Success for First Ever Animation Base Camp

Published: 31 Aug 2016

Mentors from Sony Pictures Animation in Los Angeles foster new talent from Scotland, Ireland & Norway

The first ever Animation Base Camp draws to a close on Friday 2 September 2016, as 15 animation graduates come to the completion of an intense trainee programme working with top industry mentors from Sony Pictures Animation in Los Angeles.

Therapist Office
Georgi Petrov (Sony Pictures Animation)

Presented by Once Were Farmers and The Animation Centrifuge with support from Creative Scotland, this innovative new programme has been designed to develop skills and support the transition from study to employment.

Base Camp participants
Photo montage of the graduates by Fraser MacLean

Natalie Usher, Director of Screen, Creative Scotland, said:

“We’ve been hugely impressed by the inspirational and collaborative industry-based working environment created by the partners in The Animation Base Camp. The Base Camp has presented a fantastic opportunity for this international group of participants, helping them to develop their skills and be supported while they navigate the transition from animation education to the workplace. This programme is one of a number of valuable initiatives taking place across Scotland to develop a skilled and diverse screen workforce, and underlines our ambition to support and strengthen Scotland’s animation industry.”

Thanks to trans-Atlantic video conferencing and computer lab facilities provided by Glasgow Caledonian University, the Sony Pictures Animation team - producers of worldwide hits such as Hotel Transylvania, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and hybrid live action/animated blockbuster The Smurfs - have been able to supervise the graduates' work in an industry-based working environment.

For the past two months the trainees have been based at Glasgow Caledonian University working to an original concept developed exclusively for the Animation Base Camp by Director David Feiss, director on The Ren & Stimpy Show during its first season and creator of the ground-breaking Cow and Chicken animation series and most recently director of Sony Pictures Animation’s feature-length Open Season: Scared Silly.

Georgi Petrov & Irina Kovalova (Sony Pictures Animation)

James Williams, Head of Layout, Sony Pictures Animation, said:

“It’s wonderful to have this opportunity to showcase the work of upcoming animation talent. The team of mentors here at Sony Pictures Animation have thoroughly enjoyed nurturing their potential and enabling them to develop their skills to feature-level working practices.  Gaining practical experience of international collaboration early in their careers is incredibly valuable, and paves the way for future co-production. This is an exciting foundation on which to build."

This ambitious eight-week training initiative is the brain child of a new Glasgow based Animation Company, The Animation Centrifuge (founded by industry veterans Fraser MacLean and James Williams). Co-founder and Co-Director of Once Were Farmers, Will Adams, commented: 

“The Animation Base Camp has helped young aspiring artists to develop new traditional and digital skills, helping them through the often difficult transition from study to employment, with guidance from industry leaders whose screen credits span some of the best loved and most successful animated productions of recent years. 

“Through the Base Camp, and by running smaller-scale practical workshops hosted by top industry talent from around the globe, The Animation Centrifuge aims to expand the production and co-production opportunities for individuals and animation studios in all three participating countries; bridging the gap between animation education and the industries eager to hire graduates with industry-ready skills.”

Georgi Petrov & Irina Kovalova (Sony Pictures Animation)

Simon Haslett, Glasgow Caledonian University’s Digital Design Technologies’ Module Leader & Head of VFX, said:

“This is a great example of GCU’s commitment to grow the talent base for the modern Scottish Film industry & beyond! It is both valuable & essential to work in cooperation with the modern industry to maximise GCU's aim of becoming a top centre of excellence, producing talented graduates with the correct combination of skill sets to make them immediately employable on high level productions.”

Alexander Lowrie (Sony Pictures Animation)

Participants for the training programme were selected from Scotland, Ireland & Norway. Solvor Amdal, CEO, Midtnorsk Filmsenter, Norway, said:

"The Animation Base Camp is a unique experience for our young filmmakers. It is a fantastic opportunity for them to connect with fellow animation graduates in Ireland and Scotland, learn from the great masters at Sony Pictures Animation and not least see how the industry works, and gain an understanding of what will be expected from them in the future."

Alexander Lowrie & Irina Kovalova (Sony Pictures Animation)

Notes to Editors

The Animation Base Camp will close with a formal reception, exhibition and celebration of the trainees’ work at Glasgow Caledonian University on Friday 2 September (invitation only).

The Animation Base Camp has been made possible by support from Creative Scotland, Animation Skillnet, Screen Training Ireland, Norwegian Film Institute, Midtnorsk Filmsenter, and Viken Filmsenter, with additional support from Glasgow Caledonian University, The Foundry, Eurohostel and Chromacolor.

List of Participants

Yvonne Chiu - Production Coordinator
Freya Allan - 2D Character Designer
Irina Kovalova - Visual Development Artist
Alex Lowrie - 3D Character Designer
Georgi Petrov - Production Designer
Hajnalka Szanto - Environment & Props Designer
Amanda Aiken - Story Artist
Erin Mercer - Story Artist

Katie Lyons - 2D Character Designer
John O'Connell - Story Artist
Dermot Lynskey - Editor

Khim Tengesdal - Production Coordinator
Narissa Schander - Story Artist
Sjur Sorli - Story Artist
Stian Sydsaeter - Story Artist

All images courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation - All Rights Reserved. Featuring work by Alexander Lowrie, Georgi Petrov, Irina Kovalova.

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