The “pivotal role” Academy of Art University students played in the film Beasts of the Southern Wild is in the national media spotlight, most recently with a report in The Wall Street Journal that recognizes effects work that students contributed to the Oscar-nominated movie, including “explosions, relentless flooding and stampedes of pig-like creatures called aurochs.”
Thirty-one students worked on several sequences for Beasts in the School of Animation & Visual Effects’ Compositing in Production class, also known as Studio 400A, under the leadership of instructor Catherine Tate.
Tate notes that the films the students contribute to are low-budget, independent productions with no budgets for FX work. “Every filmmaker we work with has no money. We aren’t getting offers to work on Transformers, and we wouldn’t take them on even if we did,” she said.
On Feb. 24, more than 100 Animation & Visual Effects students gathered in San Francisco to watch the Oscars broadcast. While Beasts didn’t win any statuettes, the students who contributed gained valuable, real-world FX experience and memories that will last lifetimes.