Disney comes to Teesside University

Disney and other top animators, game designers and film visual effects companies descended on Teesside University for a week of talks, workshops and exhibitions.

Animex International Festival of Animation and Computer Games saw speakers from Disney, Sony, Blizzard and many others  talk with students from the University.

Renato Dos Anjos from Disney brought his latest project, Zootropolis, and allowed students an advance viewing several weeks before the international premier.

Gabrielle Kent, Festival Organiser and Senior Lecturer in Computer Games Development at Teesside University, said: “We are delighted to have Renato in attendance at this year’s Animex to give a behind the scenes look at the development of a feature that hasn’t even reached the UK yet.”

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James Barker interviewing Elizabeth Rega

It was not just animators and directors who attended the festival.

Elizabeth Rega, Consultant of Animation with Disney and also Professor of Anatomy for Western University in California, has been a number of times.

She spoke with students about facial expressions and said that she always looks forward to sitting in on other speakers.

“I’m very excited for the other talks. The motion capture talk, I’m very excited for this. As well as the Zootropolis premier,” She said.

“There’s going to be some very remarkable work there and it’s amazing that we get the premier, seven weeks before it’s actually released and here it is premiering in Middlesbrough.”

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Disney’s Dan Lund talking about ‘Aria for a Cow’

Dan Lund, the Director of Disney’s short film “Aria for a cow”, explained that he had previous students who haD attended Animex help create his new film and wanted to come back to show off the results.

But he also enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the event.

He said: “You ask anyone who has been to Animex before. It is like a family reunion.”

“Even if I am meeting people who I’ve never met before, but has been here before, we all have the same vibe of wanting to come here and hang out with the other speakers.

“Tonight we get to hang out with the students, which is so cool and a unique experience.”

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Stephanie Dominguez, background artist for ‘Aria for a Cow’

The project was also helped by background artist, Stephanie Dominguez. She came to Animex in 2014 and is new to the industry.

She said: “I definitely want to come back again. The main point (about Animex) is networking.”

“You get to meet everyone from the industry and all the students. I’m only a few steps further from the students but it is always good to see what is coming next.”

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VFX overlays for the film ‘The Martian’

Pascal Etangsale, from ‘The Moving Picture Company’, came to Teesside and spoke with the students about his visual effects used on ‘The Martian’ film.

He said: “Creating the bridge between the people who are actually working in the industry and people who want to work, is very important.”

“It motivates people and takes away the formalities that you may encounter. So it’s great that you allow people to get into a networking relaxed context.”

Animex is now 16 years old and was a chance for people to see what direction the industry is moving in, to network with companies and make contacts for prospective employers.

Each speaker was interviewed after their talks and those interviews can be seen on the official YouTube channel or the Facebook page.

from Tside