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Big Animation Festival Features 12 Works by HSE Art and Design School Students

Big Animation Festival Features 12 Works by HSE Art and Design School Students

© Multfest.ru

This year’s Big Animation Festival featured a number of films by HSE Art and Design School students and curators. Out of 1,501 applications received from 89 countries, the Festival jury selected 95 films to participate in the Russian competition and 90 for the foreign one. Twelve works by students of the Bachelor’s Programme ‘Animation and Illustration’, as well as six animated films by curators of HSE University Art and Design School made it into the competition. HSE News Service spoke with some of the participants about making video clips for popular musical groups, inspiration, and the importance of festivals.

At this year’s Big Animation Festival (BAF), the HSE Art and Design School presented 12 original works, created using different techniques and genres. Students’ works were selected for the competition out of 1,500 projects from around the world.

‘I consider participating in professional festivals and competitions to be obligatory,’ says Leonid Shmelkov, who teaches the ‘Animation and Illustration’ course. ‘It is very important not to be afraid to show your film to an audience even while you are still a student. Students receive a more objective assessment of what they’re doing. And it’s also an opportunity for them to see a modern animation programme. The festival had a great one.’

Among Leonid Shmelkov’s students, Nastya Lisovets (‘Dogs Smell of the Sea’), Sonya Silvestrova and Varya Ryabova (’10,000 km’), and Masha Platonova and Sveta Karaeva (‘Second Wednesday of April’) participated in the competition.

These films are all valuable to me. They are all very different in content and style, and I’m particularly pleased by that. All the works are quite mature – it’s hard to believe they were made by second-year students. I hope we’ll manage to finish a few more cartoons from the last module for the Suzdal Festival

In addition to the animated films, students of HSE Art and Design School presented two video clips at the Festival. Third-year students Elina Bolshenkova and Katya Morozova made an animated video for the song ‘It Gave Off Heat’ by AIGEL (АИГЕЛ) in four months. The students looked for inspiration literally everywhere — school biology textbooks and old magazines; they spent hours watching documentaries in a wide variety of archives.

Elina Bolshenkova and Katya Morozova
Photo courtesy of Elina Bolshenkova and Katya Morozova

‘The process of creating the video clip for the song ‘It Gave Off Heat’ was a big challenge for both us that we ultimately handled successfully. This project has been the dearest and closest to our hearts. And ‘Eden’ is not just our favourite album — it’s become a big part of our lives. When you do a project like this, you understand the full potential of animation as an art medium,’ the artists say.

Photo courtesy of Masha Majorova

Masha Majorova, a fourth-year student, and Ekaterina Zhuzhleva, who graduated from HSE University last year, created a video clip for the group Daite Tank (!) [Дайте Танк (!)] for their ‘winter song’, ‘Fortress’. They made a black-and-white cartoon about an introvert who builds his new Babylon out of snow.

Masha admits she has followed the band members’ music for a long time.  She enjoys their lyrics and music (and knows many of their songs by heart). Her inspiration for the work, she says, came from memories of childhood mixed with post-Soviet aesthetics.

‘Plus, Dima (Daite Tank (!) vocalist, Dmitry Mozzhukhin – ed.) had preferences for specific characters and scenes that needed to be taken into account,’ Masha adds. ‘To be honest, working on the video was hard. We had to draw a large number of frames and textures by hand, then scan them and edit them together. Katya Zhuzhleva (Kate Kuler) later joined the project as an animator. My dear friends also helped me with scanning and stitching the footage together, and their names are also in the credits. Despite the long, hard slog, I’m happy with the result. I really like the way the main character looks now and the overall atmosphere of the video. Now I watch the video and I’m proud of it’.

The ‘Animation and Illustration’ undergraduate course is open at the HSE Art and Design School. In the second year, students choose one of the four specialisations: multimedia design, visual effects, animation, and illustration. In conjunction with this, the future professional trajectories of programme graduates emerge; they can work as animators, illustrators, comic artists or CGI specialists.

The festival also featured Nastya Kamorina’s project ‘Eat me!’, which was curated by Mariya Aligozhina, who teaches the ‘Animation and Illustration’ course. She notes that animated imagery is particularly hot right now.

‘Animation at the moment is on the rise – especially in Russia. Our entire visual culture is moving towards “animating” everything and making everything brighter and more attractive,’ explains Mariya Aligozhina. ‘In this respect, the HSE Art and Design School curriculum is unique, because it is designed to allow each student to develop their own style, to eliminate any fear of experimentation, and express themselves in different styles. It is with experimentation that fresh and exciting ideas are born. The School allows students to push themselves as much as possible in modern illustration and animation, communicate openly with teachers who work on an equal basis with students, and even submit their works to the same competitions.’

The works of HSE University students were not only selected for the competition, but were also noted by the jury. HSE Art and Design School graduate Polina Titorenko won the prize for Best Student Film, with her work ‘Drake, Rope and Acorn’. The film ‘Pandemic’, by the School’s curator, Polina Kampioni, received the ‘Special Jury Mention’ award for Original Form of Presentation and Relevance.

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