Students make a winner by creating a ‘movie within a movie’

BYU won yet another animation ‘student Emmy’ over the weekend, with this year’s winner telling a story that seamlessly incorporates computer animation and traditional animation.

DreamGiver, directed by student Tyler Carter, was a double winner at the College Television Awards Saturday, taking home hardware for animation and best music composition from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation.

DreamGiver follows a winged, spindly-legged character as he delivers dreams to children in an orphanage. When one dream accidentally morphs into a nightmare, the short story bounces from a 3D film to a 2D film as the dream giver tries to fix his mistake.

“I wanted to create two different worlds in the film and I wanted there to be a distinct difference,” said Carter, a senior from Sandy. “So how do you show the difference between a dream world and a 3D world? You make it 2D. It was extremely difficult to do it but ended up looking really nice.”

The BYU Center for Animation has now won 11 animation student Emmys in eight years. To date, DreamGiver has been accepted into 20 film festivals, with five of those festivals bestowing top professional awards to the film.

Disney Art Director Bill Perkins, who served as a major mentor to Carter after an internship at Disney, visited campus in early March to congratulate students on the finished project.

“This film, in particular, does not look like a student film; it looks like it is a professional category film,” Perkins said. “It really is a cut above…. There was so much collaboration it’s stunning, and it shows in every piece of it.”

The film resulted from collaboration across the College of Fine Arts, including work from animation students, illustration students, computer science students, illustration faculty, and theatre and media arts faculty.

The BYU Philharmonic and School of Music Director Kory Katseanes even got involved by performing the film’s score, which was composed by BYU music student Lance Montgomery.

“There was good collaboration with students and faculty all over the place,” said Kelly Loosli, associate professor of theatre and media arts. “It turned into a huge positive and it was a really solid experience that we are thrilled with as a program.”

DreamGiver started as Carter’s individual student project but was eventually adopted and fully supported by the BYU Center for Animation as it gathered steam.

Carter said the idea for the film was born on a napkin at Arctic Circle while on a date with his then-girlfriend and now-wife, Anikah.

The execution of the 6-minute film, however, took more than napkin drawings – especially the parts that combined 3D and 2D animation.

“We used flash, pencil/paper and every trick in the book to do the mixed shots with 2D and 3D,” Carter said. “Each one of the shots required a new solution that we had to come up with. It was extremely difficult but I believe the students who really pioneered the answers will get jobs out of it.”

This year’s awards follow last year’s unprecedented haul by BYU at the College Television Awards, where students took home two student Emmys for the live-action film “Inspector 42,” (best director, best drama) – and one each for animation films “Mashed” (best music composition)and “X-ing” (third-place animation).

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