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>  News Releases >   2007 >   March

Dartmouth students' animated film wins top honors at recent festival

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 03/20/07
Rebecca Bailey • (603) 646-3661

As even a casual student of comparative religion can tell you, God takes many forms. To Duck, the lead character in "Deus ex Plume," an animated film by Adam Belanich '08, God is a black felt-tipped pen that probes the frame from above to create other characters and, finally, to swiftly resolve the inevitable conflict that arises among them.

"Deus ex PlumeX" by Adam Belanich '08
"Deus ex Plume" by Adam Belanich '08

Belanich's 3:49-minute film won the "Best Animation" prize at the Sundeis Film Festival, held March 3-4 at Brandeis University and presided over by the noted Hollywood actors Roy Scheider and Patricia Neal. The film was in good company: the two other nominees for Best Animation were also made by Dartmouth students, "Reality" by Carmen Kilpatrick '09 and "Icarus" by Sonia Lei '08. "Deus ex Plume" also won the festival's "Best Music" prize for Charlie DeTar, a student in the Graduate Program in Electro-Acoustic Music, who composed the acoustic piano score. Each of the nominees  made their films as projects for  classes taught by David Ehrlich, visiting professor of film and television studies (view Belanich's film and other efforts by Ehrlich's students).

Belanich, a studio art major who is considering pursuing a second major in philosophy, created his film by making sequential drawings – eight for each second of animation – that were digitally photographed and then fed into a computer program that changed them into a film file.  He also used cell animation, in which drawings are made onto clear plastic sheets (in this case, overhead transparencies) which are superimposed over the paper drawings to allow one character to stand still while the other moves about. He estimates that he used about 1,000 drawings, on paper and overhead transparencies, to complete his film.

"It's tremendously gratifying to see that work created by students in but a single term can reach festival caliber," Ehrlich wrote in an email about the students' success. "Dartmouth students are unique both in their capacity to put in those long hours and in their fine wit."

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