Animation Student Showcase
We are pleased to share a collection of short films made by animation students at Southern Adventist University. In the School of Visual Art and design, emphasis is placed on developing talent for the purpose of benefiting others through service. Character animation students are encouraged to tell narrative stories that reflect truths and concepts that focus on external means of change. Under the guidance of Disney veteran Hendel Butoy, with fellow professors Jesse Rademacher and Zach Gray, instruction is focused on collaborative production, where a studio-like environment is established during the third and fourth years of study.
Featured Animated Short: Knock Knock
The film received the Windrider Best Undergraduate Student Film Award during the 2022 Windrider Summit at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as “Best Animated Short,” “Best in Festival,” and “Audience Choice Award” at the 2021 Sonscreen Film Festival.
Watch More Student Animation Videos
“Beep Bop Symphony” tells the story of two cherubs who are fighting with each other to be the best at making the world a better place. Completed in 2018 and coming off a festival run, the film has resonated with audiences worldwide. It tied for “Best in Festival” at the 2019 Sonscreen Film Festival and also received “Audience Choice Award” and “Best Animated Short.”
The short film was created by animation students Christin Smolinski, David Berrios, Hannah Leung, and Melissa Rodarte their junior year.
“It was a joy bringing these characters to life with a small, tight knit team. After animating the fight scenes, my favorite part was working on the reconciliation scenes in the end. Animation can be fun and impactful at the same time, and that is what was so special about this short. I think we all grew not just as artists but also as people.” - Christin Smolinski, ’19, who scheduled the project and led the animation efforts
“We just set out to make the most entertaining project we could and treat the characters in an honest way. Looking back, I think we are speaking to a truth about the human condition. Our project was never intended as an ‘issues’ piece, we simply wanted to create cute characters who were visually distinct.” - Hannah Leung, ’19, who directed the project and did the storyboard
“Our small team was really a great fit. We had someone who specialized in each area for design, story, animation and visual effects. But I think the real key is that we could trust that each person was doing their best work and supporting the team” - David Barrios, ’19, lead rigger
“Beep Bop Symphony” was based on a story idea by Jose Mata, ’16, that was in the ‘Story Vault’—a collection of ideas from storyboarding class in
Southern’s School of Visual Art and Design. It was made with Storyboard Pro, Maya,
ZBrush, mGear, rendered in VRay, comped with Nuke and tracked with Shotgun.
Watch Beep Bop Symphony
Created as a collaborative studio project in the School of Visual Art and Design,
“Sideshow” tells the story of Benson, who is the top act in Latigo’s much-lauded carnival—terrifying,
thrilling, and positively alive! A hardened monster, Benson has been scaring children
into ill-humors longer than any show in town. But behind the razor-sharp teeth and
manacled claws is the shadow of somebody entirely different. Somebody perhaps even
Benson himself was unaware of until the day a most unexpected friend fluttered through
his window. Now it’s up to Benson to change his tune or stay with what he does best,
In a faraway land, a king governed his realm so well that his people were in want of nothing. As the years passed, the king noticed his people had become lazy and selfish, so he devised a simple test to show them the value of others. As a young boy unknowingly faces the challenge, the future of the kingdom is built on the strength of his character.
During the Fall 2007 semester, Southern’s animation students set out to create a three-minute short film based on a simple parable. This artistic venture, intended to be completed during one year, turned into a five-year journey. The result is the 12-minute animated short, “Rock in the Road.”
The scope of the project grew as the team became interested in telling a longer form
story. But as students who started it graduated—and other projects were begun—finishing
the short became its own “rock in the road.” However, professors and students persevered,
realizing the completion of the film would benefit everyone who was involved. A small,
dedicated crew worked on it between other projects to finish the film at the end of
the 2012 school year.
Watch Rock in the Road
During a routine scan on a distant planet, a young space scout finds romance with
a female pilot. But when peril strikes the two star-crossed explorers, he must face
what lurks in the darkness of the planet to rescue the girl. This 4-minute animation
was a collaborative student project.
Watch Danger Planet
Interested in a career in Animation?
Learn more about our Animation program at Southern Adventist University or apply today!