Tiny college prepping new generation of animators


The next generation of animators is learning their craft at Cogswell College, a small school in the Silicon Valley.

The film is "Worlds Apart" is about a teddy bear surviving an environmental disaster. It was created by students in a digital arts program in Sunnyvale's Cogswell College.

"We put a professional level studio inside the school so the students can get it before they've graduated," Michael Huber said.

Huber heads up "Project X," where students get the feeling of what it is like in the world of DreamWorks, Pixar or ILM.

The industry is reacting with praise for the quality of the work.

"They get to work as teams to do these projects," Huber said.

"We're actually very supportive and we help each other to get the work done that needs doing; if someone is struggling we'll help them out," Jeanette Kerr said.

"As project manager, it's my job to keep appraisal of what everyone is doing and when they're doing it," student Matt Townsend said.

Project X is really like a full time job, with deadlines. It took a year and a half to create the 9-minute "Worlds Apart."

"So they would have a venue to get their creative aspirations out on the big screen," Huber said.

Cogswell goes back to the 1880s in San Francisco. Today there are just 250 students; 175 of them are in digital arts.

"Because it's such a small school there is a lot of one-on-one attention and there's a lot of opportunities to really grow as an artist," student Miriam Silver said.

'Worlds Apart' is playing the Cinequest film festival in San Jose this week. It is part of a big dream. It's a festival that could qualify the film for an Academy Award nomination.

And it is a bonus for students.

"Studios like to hire these kids because they know they can operate in a team and can finish a big project," Huber said.

That's not easy, but Huber says 80-90 percent of graduates are getting work.

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