement Hall with ink-splattered fingers and droopy eyes. You can easily pick out the animation students at the Hop this time of the term — they slog into the cafe, grab a caffeinated item and plod back to their temporary home. Tonight, all their work comes together in one of the most popular student productions of the year.

The Annual Student Animation Festival will be held tonight in Loew Auditorium at 7:15 p.m. The show features short animated films from 13 Dartmouth students.

Out of the Ivies, only Dartmouth, Penn and Harvard offer animation classes — and none are able to offer classes year-round. While Dartmouth animation professor David Ehrlich hosts independent-study students almost every term, Film Studies 35 (Animation I) is only offered about once a year. Even so, the class remains small — not many students are willing to devote the required minimum of 20-25 hours per week to the class.

Dartmouth students have gone on to be nominated for student Academy Awards for their work. The show tonight will feature work from all types of students: from Studio Art majors to pre-meds to, of course, the film kids. Some finished pieces look like professional works of art, while others focus more on experimental, narrative or abstract ideas.

The show will start with students’ exercises from earlier this term, and it will conclude with each student’s final project. The range of styles is notable — the students have animated everything from a music video to a bad drug trip to a simple narrative tale of growing up. An independent project from veteran animator Rebeckah Groves ’06 will end the program.

In between the exercises and final projects, Ehrlich’s freshmen seminar students from Film Studies 7: Creative Artists in Film will perform a humorous skit about creativity and expressing one’s artistic side. Animator and actor Aaron Golas ’07 will star as an “animated” caricature of Professor Ehrlich.

An uncountable number of hours of work went into the films being shown tonight — join Dartmouth’s sleep-deprived animators to celebrate their labors of love.

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