Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A tremendous Prix

Bit Films was born ten years ago this September. Born from a crazy idea that students could and should work together to make films that push the medium of computer animation into meatier and more thoughtful places than Hollywood was willing to attempt. From Displacement (2002) to Catch (2005) to The Incident at Tower 37 (2009) to Caldera (2012) to Tube (upcoming), we've kept on doing it, and today we're especially honored because the venerable Prix Ars Electronica gave one of its two Awards of Distinction to Caldera!


This is a terrific acknowledgement of the creative vision and leadership of Evan Viera and Chris Bishop, as well as a wonderful honor to all the crew members who worked to bring this film to life.

But it is also a celebration of the model--radical at times but perhaps not so much any more--that we've been trying to follow for almost a decade: where undergraduate liberal arts students work closely with fellow students and mentors, complementing their individualized, course-based education with hands-on, high-end, collaborative work; where an institution like Hampshire College offers its space and resources to independent artists at no cost because it recognizes the benefits for all involved of having such people around; and where ideas for animated films that certainly don't scream "cartoon!" can take root, mature, and ultimately emerge as fully-formed ideas.

It means all the more to me that Evan and Chris are alums of this program -- they both participated on Bit Films projects when they were students and continued to do so after they graduated. I was pleased to be able to invite them into the Drome when Caldera was still nascent, and now they've come full circle--from students to project supervisors--with distinction, no less!