The Evergreen State College student Tommy Thompson just wanted a chance to screen "High Strung," the nine-minute animated film he's been working on for two years.
The result is not the small on-campus screening he’d originally envisioned but the Eye Candy Animation Festival, an evening of animated work by students, amateurs and professionals. The free program, set for Saturday, will include about 15 films, including work by Seattle and Portland animators.
“There’s a range of techniques,” Thompson said. “My piece is a traditional stop-motion animation. I take a picture, move the character, take a picture, move the character.”
Other techniques range from hand-drawn animation to digital.
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“There’s also a range of styles,” he said. “There’s a range from comedic pieces to more autobiographical personal pieces to kind of just visual pieces.
“My piece is a character-based story, but there are no words. It’s all told through gesture and music.”
Many of the Seattle animators are part of the Seattle Experimental Animation Team (SEAT).
“It started as a way for independent animators to meet and encourage one another to make work,” said Tess Martin of SEAT. “In March, a bunch of us were featured in Seattle Magazine, and we decided that we should have events.”
SEAT founder Stefan Gruber, who teaches animation at Nova High School in Seattle, will attend. His films “Anaelle” and “Petting Zoo 1 and 2” will be shown.
Also on the program is Martin’s film “A Moment’s Reverie.”
“It’s a 10-minute stop-motion short made with tissue-paper cut-outs that are backlit on a light box,” Martin said. “It follows a girl on a train, and she’s reading a book, and the letters in the book come alive and take her on a journey of thoughts and memories and suggestions.”
Eye Candy is not just a collection of separate screenings. To tie it together, there’ll be an introduction created by Evergreen film professor Ruth Hayes and an “outro” by Ryan Ortgiesen. And between each film will be short abstract animations set to music.
“That will make it more like a show instead of just random works that play,” Thompson said. “It will be more cohesive.”
His previous animated film, “Endless Tunnel,” made with thousands of hand-cut stencils, also will be shown Saturday. It was screened at the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival and at the Northwest Film Forum.
“I didn’t really do animation until I came to Evergreen,” he said. “I came here with the intention of doing concert DVDs or skate videos.”
The process of making “High Strung” began while Thompson was a student in Hayes’ Media Works class and has continued independently.
“The character has four arms and is made of string,” he said. “Just to build the set and the puppet took months.
“It’s become this giant endeavor where I’m working 20 hours a day on it.”