Senior wins national animation competition

September 18, 2015 — by Gwynevere Hunger

A white paper lined with gold leaves and two black cameras peeked out of the envelope as senior Marcus Emery ripped open the package that he had just received in the mail the middle of summer vacation. A wide grin spread on his face as he read the letter enclosed; his film, “Dooble—The Short Winged Quail,” had been nominated as a finalist in the animation category of the All-American Film Festival, to which he had submitted his application a month earlier. 

A white paper lined with gold leaves and two black cameras peeked out of the envelope as senior Marcus Emery ripped open the package that he had just received in the mail the middle of summer vacation. A wide grin spread on his face as he read the letter enclosed; his film, “Dooble—The Short Winged Quail,” had been nominated as a finalist in the animation category of the All-American Film Festival, to which he had submitted his application a month earlier. 

The main focus of the animation piece he submitted to the competition was a short film centered around just a circle, which he created by using a the popular digital animation program Adobe After Effects and by watching tutorials on YouTube for help.

“I never actually intended to turn the animation that got nominated into an actual short film, but this turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life,” Emery said.

Emery got the confidence to submit his animations to the All American Film Festival from his success in the the Bay Area Teen Festival in May, in which he won the grand prize. He submitted two videos into the competition — one under the category of Experimental Animation and another in the category of 2D Digital Animation — both of which he was encouraged to enter by Media Arts Program (MAP) teacher Cathy Leather last March.

The grand prize was a membership at the Walt Disney Animation Museum and a private tour of Pixar Animation studios.

Through this experience, Emery was able to learn more about the professional animation world.

“Being able to not only talk to and interact with Pixar employees but to actually show them my work and get feedback was seriously just incredible,” Emery said.

Emery attributes his success to his involvement in MAP, which he has been a part of since freshman year. Through the program, Emery has been able to develop skills to further his animations after his first exposure in Redwood Middle School’s Media Arts elective. It was through MAP that Emery was exposed to short film and animation, elements he combined to create his competition pieces.

“I would not have gone to SHS if it had not been for MAP,” Emery said. “I know that if I went to any other school, there is probably no way I would have rekindled my interest in digital arts, animated on my own time or entered these competitions.”

To celebrate his success, Emery plans to attend The All-American Film Festival, which will be held from Oct. 7-9 in New York City’s Times Square, with his family.

“I felt so honored to be nominated,” Emery said. “I've always tried to thank God for small miracles, so when this news came around, there was a lot of thanks being handed out. My family all celebrated, and I'm pretty sure my parents got more excited than I was.”

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