BU Master’s student wins animation prize

Posted on Thursday, November 1 2012

A Master’s animation student at Bournemouth University won the prize for best student film at an animation festival in Miami.

Leo Crane, who is about to graduate with a distinction from the MA 3D Computer Animation course at BU, won the award for his film The Library, which was created for his final Master’s project.

The MIA Animation Festival is an industry conference, which features expert guest speakers alongside screenings of films.

Among those who gave masterclasses at the festival – and made up the jury who decided winners of the awards – were animators who had worked on films ranging from Disney’s The Little Mermaid to Marvel’s recent Avengers film.

Leo, 32, managed to attend the festival, which took place in South Beach, Miami, on October 21 and 22.

He said: “All of the speakers at the conference are senior people from the industry, so I made some amazing contacts.

“It was great to win and totally unexpected, as there were a couple of other films which were much more technically proficient that mine was and films that had been made by teams of people when I created mine on my own.

“I spoke to the jury and they said it was more about storytelling and narrative, and the characters that I created.”

The Library, which Leo created in around ten weeks, is based in private member’s library London Library and features two characters – Theo and Annie – who are sat opposite each other doing research into Renaissance Italian art.

Leo said: “While looking at the beautiful subject matter, they notice each other but are subdued by the strict library etiquette where they are not allowed to speak to each other or interact to act out the repressed fantasy that mixes with the art that they are looking at.”

He received a graphic tablet as a prize, and is now using that to work on his second film, which will build on The Library.

Leo, who lives in London, said: “It would probably have been too expensive for me to buy myself, but it is great as it is exactly what I needed.

“I really wanted to launch myself into this new field and it is great to have the kudos of winning this award.

“I have been in touch with the organisers and jury members since, so it is great for contacts and will help me in terms of credibility and securing funding if I direct or produce new films.”

He added that he learnt a lot while doing his Master’s at the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA), which is based at BU and was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize last year for its world class teaching.

“It has got such amazing facilities and I was aware that I was only going to have them for a year so spend as much time as I possibly could in there developing my skills,” he said.

Adam Twycross, Programme Coordinator of the MA 3D Computer Animation degree course, said the award win was a great achievement.

“It’s great to see how well Leo’s film is doing internationally, and I’m sure it marks the start of an exciting and rewarding career in CG,” he said.

“His success stands as testament to the hard work and dedication he showed while studying with us, as well as confirming the commitment of NCCA staff to delivering a truly exceptional teaching and learning environment.”