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Review: CalArts Character Animation Producers Show

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By Jonathan Peters

Last night, CalArts put on their annual Producers Show, showcasing some of the best work created by the school’s character animation students. CalArts has cultivated the premier program in animation and to watch this show is to glimpse the future of the field. Little wonder industry types and students alike packed the expansive Leonard H. Goldenson hall to catch the 24 shorts included on the bill.

After faculty introductions, legendary director and CalArts alum John Musker (The Princess and the Frog) handed out awards for three deserving shorts. Skyler Page won the Peers’ Pick for Crater Face, an almost touching story of a crater-astronaut relationship scored to indie rocker Dan Deacon’s music. Eric Anderson and Michael Rianda shared the Walter and Gracie Lantz Animation Prize for separate shorts. Anderson’s The Hardest Jigsaw, about a girl practically puzzle-obsessed was not only imaginatively animated and appealingly warm, but filled with humorous touches. Likewise, Rianda’s Work, about a boy who learns the hard lesson that work sucks after entering a workplace and receiving a job instantly, not only had a cute black-and-white aesthetic, but a decently funny script and some surprisingly comic moments.