Firefly - animation for social change


The Animation College short film ‘Firefly’ was officially launched last Thursday evening at the Ernst and Young Building at Britomart, Auckland.

The short film was conceived by Animation College tutors to help promote the Mondiale LifePod fundraising campaign. The campaign, the brainchild of Sir Ray Avery, addresses the alarming rate of infant deaths in third world countries due to insufficient incubators. The project’s aim is to fund the creation of the newly designed Mondiale LifePods which are created specifically for the third world conditions at a fraction of the usual price.


Animation College was privileged to be a part of such a large project and help to support such a worthy cause. Here's what some of the team had to say about working on the project:

Graham Thomas:
'It’s hard to put into words how privileged I feel to be part of this campaign. Being able to contribute globally to such a great cause is an incredible feeling. As a Dad, this project is close to my heart. I’m extremely proud of what we achieved as a team. It was a demanding timeline, but not once did it feel like a the saying goes, Pain is temporary, Art is forever! It was an absolute honour to craft this film alongside Sir Ray, Adam, Dane, Daniel, Frans and Mike.'


Frans Schendelaar:
'It was an awesome experience working with the team. When you’re learning something from each other as you’re working towards one goal, that’s something special.'


Dane Jacobs:
'It was a lot of hard work done in a short time, and stretched the limits of our artistic and technical know-how to deliver something that was not only heart-felt but polished to a level that was world-class. This was an exhilarating experience as we knew that it was a project that would help thousands of families around the world. When there’s a story as powerful as this behind a project, it’s hard not to put all of your heart and soul into it.'


Daniel Zhang:
‘Firefly’ is perhaps the most challenging project I’ve worked on so far; it was my first time being the dedicated background artist on a film (thankfully with help from Dane and Jared), coupled with the fact that much of the subject matter was unfamiliar to me, so the first couple of weeks were a mad scramble of research, trials and hair-pulling to figure out how I was going to do it. A trial by fire, as it were.
Despite all of that, it was a wonderful experience, I learned a lot, and the reward is knowing that I’ve contributed to help bring something good into the world, and that’s as much as any human being can strive for.'


Michael Glasswell:
‘This was a great project to be a part of, a great cause and a good challenge. We knew it was going to be a challenging task from the start, as we had a short deadline and that meant we would have to work outside of regular hours, as well as keeping up with our everyday duties. Working with such a large group of inspiring and talented animators meant that creativity was never hard to come by. In fact we had an oversupply of creativity! The story went through several changes and alterations during preproduction. Some of the ideas thrown into the mix were; 'the monster that ate problems', 'a stork dropping a baby' and 'power-plug people that just needed a spark of life’. It was fun coming up with all the different concepts and designs, and having round table discussions where everyone had a voice and input.


The project was a massive undertaking, but the great design team and animators helped steer the project, and keep it on course. Many a late night and weekend were to be had, but because all of the animators are like a close family it was never a dull moment; team lunches and dinners, blasting music late night and working hard with good feedback to reach final results.

Seeing the project form and come together from nothing is an animator’s dream. Creating the illusion of movement and life from once simple still designs is a fascinating thing. Of course seeing it on the big screen and launching the campaign has made me feel very proud and happy. The team did a great job.’


If you'd like to find out more about this cause then visit:

The animated short 'Firefly' can be viewed here


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