About Millie

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I animate, therefore I am a teacher. I teach, therefore I illustrate. I illustrate, therefore I draw on my environment. In drawing on my environment, I am animated!

Friday, October 24, 2014

An Historic Rendez Vous. By Millie Young



The Fine Applied Arts Division (FAA), Animation Production Major played host to an historic moment in their liaison with co- hosts the French Embassy in Thailand and the World Film Festival of Bangkok. On 16th October 2014 at SF World Cinema gathered animation professionals, educators, students and dignitaries from Thailand and France to open the first three day French-Thai Animation Rendez-vous. The Ambassadeur de France en Thaïlande, Monsieur Thierry Viteau, welcomed all and introduced the star of the three day master classes Les Gobelins alumini, former Dreamwork's animator and now an animation film director of his forthcoming feature film 'Mune', Mr. Alexandre Heboyan. Those present were invited to watch the premiere in Thailand of the charming French feature, 'Minuscule - Valley of The Lost Ants' directed by  T. Szabo and H, Giraud, in stereoscopic 3D, a tantalizing experience and one of the five French features in the World Bangkok Film Festival.

            Thailand's animation industry is still in its formative years, spurned on by the success of Khan Klauy in 2006, a further 5 feature films have been released and more are in the making. But the independent filmmaking industry is a challenging one, and Alexandre's experience of both the large scale studio of Dreamworks and the smaller budget and smaller workforce of his experience with 'Mune' served well to answer the questions of the hungry animators here. 

Animators are unusual people, they are the story tellers who break the world down into its minutiae and reveal a fantastical world of their imaginations. Often misunderstood by friends and family, they produce the most incredible films capturing the life of our dreams. The following three days master classes were a chance for students and professionals alike to share, develop and grow in their understanding of making the impossible possible. It was a chance for networking and learning from the experience and extraordinary creativity of Alexandre Heboyan. The experience was epic and exhausting and beyond our initial expectations.

On Friday 17th the Mahidol Learning Centre was full to bursting with students from Sipakorn University, Assumption University, King Mongkut Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Rangsit University, and Mahidol University International College with a few keen professionals, all keen to learn how to pitch their ideas, sell their story. The seven MUIC Animation Seniors, the first of this year's crop, presented their projects to all 100+ present. Their work demonstrated a wide range of subject matter, style and product and demonstrated the wealth of talent MUIC students have gained during their 4 years studying. All present were hanging on Alexandre's feedback and the additional advice from the Thai industry professionals Mr. ‘Nikki’ Sasapitt Rujirath (BeBoyd CG) and Mr. ‘Boat’ Thawatchai Chunhachai (Picture This Animation).

Alexandre had a lot of useful suggestions and warnings to students to keep the projects within the time boundary, they have just six months, but he was overall very impressed with their diversity and strong stories. He then went on to give insight into the experience of pitching for a feature. His generous and enthusiastic talk fired the audience up ready for the long haul weekend of his Master class.

            On Saturday at TK Park 130 people spent the day gleaning every morsel that Alexandre offered on the character design, preproduction process and further help on pitching for independent film. His experiences with 'Kung Fu Panda' at Dreamworks, his student experience at Les Gobelins and his present work on 'Mune'. The insight into the process for macro and micro projects was incredibly valuable to the students and the Thai Animation Industry professionals. France is the birth place of animation and they maintain a strong cultural identity within their productions but also offer much to the global audiences. Alexandre stressed the importance of learning to design work that appeals, he offered his three golden rules of design:
      Know when it feels right - does the design convey the character's personality?
      Is it original? - within the context of it's own story and for the audience... How is it outstanding?
      Can the audience relate to it? Believe it?

            In his own work, 'Mune' which is released next March 2015, he demonstrated the process and the development giving gems of insight into how an idea develops. This continued on in the Sunday session where 75 more attendees come to learn from the master.  He revealed the issues of developing 2D artwork into the 3D models, his film Mune has many unique characters that mean each needed a newly designed rig... an expensive and time consuming operation. And he offered insights into maintaining budget, where compromise can be found and where to keep the auteur sensibility and design. The audience was keen to ask questions and get into the details they required. Ultimately, he offered that there is no formula, each director must know their own voice and learn to handle the point at which to say ‘approved’. This Rendezvous is a very important part of the journey. He stressed the need for networking as the key to building a strong future for animation students, educators and professionals. Thailand has infinite folk tales and mysteries to share and new creative ideas all seeking a place to burst out onto our screens.

This was the first French Thai animation Rendezvous and the second year of the ASIFA (Association International du Film d'Animation) International Animation Day event at MUIC heralding new opportunities, new networks and opening up creative ideas that can reach the moon (Mune) and beyond.
A big thanks to the French Embassy Thailand, and all the support of the administration, faculty and staff at Mahidol University International College for making this exciting event a Réalité.