Emily thrills to the art of animation

SHE’S been doing it for years, but watching her artwork come to life on the big screen is still the “biggest buzz” for Emily Dean.

Animator Emily Dean

The 25-year-old former Canberra girl, who moved to Los Angeles to study character animation at the California Institute of Arts (CalArts) in 2010, has been making short animation films for more than three years.

Her work has screened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, the National Film and Sound Archive, Dungog Film Festival, the Melbourne Fringe Festival and at the California Institute of the Arts.

“I love the craft of storytelling and I love acting in animation,” she says.

“I love that feeling you get when an audience watches your film and there’s a buzz in the air.”

Emily’s latest film, “Forget Me Not”, was nominated for the Australian Film Industry Best Short Animation in 2011.

Emily wrote, directed, produced, and animated the film, which is a “fairytale storybook” animation about a mother and daughter affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“What affected me to make this film and what stayed foremost in my mind throughout the creative process, was the passing of my godparents,” Emily says.

“I will always remember, with great admiration, their cheerfulness of heart, fortitude of spirit, and gratitude for each and every day in spite of the most difficult hardships following [my godfather’s] diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Last month the former Canberra Girls Grammar student was among 10 finalists nominated for the Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards, which recognises talented young animators around the country.
“It was a real honour to be in consideration with so many other talented young people from across Australia – I’m incredibly grateful for such a wonderful opportunity,” Emily says.

A cartoon character from one of Emily’s animations.

While growing up watching Disney’s classical animation features sparked Emily’s interest in drawing, a seemingly mundane year 8 science project was the catalyst for her love of film.

“It was a documentary on the evolution of Australian flora and fauna, and that’s when I knew I wanted to make films for the rest of my life,” she says.

Since she was offered a place at the highly competitive CalArts, Emily says she has adapted to the “LA” lifestyle.

“Classes are from 9am to 10pm daily, so I really don’t get out much, but when I do I like to go sketching at cafes or at Venice Beach, and going out to dinner and concerts with friends,” she says.

With one year left of her studies, she is looking ahead to a successful career in the animation industry.

“My long-term goal is to be a story artist in the industry then start a studio or company where I direct my own short feature film,” she says.

“I’m really happy as long as I’m drawing, animating, writing, painting, and singing. I want to travel the world, meet interesting people and live a healthy, creative life.”

“Forget Me Not” can be viewed via: http://www.facebook.com/emilylimyundean

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