Wendy Tilby, a visiting lecturer in the visual and environmental studies (VES) department, has been named one of this year's nominees for the best short animated film Oscar, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced last Tuesday.
Tilby, who co-directed the ten-minute film When the Day Breaks, currently teaches VES 53b and VES 156br, studio courses in which students learn various animation techniques and apply them to their own film projects.
Her film features a pig named Ruby, who witnesses the accidental death of a chicken.
"Originally, I had wanted to do an abstract film that was about...the composition of a person," said Tilby, who co-directed the film with Amanda Forbis. "Everything that happens to you, your history or your memories, are as much a definition of who you are as your bones or your cells or your nerves."
Tilby and Forbis started with human characters but ultimately decided to make their main characters animals in order to add humor and empathy to the story.
In early February, the academy issued a list of ten possible nominees for the award, so Tilby said she knew she was in the running. To become eligible, a short non-commercial film must first win at a competitive festival recognized by the Academy.
When the Day Breaks, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, opened at the Cannes International Film Festival last May and won the grand prize for short films.
"We went to Cannes and that was quite an experience. It's a pretty glamorous festival, but it was actually kind of nice," she said.
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