Animation Night Coming May 17

By: Brian Kleemann

Motion Picture/Television artwork promoting Animation Night at the MAC.

Animation students from College of DuPage’s Motion Picture/Television (MPTV) program will screen their end-of-year projects during the 11th annual Animation Night at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, in the Belushi Performance Hall, located at the McAninch Arts Center on campus in Glen Ellyn.

Animation Night is a capstone celebration where advanced students showcase projects they have completed throughout the semester and during their time in the program. Thirteen students will screen their work, which includes hand-drawn animation and computer-generated imagery. In addition, work from other animation classes as well as projects from area high school students will also be screened.

MPTV Professor Tony Venezia said he is impressed by the students’ work. Near the middle of the term, he brought in a professional animator to provide feedback.

“Each week, we review the students’ works in progress, so it is important to have a fresh set of eyes provide students with suggestions and insights. These can then be implemented into their final projects,” he said.

Venezia said the stories being told reflect a variety of animation styles and storytelling approaches. For example, one is about the decision a mother must make about her daughter, who has an incurable illness.

“The student’s artistic style is impressive and reminds me of the Superman series from the classic 1940s Max Fleischer series,” he said. “It’s very serious as are the drawings. Another story that is humorous is about a character literally in hell, as Satan goes on leave and has this character take over.”

Animation student Nikki Patel of Aurora is combining traditional and digital animation to tell the comical story of a witch that leaves a mushroom in charge of several kids.

“I had a dream one night that this child was wielding an ax, and I thought, ‘Why is this? Someone irresponsible must be watching them.’ And then a mushroom came to mind,” she said.

Patel’s interest in animation began when watching films as a child, especially “101 Dalmatians.” She appreciated the intimacy of the illustrations and storytelling as well as creative details such as the dogs sliding around the musical notes. In high school, she took an animation course that further developed her enjoyment of the art form.

Although she initially wanted to go to school in Chicago, Patel liked the programming and resources at COD.

“All of the professors in the Animation program want their students to succeed,” she said. “They are getting us ready for the future.”

Patel currently works at a production company while finishing her Associate in Applied Science in Animation. Her goal is to continue working while pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

She would love as many people as possible to attend Animation Night and see what she and her classmates have produced.

“The Animation program creates a friendly and fun environment for us. The teachers are great, and peer tutors are available to help the students with anything that comes up.”

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. before the screening begins. Participating students will have booths to discuss how their work was created and to display their portfolios. For more information about Animation Night, email venezia@cod.edu.

Learn more about the Motion Picture/Television program