Several Southeast Missouri State University students, under the direction of Peter Chanthanakone, assistant professor of graphics and multimedia, have produced Southeast’s first 3D animated short film, “Death to the Different.” Peter, an award-winning director, gave a short presentation at the film’s premier about the work involved in the production of the film, a process that took some time to perfect.
Peter chose the story and began outlining the film two years before the film was completed. He and a team of students began creating the film nearly a year into the process, after receiving financial support from Southeast’s Grants and Research Funding. He says his students were invaluable to the process.
“The film could not have been completed without the help of some very dedicated and talented students. I chose to do this film for them because the experience they received will help them infinitely,” Peter said. “They would often put in 10- or 20-hour weeks, so it was a long but beneficial process.”
The students involved in the production of “Death to the Different” are in the Southeast computer and multimedia graphics option, and they include senior Michael Freezeland, junior Kirk Lohmann, and junior Chris Northcutt. Tyler Paneitz, a student at University of Advancing Technology, also assisted in the film’s production.
“Working on a 3D film [has been] really amazing,” Michael said. “There's so much that goes in to the process, and there's so much to think about every step of the way. I've really enjoyed the experience, and I'm thankful that I've had the chance to do this,” he said of his participation in the production of “Death to the Different.”
The film is based on “The Last Dragon,” a story by David Hayes. Peter said he chose Hayes’ story for his film because it provides a good, heart-felt storyline that teaches people about the greater good as well as an idea of differences in people.
Although the film lasts only a little under nine minutes, it packs within the story several complex themes including a coming-of-age situation. Gabriel, the protagonist of the story, must overcome a difficult task given to each son in the family when he reaches the age of 14 in order to enter manhood. Gabriel’s father, Connor, tells him his task is to slay the ferocious neighborhood dragon, but Gabriel might not be ready to become a man. The plot also has issues of overcoming diversity and the gap between youth and the elderly brought on especially by technology and the lasting effects of a leader’s decisions.
Southeast senior Osby Tomlin is the voice of the dragon; David Hayes, who provided the story concept for the film, plays the voice of Connor; Olivia Nguyen, daughter of Southeast’s art Crisp Museum Director Peter Nguyen, and Jacob Dudley, son of Southeast’s industrial and engineering technology faculty member John Dudley, are the voices of the story’s hero, Gabriel.
As a short film director specializing in 3D animated films, Peter has won several awards from various film festivals including Top Emerging Artist in 2004 and Best Animation Short Film in 2006. He received his bachelor of fine arts degree with a major in fine arts/multimedia from McMaster University and his master of fine arts degree with a specialization in 3D animation from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He taught at Brock University in Ontario, Canada, Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz., and Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., before coming to Southeast in August 2008.
For more information about “Death to the Different,” visit Peter’s Web site, www.pixade.com.