Reynolds Residency

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During a semester-long residency at Reynolds Elementary (through Aurora Picture Show and Young Audiences), I helped 3rd, 4th & 5th graders produce seven short films & co-taught “Making Movies with Animation,” a twice-a-week after-school animation class, with artist Tomas Feijo. We focused on hand-drawn animation on paper, stop-motion with paper cut-outs, shooting with iMotion for iOS, and DSLRs + Dragonframe, and beginning music production & beatmaking with Propellerhead’s Figure and Take for iOS (applying Orffian pedagogical principles), A Tasty Pixel’s Loopy for iOS, Hydrogen, a xylophone and a ukulele. 15 students aged 8 to 11 animated and scored seven films (two documentaries, three narratives, and two experimental), and created a small music library for their own use.

A program of seven short films written, animated and scored by 3rd, 4th and 5th graders at Reynolds Elementary in Spring 2015:

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“The KD Documentary”
(start time: 0:00)
4th and 5th graders Corey, Hezekiah, Jaevin and Jonathan discuss the life and basketball career of their hero, Oklahoma City Thunder star, Kevin Durant, and reveal why he inspires them. With original music by their classmates, Jaulavia, Daesha, and Diamond.
Official Selection: Los Angeles Internat’l Children’s Film Festival (LACMA, Los Angeles, California)
Official Selection: ENIMATION Little Elephant 2015 (Maribor, Slovenia)
Official Selection: Soo Film Festival 2015 (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan)
Official Selection: Film Society of Little Rock’s Sporty Shorts (Little Rock, Arkansas)
Official Selection: ZOOM – ZBLIŻENIA 2016 (Jelenia Góra, Poland)
Official Selection: Factual Animation Film Fuss 2016 (London, UK)

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“Guitar Man” (start time: 2:31)
Jaulavia, a girl in the 3rd grade, discusses the things that are most important to her: drawing, music, and her family. With original music by the director herself.
Official Selection: I.N.S.A.N.E. Animation Festival 2015 (Malmö, Sweden)
Official Selection: Los Angeles Internat’l Children’s Film Festival (LACMA, Los Angeles, California)

Official Selection: Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival 2015 (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Official Selection: ENIMATION Little Elephant 2015 (Maribor, Slovenia)
Official Selection: Adelaide Kids Film Festival 2015 (Adelaide, Australia)
Official Selection: Educational Section, O’Curt 2015 (Naples, Italy)
Official Selection: Soo Film Festival 2015 (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan)
Official Selection: ZOOM – ZBLIŻENIA 2016 (Jelenia Góra, Poland)
Official Selection: Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival 2016 (Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, California)
Official Selection: Factual Animation Film Fuss 2016 (London, UK)

 

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“We Paint With Light” (start time: 4:14)
Light paintings by 3rd and 4th graders Aquincy, David, Barry and Drumond, set to music written by their classmates, Daesha and Jaulavia. Editing by Mr. Tomas.

 

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“Birdman In Prison” (start time: 6:16)
After a superhero is arrested for talking back to a police officer, he makes an unlikely friend behind bars. The debut short from writer-animator (and 4th grader) Cedrianna. With original music by Jaulavia, Daesha, and Diamond.
Official Selection: ENIMATION Little Elephant 2015 (Maribor, Slovenia)
Official Selection: Qabila Film Festival 2015 (Cairo, Egypt)
Official Selection: ZOOM – ZBLIŻENIA 2016 (Jelenia Góra, Poland)

 

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“4th and Goal” (start time: 10:07)
Experimental montage of pencil drawings and animations of the Houston Texans drawn by 4th grader David and 5th grader Hezekiah, set to original music, and actual game commentary.

 

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“Birdman Begins” (start time: 10:54)
Birdman’s origin story. Based on the character created by Cedrianna (writer-animator of “Birdman In Prison”), and written and animated by Barry.
Official Selection: Los Angeles Internat’l Children’s Film Festival (LACMA, Los Angeles, California)
Official Selection: ENIMATION Little Elephant 2015 (Maribor, Slovenia)
Official Selection: ZOOM – ZBLIŻENIA 2016 (Jelenia Góra, Poland)

 

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“The Boxers” (start time: 12:16)
A song-film about a boxer, written, performed, animated and scored by 4th graders Daesha, Diamond, and Jaevin.
Official Selection: ENIMATION Little Elephant 2015 (Maribor, Slovenia)
Official Selection: Soo Film Festival 2015 (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan)
Official Selection: Film Society of Little Rock’s Sporty Shorts (Little Rock, Arkansas)
Official Selection: ZOOM – ZBLIŻENIA 2016 (Jelenia Góra, Poland)

 

Instructors:
Dave Merson Hess
Tomas Feijo

The Spring 2015 Reynolds Elementary Animation Class award winners were:
Barry: Creativity & Teamwork
Cedrianna: Creativity & Focus
Jaevin: Creativity & Leadership
Jaulavia: Creativity & Dedication to Music-Making
[“Congratulations to all. We are very proud of you.” — Mr. Dave & Mr. Tomas]

For some early in-class exercises, check out our GIFs on Tumblr.