Animation awards open industry opportunities for Canley Vale students

Two talented Canley Vale High School students have been recognised for their animation abilities. Pascal Adolphe reports.

Two girls standing in front of computers. Two girls standing in front of computers.
Image: Canley Vale High students and talented designers Selina Ho and Mina Phan.

Two Canley Vale High students had a chance to rub shoulders with creative industry heavyweights after winning awards at a prestigious animation competition.

Year 10 student Selina Ho received a Top Honour Award at the SIGGRAPH Asia 2023 Junior Computer Animation award for her animation exploring human emotions and feelings through water.

Her classmate, Mina Phan, received an Honourable Mention for her animation ‘Inspiration’, that explored the theme of finding inspiration when an artist experiences a creative block.

The students were presented with their awards at a SIGGRAPH Asia 2023 Conference at the ICC Sydney on 12 December.

Afterwards, they were able to meet representatives from industry leaders including Disney, Pixar and Netflix, along with animators, virtual and augmented reality experts, and computer graphic designers.

Rob Colman, an Oscar nominee for his work on Star Wars and BAFTA nominee for his work on Men in Black, judged the junior awards and selected the winners.

Mr Colman is the current creative director of Industrial Light and Magic’s Sydney branch and was head of animation at the award-winning Australian visual effects and animation studio Animal Logic from 2012 to 2021.

Both Selina and Mina were elated to have won their respective awards and excited by the opportunity to meet industry highflyers at the conference.

“In the future I would like to do something in the multimedia industry,” Selina said.

“There’s a lot of stuff I do want to explore, like graphic design. Animation is also an option.

“I’m really interested in animation because I watch a lot of cartoons and YouTube videos.”

Mina said she also wanted to work in a creative field, possibly in graphic design.

“But I don’t want to be limited to that. I want to explore all the fields of art,” she said.

“At home I do a lot of art. I’ve done art since I was younger. Art has been a key part of who I am and my identity, so it’s something I resonate with a lot.”

Selina’s said her award-winning animation was about a girl navigating through a series of everyday encounters with water.

“Each encounter she tries to run away from it, like a cup being spilled, and she didn’t bother to clean it up,” she said.

“Each encounter builds up to something big, from a spill of water to the deep ocean. The build-up of water serves as a metaphor for the build-up of emotions or problems that the character tries to avoid.

“Eventually, she makes it out after finding a whale as a symbol of hope.”

Mina’s award-winning animation was inspired by her own experiences with art and deals with the process of finding inspiration in the midst of an art block.

“It involves the magical process of travelling to different art worlds and styles, which give the main character inspiration and ideas for their artwork,” she said.

“The beauty of art is how expressive and open it is for everyone to find an interest in it and that there is never a wrong answer when creating art.”

View Selina's work 'Water' and Mina's work 'Inspiration'.

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