Monday, January 15, 2007

Insight Short and Boukha

(click me!)

I had a chance last night to attend a nice little party with some of the other animators that are working here at the Animation Workshop. Some are here to teach, like me. Others are here to work in the Open Workshop. That's another part of this school I haven't mentioned yet, and one of the most interesting parts. They've set up fairly nice facilities for people to come and work on personal projects, as well as living space while they're here. There are a certain number of spaces available, and there's an application process to be allowed to come and work here. It's a really great resource for a lot of independent artists.

But back to the party...

The reason for celebration was the screening of a short film one by an animator named Salvador Simo called Insight. It's a very nice piece about an old woman who lives on the street and the little girl who befriends her. I'm not sure when it will be available to watch, but there are a couple of render tests. Just follow the link.

The thing about this little party that was new for me was the multinational flavor of it. I've now worked with people from many places... from Peru, Korea, Holland, Australia, Brazil, Spain, Jordan, France, etc. But I usually don't end up interacting with all of them at once.

There's a certain kind of mental gear shifting that has to be done when you talk with someone from another culture, and another primary language. Talking with 20 students that are all from Scandinavia, is one thing. At least you have a common context of possible misunderstanding. I get a little exhausted making conversation at house parties and dinner parties anyway, but night had my head spinning.

My hosts were an Israeli couple named Uri and Mikal who are working in the open workshop on a 2d project (Mikal also has family ties in the U.S.). Michelle Nardone was to my right, she's an American who's been living in Denmark for a number of years now and is the Director of Bachelor Education. There was a girl named Maria who I believe is from Russia, or at least speaks Russian and is going there for school soon, a Swedish animator named Henrik who's here for the open workshop, another one of the directors of the school, Tim Leborgne, who's French, but who lived in Belgium for some time and his young daughter, another American animator named Todd who's here teaching but has lived in Turkey and other parts of Europe, the film maker himself Salvador who's from Barcelona, and another Spaniard who's a student here, two or three Danes from the school including the father of it all, Morton Thorning, and a couple of other people who showed up late and who's origins are still a mystery to me.

I felt a little like shutting up all night just so I wouldn't say something stupid in the midst of this little United Nations of Animation, and cause some miniature international incident. But everyone was really friendly, and it was a really nice evening. I got this feeling like I was looking around the table at representatives of the industry worldwide. It gives you a good sense that there's a big community out there in this little industry, and a lot of common ground all over the world.

We had Tahini, and wine and cake (I forgot to mention there were a couple of birthdays being celebrated as well). And I was introduced to something called Boukha. It's from Tunisia, and is probably best compared to ouzo, the Greek liqueur. Boukha is made from figs, and is not to be entered into lightly or on an empty stomach.

I hope to have more nights like that, and maybe one day I'll be a charter member of the UNoA!

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