Computer Graphics World

April 2011

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Page 41 of 51

■ ■ ■ ■ Education tract talented animators more interested in working in Berlin than in the company’s Ludwigsburg studio. And they did, starting with Anima- tion Mentor graduate Max Stöhr. We talked with Stöhr and three other Animation Mentor alumni who signed on for the show. Stöhr introduced Tobias von Burkersroda, also an alumnus of Ani- mation Mentor, to directors Max Lang and Jakob Schuh. And, von Burkersroda introduced two Mentor Choice Award winners that he had met: Maciej Gliwa from Poland and Alli Sadegiani from Sweden. Fast-forward to 2010. At the Annecy International Animated Film Fes- tival and Market, “Th e Gruff alo” wins best TV special. Th e fi lm receives a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nomination for best short animation and makes the Oscar nomination shortlist for Best Common Ties B erlin, 2009. A three-room fl at stuff ed with animators, direc- tors, various computers, desks, and tables, and everyone work- ing on Studio Soi’s “Th e Gruff alo,” a BBC television special. Th e award-winning studio had rented the space in part to at- Former students build a tight bond as they help create award-winning animation By Barbara Robertson Animated Short Film. Th e TV special receives a fi rst prize at IFTS in Tricks for Kids, and at Prix Jeunesse in the age 7–11 and children’s jury catego- ries. It also wins an award at the Ottawa International Film Festival as Best Television Animation Made for Children. Most recently, “Th e Gruff alo” was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Short Film (animated) category but fell short to “Th e Lost Th ing.” While the Animation Mentor alumni are justifi ably proud of the awards, they treasure the time spent together with the other animators who worked on “Gruff alo.” “One of the special things about ‘Gruff alo’ was the vibe in the stu- dio,” says Gliwa, who is now at PDI/DreamWorks. “Animation Men- tor brought us together.” “We had a blast,” adds Sadegiani, who had moved on to work on Walt Disney Animation Studio’s Tangled after ‘Th e Gruff alo.’ “None of us know actually what it was, but there was a chemistry. We became best friends. I’ve never experienced anything like that before.” In a serendipitous turn of events, four students from the same animation school fi nd work— and friendship—at Studio Soi in Germany. 40 April 2011

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