Academy Animation & Visual Effects Students Bring “Beasts of the Southern Wild” to Life
Thirty-one Academy of Art students from the School of Animation & Visual Effects contributed to the visual effects of Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), a film capturing the support and imagination of all, including Hollywood attention. The students worked through their holiday vacation to make sure the film would be ready in time for the Sundance Film Festival’s grand opening, where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Drama.
Animation & Visual Effects instructor Catherine Tate has contributed to the visual effects of more than thirty films. For the School of Animation & Visual Effects, Beasts of the Southern Wild is the latest installment of an ongoing program involving students in real-world film productions. “We’ve worked on five feature films that have appeared in the Sundance Festival and are currently working on two more features selected for Sundance Labs,” Tate reports. “So they have a good chance of getting into the festival. We’ve contributed to many more features that have screened in festivals all over the world.”
Nathan Hackett, a 2010 BFA Academy grad is now a visual effects director at Westernized Productions in San Francisco, and states, “because I’d worked in Catherine’s class, and I’d actually gone through the process and worked with directors, they knew I could do this job.” Tate recognizes the great value for both students and independent films by coupling student work and industry needs. “Independent films don’t have a fortune for visual effects, often nothing at all. So it’s a mutually beneficial relationship for us and the filmmakers. We’re actually championing independent film by helping these low-budget productions get made to a better level of execution than would otherwise be possible.”