For one day only, an award-winning short film by the BYU Center for Animation will be available in its entirety for viewing online. The day to see "Pajama Gladiator" is Wednesday, Oct. 29.
The BYU film is one of 30 selected from more than 4,500 submissions as a finalist in the Nicktoons Network Animation Festival. Each of the selected films is posted for one day on the festival's Web site and aired on the network the same night. Viewers are encouraged to vote for their favorite, with the winner landing the festival's "Viewers' Choice" award. To view the film and vote on Wednesday, Click here.
Ben Porter and Glenn Harmon were still BYU students when they produced and directed "Pajama Gladiator." It has already been awarded the festival's "Producers' Choice" award. This award is especially sweet for the Center because the Nicktoons Festival is not limited to student entries. And Porter doesn't want to stop there, so he urges fans of the BYU Center's work to get out and vote.
"Now is your chance to do your part for a film you like," says Porter, who is now working for Pixar on its next animated feature."Studios know that the more people like their product, the more money they will make. Let's show Hollywood that 'the people' like the kinds of films BYU makes!"
The film is the latest in a line of BYU successes that includes seven College Television Awards (commonly known as "Student Emmys") from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and two "Student Academy Awards" from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Ed Catmull, president of Pixar, declared BYU students "the best in the industry" at a press conference on campus in March.
"Over the years, Pixar has worked with a lot of different universities around the country and hired people," Catmull said then. "One of the interesting things is, all of a sudden, in the last few years, we found that BYU has risen to the top. BYU has an extraordinary program here."
Porter is quick to share credit with the dozens of other seniors who worked on the film with him. He also recognizes the unique resources available to BYU animators such as the university's supercomputer and virtual reality theater, funded by Arizona philanthropists Ira and Mary Lou Fulton. And he also thanked the crowd at a BYU basketball game, whose voices were recorded to double as the crowd noise heard in the animated short.
The film chronicles the adventures of Eli, a boy up past his bedtime who ends up battling aliens in a gladiatorial realm armed only with his trusty blanky.
BYU animation students have also fared well in their highly competitive field, maintains Center director Brent Adams.
"Recognition in this festival is another example of the success of these students," he says. "We have professionals from all the top animation studios visiting our classes every month to mentor our students and lay the foundation to recruit them."
Adams explained that the film festivals the program enters prohibit any films that have been publicly available.
That's what makes this one-day showing such a rare opportunity, he says. "I hope all the people who have been asking how they can see the whole film know about this chance."
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