Exploring Viborg Animation Festival with student Boyana Tosheva

Exploring Viborg Animation Festival with student Boyana Tosheva

10/27/2023 - 09:47

The Viborg Animation Festival, an annual event held in the Danish city of Viborg, has been captivating digital media enthusiasts since 2012. For students and industry professionals alike, it's a week-long celebration of animation, digital media, graphic design, and technology. One of our Creative Business students, Boyana Tosheva, had the opportunity to attend this year's festival, because of her involvement in the Erasmus+ project ‘Paneurama’.
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One of the festival's highlights is its masterclasses, digital art exhibitions, and graphic design workshops. For Boyana, this meant immersing herself in an array of activities and engaging with industry experts. During her two days at the festival, she experienced the vibrant atmosphere and had the chance to network with renowned organisations like Pixar. 

Day 1: AR exhibition, stop-motion productions, masterclass and short films

Exploring the festival on Wednesday, Boyana delved into a unique world of activities spread across different buildings, enticing attendees to explore Viborg and the campus of the VIA University College.  

Her journey began at ‘Tinghallen’, the primary venue, which featured an augmented reality exhibition by Abner Preis titled ‘Underneath the Wings of a Butterfly'. Attendees were equipped with tablets and headphones to follow a butterfly on a journey through the complex history of humankind and its impact on earth.  

Nearby, sculptures by Niki Lindroth von Bahr, the Visual Artist of the Year, were on display. Each sculpture had been utilised in stop-motion productions.  

Another highlight at this location was the screening of six short productions from the Unreal Animation Workshop, where students and participants had just 48 hours to create short films with the theme ’Bird's View’. 

The festival also presented screenings of short student films at ‘Fotorama’, the local cinema, and a masterclass on graphic storytelling by Halfdan Pisket at Arsenalet, a collaborative community space where emerging companies can rent space affordably and be in close proximity to other entrepreneurs. Halfdan Pisket's class was a fascinating exploration of his most famous work, ‘The Mullah’, where he delved into the complexities of using colours in graphical storytelling, particularly for conveying the passage of time and establishing the mood of a scene. 

Following the masterclass, Boyana had the chance of joining a campus tour of VIA University College and engaging with students actively working on their projects. The day concluded with a party at the local bar ‘Plastic’. 

Day 2: Exploring the future of the media industry 

Thursday presented a challenging decision for Boyana as two compelling forums were scheduled simultaneously. The first, ‘Characters in Games’, featured speakers from the gaming industry, including Ida Hartmann, Bo Mathorne, and Esben Kjaer Ravn, alongside a presentation of ’Cave’. The second forum, Boyana's choice, was ‘The Creative Media Industry Forum’, with speakers Sofie Hvitved, Dylan Sisson, and Erik Smitt.  

The forum sessions commenced at 9 am and extended until 5 pm, making it a full day of enriching discussions and insights. Speakers like Sofie Hvitved, Senior Advisor & Head of Media at the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies, explored the future of the media industry, particularly delving into the implications and significance of artificial intelligence (AI). 

Dylan Sisson from Pixar shared valuable insights into the creation process and the future research and development applications for the new movie ‘Elemental’. He presented a fascinating chart comparing the render times and frames of Pixar movies, from ‘Toy Story’ to 'Elemental’.  

Erik Smitt, Director of Creative Productions at Skydance, discussed ‘Creative Production, Two Sides of the Same Coin’. He shared his journey from starting as a young filmmaker at Pixar to becoming a creative producer at an indie film company. He highlighted the differences between working in a large corporate team versus a smaller studio team and how this impacts time, quality, quantity, and budget considerations. Additionally, Erik delved into the implications of using AI as an assistant to artists and its potential effects on indie companies. 

After a brief lunch break, ‘Paneurama’, an Erasmus+ project fostering collaboration across the industry, education, and research and development, was presented by Morthen Thorning and Roberta Jablonskyte. This initiative prioritises students, ensuring they gain industry-relevant knowledge during their studies, making their job hunting easier post-graduation. The project also promises exciting activities like workshop exchanges. 

The day culminated in a presentation by Philippe Llerena, CTO, and Emanuelle Aubeau, Talent Acquisition Manager at Fortiche Productions, who offered an in-depth look behind the scenes of ‘Arcane’. They shared insights into the inception of the idea, the planning of the production process, and the involvement of investors and partners like Netflix. They also discussed the use of Shotgrid, the production management programme, the scale of the team, and the six-plus years of dedicated work that went into the project.  

Learn, connect and get inspired! 

In summary, for Boyana and other media students, Viborg Animation Festival 2023 was an unique opportunity to learn, connect, and be inspired by industry professionals and thought leaders. The festival not only showcased cutting-edge technology and creative projects but also offered a glimpse into the future of the media industry. Boyana Tosheva's experiences at the festival serve as a testament to its value in shaping the next generation of digital media professionals.