Heejoo Kim’s New Film “Behind The Loom” Released

heejo kim

Congratulations to DMD Motion Design & Animation professor Heejoo Kim, whose new film, Behind the Loom, is hitting the international film festival circuit! Behind the Loom is a short experimental animated documentary about the story of women during World War II. It unpacks the mystery of a family tragedy looking through a miniature handmade loom. It is the forgotten story of the brutalization of women and girls leading up to The Siege of Berlin in 1945. This film describes the impact of the war from a female perspective using personal testimonies and letters portraying the previously untold and true story of how Hanni, a mother, and her four daughters coped with the approaching force of the Red Army and the tribulation that ensued. Over 100,000 women and girls were raped during the Siege of Berlin, rarely is this fact acknowledged in history. The heartbreaking letters of Hanni’s husband Albert, provide clues as to why his family died and how he used the power of art to heal himself. Behind the Loom incorporates history, human rights, and feminism in an experimental documentary form.​​

The newly released film has hit the festival circuit and already has great success!



“Best Experimental” – Toronto International Women Film Festival, Toronto, Canada 

“Honorable Mention” – Art Film Awards, Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic

“Best Documentary Short” – Port Blair International Film Festival, Port Blair, India 

“Semi Finalist” – Luleå International Film Festival, Luleå, Sweden 

“Best Film on Women” – Uruvatti International Film Festival, Tamil Nadu, India 



Feel The Reel International Film Festival, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Cambodia Independent Film Festival, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Barcelona Indie Filmmakers Festival • BARCIFF, Barcelona, Spain

Rome Outcast Independent Film Award, Rome, Itay

New York Flash Film Festival, NY, USA


Learn more about the film at: https://heejoogwenkim.com/behind-the-loom/

UConn Game Designers Win Big in Connecticut

group photo
Photo from left to right – Mackenzie Fox (BFA DMD ‘21), Colter Moos (Ph.D. Candidate Neag), Joshua Hirshfield (BA DMD ‘21), Devin Quinn (BA DMD ‘21), Zack Anderson (BS CompSci ‘23), Clare O’Hara (BS CompSci ‘21), Dr. Stephen Slota (Faculty Neag/DMD), Meaghan Doherty (BFA DMD ‘21), Danial Ezzati (MFA DMD ‘24), Jake Tomassi (BA DMD ‘22), Dr. James Coltrain (Faculty DMD), Lexi Vecchio (MFA DMD ‘23), Kenneth Thompson (Faculty DMD), Arpita Kurderkar (Ph.D. Candidate – Integrative Studies / School of Engineering).  Not shown but also in attendance: Alden Earwood (BFA DMD ‘23), Dr. Clarissa Ceglio (Faculty DMD), Dr. Michael Young (Faculty Neag)

Amid waves of applause from game-loving superheroes, ninja turtles, and Jedi, three of UConn’s Digital Media & Design game designers took home awards at this year’s Connecticut Festival of Indie Games (CT FIG). The annual competition unfolded over three days (September 10-12, 2021) in partnership with ConnectiCon, a family-friendly gaming and anime convention that attracts more than 12,000 people to the Hartford Convention Center each year (ConnectiCon XVIII was the first large scale event held at the convention center since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic). 

Students, faculty, and alumni from Digital Media & Design, the Neag School of Education, Greenhouse Studios, and the School of Engineering showcased a dozen games ranging from multiplayer, arcade-style space adventures to virtual reality experiences centered on concepts as varied as plein air painting, geometry, and engineering. During ConnectiCon, attendees had the opportunity to play each game, vote on their favorites, and provide feedback to the developers, each of whom (undergraduates, PhD candidates, and current faculty) is rocketing toward a bright future in the field of design. 

“It is really wonderful to see our students shine. Winning 3 of the 7 digital awards in a state-wide competition is an incredible achievement,” said DMD Department Head, Heather Elliott-Famularo. “We are incredibly proud of the students, alumni, and faculty in our game design program.”

award badge

The 2021 CT FIG | UConn DMD student / alumni winners are: 

Currently in its eighth year of operation under the leadership of game designer Ken Thompson, the UConn Digital Media & Design game design program is ranked #1 in Connecticut and #19 on the East Coast according to Animation Career Review. It draws from multiple disciplines—including fine arts, psychology, and computer science—to engage students in hands-on projects and cultivate the skills needed to build a wide array of analog, video, and virtual reality gaming experiences. For aspiring Master of Fine Arts students, the program offers fully-funded, three-year MFA graduate assistantships in Digital Media & Design.

“It’s gratifying to showcase their diverse skill sets and hard work to the state of Connecticut. I’ve watched many of them collaborate and learn how to make games, and it’s an honor to have supported them along the way,” said Ken Thompson.

Unique to UConn is the highly-interconnected nature of its DMD game design and educational technology programs. The two coordinate to target practical skills for digital age collaboration, communication, and universal design, all of which are crucial in cutting-edge entertainment, educational, and interactive business spaces. This partnership allows UConn’s game designers to learn technical skills for their profession as well as concepts related to playful learning, human cognition, and accessibility with Dr. Stephen Slota, a DMD/Neag joint faculty appointment. Likewise, educational technology specialists enrolled in the one-year Master of Arts educational technology “Two Summers” program—whose motto is “Learn to Play & Play to Learn”—benefit from interdisciplinary courses that weave together best practices for interactive storytelling, instructional design, and classroom technology implementation.

These learning opportunities are often made possible through funded research positions in game development at Greenhouse Studios, housed in the UConn Homer Babbidge Library. Greenhouse forges diverse and democratic collaborations that build humanities scholarship in new formats to engage new audiences.


student with award
Devin Quinn with his award.
student with award
Mackenzie Fox with her award.

















Full List of Competing UConn Student Work:

  • Viscid Xenogenics 
    • Meaghan Doherty – Design / Art – (B.F.A. DMD ‘21) 
    • Devin Quinn – Programming – (B.A. DMD ‘21) 
    • Through a Glass 
      • Mackenzie Fox – Game Design /Coding / Art – (B.F.A. DMD ‘21) 
      • Hare Apparent 
        • Devin Quinn – Game Design – (B.A. DMD ‘21) 
        • Mackenzie Fox – Character Art – (B.F.A. DMD ‘21) 
        • Meaghan Doherty – Logo – (B.F.A. DMD ‘21) 
        • Enthrall 
          • Danial Ezzati, Game Design and Programming (M.F.A. DMD ‘24) 
          • Scrapshoot 
            • Robert Linquist – Lead Project Director / Developer – (B.F.A. DMD ‘19) 
            • Joshua Hirshfield – Lead Producer / Visual Effects – (B.F.A. DMD ‘21) 
            • Ben Guzik – Assistant Director / Lead Designer / Developer /Sound Designer – (B.A. DMD ‘20) 
            • Mackenzie Fox – Lead Visual Artist – (B.F.A. DMD ‘21) 
            • Christopher Janocha – Game Designer / Developer / Sound Designer – (B.F.A. DMD ‘20) 
            • Cadence Hira – Music Composition – (Berkeley School of Music ‘21)
            • Matt Tomaszewski – Project Director / Developer, Game Designer
            • Devin Quinn – Game Developer – (B.A. DMD ‘21) 
            • Zack Anderson – Gameplay Programmer – Engineering, (B.S. Comp Sci ‘23)
            • Rubicon
              • Devin Quinn – Lead Project Director / Lead Developer – (B.A. DMD ‘21) 
              • Josh Hirshfield – Game Designer / Developer – (B.A. DMD ‘21) 
              • Matt Hsing – Voice Acting
              • Malcolm Braren – Soundtrack Composer – (B.S. in Marketing ‘21)
              • Sean Mathieu – Marketing / Business – (B.A. DMD ‘21) 
              • Cadence Hira – Sound Design & Polish – (Berkeley School of Music ‘21)
              • NovaSwarm
                • Patrick Belanger – (M.F.A. DMD ‘18)
                • Thesis Topic: Teaching Engineering Concepts with the Arts in Virtual Reality  
                  • Arpita Kurdekar (Ph.D. Candidate in Integrative Studies) 


                Other Faculty Research Presented at ConnectiCon

                • Blackhaven James Coltrain (DMD Game Design Faculty)
                  • James Coltrain – Design, Story, 2D and 3D Art, programming, animation, audio, and music
                  • Cast
                    • Kendra Turner – Darby Farr
                    • Maya Turner – Jada “JC” Brazil
                    • Anthony Mitchell – Raven Boyd
                    • Audio Tour Narrator – James Coltrain
                    • Male Caller – James Coltrain
                    • Female Caller – RachRob269
                    • Script
                      • Tia Alphonse
                      • Tyra Johnson
                      • Naomi Winston
                      • Shearon Roberts
                      • James Coltrain
                  • Charles VR Greenhouse Studios
                    • Jonathan Ampiaw – (M.F.A. DMD ‘21)
                    • Shawn Chen – (B.F.A. DMD 3D Animation ‘20)
                    • Lauren Ciulla – (B.A. DMD Web/Interaction Design ‘20)
                    • Ryan Freeland – (M.F.A. DMD ‘18)
                    • Eri Lauer – (B.A. DMD 2D Animation ‘20)
                    • Tim Miller – (Greenhouse Studios Mellon Design Fellow)
                    • Alex Mueller – (B.F.A. DMD Web/ Interaction Design ‘22)
                    • Lily Pashapour – (B.A. DMD web/Interaction Design ‘20)
                    • Dan Pejril – (DMD 3D Animation Faculty)
                    • Eric Rice – (Department Head, Music)
                    • Tom Scheinfeldt – (Director, Greenhouse Studios and DMD Faculty)
                    • Michael Young – (Humanities Librarian and Adjunct Lecturer in Art History)
                    • Brooke Foti Gemmell – (Design Technologist, Greenhouse Studios)
                    • Tom Lee – (Design Technologist, Greenhouse Studios, M.F.A. DMD ‘17)
                    • Courtroom 600  
                      • Undergraduate Research Assistants:
                        • George Liam Houle – (B.A. DMD Game Design ‘18)
                        • Abigail Golec – (B.F.A. Design/Technical Theater)
                        • Brett Glynn – (B.A. DMD Game Design ‘19)
                        • Alex Williams – (B.S.E. Software Design and Development ‘19)
                        • Christopher Janocha- (B.A. DMD Game Design ‘20)
                        • Jefferey Dobbs – (B.F.A. DMD 3D Animation ‘20 )
                        • Joshua Hirshfield – (B.A. DMD Game Design ‘20)
                        • Ethan Hanna – (B.S. Computer Science ‘20 )
                        • Justin Woods – (B.F.A. 3D Animation ‘20)
                        • Kenny Wei – (B.S. CSE Software Design and Development ‘19)
                        • Kerrie Maguire – (B.A. DMD Game Design ‘19)
                        • Rae Enzie – (B.F.A. DMD Game Design ‘19)
                        • Renoj Varghese – (M.F.A. DMD ‘21 )
                        • Benjamin Guzik – (B.A. DMD Game Design ‘20 )
                        • Charles Hildner-IV – (B.F.A. DMD Game Design ‘19 )
                        • Santino Giannini – (B.A. Communications ‘19)
                      • Graduate Research Assistants:
                        • William Keeping – (M.A. DMD ‘16)
                        • Margaux Ancel – (M.F.A. Arts Administration ‘19)
                        • Patrick Belanger – (M.F.A. DMD ‘18)
                        • Stefan Lopuszanski – (M.F.A. DMD ‘20)
                        • Meghan Arends – (M.A.Public History, UMass Boston ‘22)
                      • Faculty
                        • Ken Thompson – (DMD Game Design Faculty)
                        • Clarissa Ceglio – (DMD Digital Humanities Faculty)
                        • Stephen Slota – (DMD Game Design Faculty)
                        • Gregory Colati – (UConn Digital Preservation Repository Program Director)
                        • Graham Stinnett – (UConn Archivist)
                    • EOS-503 (A funded research project. All students were compensated for their work)
                      • Stephen Slota – (DMD Game Design / Neag Faculty)
                      • Colter Moos – (Ph.D. Candidate Neag) 
                      • Clare O’Hara – (B.S. Comp Sci ‘21)
                      • Devin Quinn – (B.A. DMD ‘21) 
                      • Mackenzie Fox- (B.F.A. DMD ‘21)
                      • Meaghan Doherty – (B.F.A. DMD ‘21)
                      • Josh Hirshfield – (B.F.A. DMD ‘21)  
                      • Zack Anderson – (B.S. Computer Science ‘23)


                    UConn SFA Professor Oscar Guerra Wins Big at Emmy Awards

                    University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts professor Oscar Guerra was a winner at the 42nd Annual NewsOscar Guerra and Documentary Emmy Awards Tuesday night. He won Best Story in a Newsmagazine for his documentary film, Love, Life, & the Virus, which tells the story of a local immigrant Guatemalan family and the impact COVID-19 had on their lives.Professor Oscar Guerra

                    The film aired on PBS Frontline, which also won two additional awards for its programming. Univision also aired the film in Spanish.

                    “It was already an honor the be nominated in two different categories, but the win feels amazing! Love, Life & the Virus is simultaneously a story of uncertainty and hope, darkness and light, but above all, what happens when people come together and support each other. Miracles do happen!” said Guerra. “And I am grateful to share this win with my family, my Frontline team, and UConn.”

                    “All of us at UConn are very proud of Oscar and his achievement,” said Dr. Carl Lejuez, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. “This transformational film makes an important statement about an immigrant family’s experience in the Covid era, giving a voice to those who are marginalized in our society and disproportionately affected by the pandemic. It’s also a great example of why community engaged scholarship and creative work among our faculty is so important to our role as a research University for the State of Connecticut.”

                    In Love, Life, & the Virus, Guerra follows the family as mother, Zully, is admitted to the hospital due to her COVID-19 diagnosis and pregnancy with her second child. Her husband, Marvin, and son, Junior, also contract the virus. With the entire family ill and unable to care for the baby, they turn to Junior’s teacher who agrees to care for the newborn. Cameras follow the family through every step of their lives as the Stamford community rallies around the family until they eventually reunite.

                    Guerra Productions Team

                    “Oscar’s Emmy win is huge and comes at a wonderful moment for our young Digital Film/Video Production major. Just last year, we announced a new Human Rights Film and Digital Media Initiative, partnering with our Human Rights Institute at UConn, and this is evidence of the quality of our program and the kind of impact we intend to have on the medium – and in society,” said DMD Department Head, Heather Elliott-Famularo. “Oscar’s dedication to human rights filmmaking and our ongoing partnership with PBS Frontline are integral to this future.”

                    Guerra and his team are currently working on their next film which focuses on the aftermath of the Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance immigration policy and family separation. This is a collaboration between UConn, Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and PBS Frontline.

                    As seen on Broadway World.

                    (Via UConn Today) UConn Stamford Professor, Human Rights Filmmaker Earns Two Emmy Nominations

                    Oscar Guerra says the multidisciplinary partnerships at UConn expand the reach and depth of his work

                    Oscar Guerra, assistant professor of digital media and design, at the Stamford campus on Sept. 9, 2021. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

                    “There are some stories that are meant for you and some others that are not – I think it is as simple as that,” says Oscar Guerra, an assistant professor of film and video in the Digital Media and Design Department at UConn Stamford.

                    “If you want to call it luck, if you want to call it fate, there are things that are meant for you. I think that I happened to be in the right moment at the right time.”

                    For Guerra, that right time was during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Stamford, and the story was that of an immigrant family from Guatemala. The mother, Zully, was admitted to the hospital with COVID while pregnant with her second child; her husband, Marvin, and son, Junior, had also contracted the virus.

                    Cameraman in full PPE filming a COVID-19 patient in the hospital
                    Oscar Guerra, an assistant professor of film/video production at UConn’s Stamford campus filming patient Zully, who was ill with COVID-19 before giving birth to son. PHOTO BY JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES

                    Extremely ill, Zully was placed into a medically induced coma and was unconscious when her second son was born. Unable to send the baby safely home, the family turned to their son’s teacher, who remarkably agreed to care for the infant, while the local community rallied to support the family during Zully’s illness and recovery and, later, the family’s reunification.

                    Guerra, a documentary filmmaker whose focus is social change – with particular emphasis on capturing the realities of the Latino and immigrant experience – had his camera running during some of the family’s most wrenching moments: when Zully came home from the hospital, still ill but recovering; when the family’s continued positive COVID tests kept the new infant from coming home; and when Zully learned her mother, still in Guatemala, was also seriously ill with COVID.

                    He was also there when their beloved teacher finally handed the baby to his mother, five weeks after his birth, and the raw emotion of these moments is palpable in the finished piece, “Love, Life, and the Virus,” which aired on the long-running PBS program Frontline and the acclaimed Univision program Aquí y Ahora last year.

                    “As a journalist, I think that you have to be very objective,” Guerra says. “You have to be very rigorous with what you have. But at the same time, you’re also a person. You’re this human being that is feeling, so it’s really hard to be able to find that balance.”

                    The balance that Guerra struck has earned him two national Emmy nominations for “Love, Life, and the Virus,” for Outstanding Feature Story in a Newsmagazine and for Best Story in a Newsmagazine. The News & Documentary Emmy Awards will be given out in ceremonies scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 28 and Wednesday, Sept. 29.

                    That balance has also kicked off a new and exciting partnership between Guerra and Frontline.

                    “The Frontline team are, in my opinion, some of the most well respected journalists in the States – how they do it, the way in which they approach the process, is so serious, so deep,” Guerra says. “I think that after the success of ‘Love, Life and the Virus,’ they realized that I wanted to keep working with them and they wanted to keep working with me, and I had a chance to pitch an idea.”

                     That new idea has come to life as a multimodal collaboration between UConn, Frontline, and the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University that will focus on the reunification of families separated at the U.S. border. The project includes documentary film as well as a multimedia web-based platform based on independent research that examines the impact of the Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance immigration policy.

                    “We’re doing a comprehensive examination of the Zero Tolerance policy and its aftermath,” says Guerra. “What is the Biden Administration doing about it now? Are we going to forget about it? Are we going to learn from the past?”

                    The work feels personal for Guerra, he says, who was born in Mexico and came to the United States 10 years ago, and whose own child was born in the midst of Zero Tolerance.

                    “Can you imagine being separated from your kids, just like that, because you’re seeking asylum?” he asks. “Maybe you’re fortunate enough that it has never happened and is never going to happen to you, but what if? What would you do for your kids? I’m not trying to put any judgment or anything here, it’s just shedding light on something, it’s just starting that conversation, but this is going to be a very powerful film.”

                    Guerra says that the space in front of a camera was always a place he found comfortable. He was a performer from a young age, he says, and was also a professional mariachi singer in Mexico.

                    Cameraman in PPE
                    Oscar Guerra, an assistant professor of film/video production at UConn’s Stamford campus wears personal protective equipment while filming COVID-19 patients in Stamford Hospital. (PHOTO BY JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES)

                    “From as early on, as long as I can remember, I’ve always been good in front of the camera,” he says. “I always had a very artistic sensibility. And there was a moment where I said, you know what, I think that I’m going to start producing my own stuff, not just being in front of camera. It was a very organic development – cameras became just very natural for me.”

                    He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Tecnologico de Monterrey University in Mexico City, and his Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; he taught at San Francisco State University before joining the faculty at UConn in 2019.

                    Hired to help launch the new B.F.A. film and video concentration in the Digital Media and Design Department, the ability to collaborate with UConn’s Human Rights Institute and Dodd Human Rights Impact – with great support from his department head in Digital Media and Design, Heather Elliott-Famularo – was a big selling point in his decision to join the University, he says.

                    “I asked about collaborations and partnerships, because that’s crucial for the type of work that I do,” Guerra says. “Being able to partner up with a place like the Human Rights Institute, it just opens up so many possibilities to expand your network. I’m new to the area, and having that background and support is a big advantage for an assistant professor.”

                    He continues, “We have similar interests and similar goals. We’re very committed to highlight through film human rights violations and issues. They think that film is the right medium to do this, and when you have a guy like me that is producing documentary for social change and is also interested in that, I think that’s why it was a perfect match.”

                    Guerra has also taken his partnerships local, working with the City of Stamford on a project to document the city’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout and response.

                    “Sometimes I just go out with my camera and I start documenting,” he says. “That’s my craft, what I do, and I started documenting the COVID vaccine rollout here in Stamford. I connected with the City of Stamford, because I think that I just have this precious archival footage. I told Kathy [Libal, Human Rights Institute Director] and Glenn [Mitoma, director of Dodd Impact], why don’t we work on a multimedia archival project? I have really good stuff, and just imagine how precious and how valuable that that footage is going to be.”

                    Guerra earned a competitive Research Excellence Program grant this year to support the Stamford project.

                    While he says that he tries to leave viewers of his films open to their own interpretations, he hopes that his work can help start conversations, build awareness, and maybe lead to people to greater feelings of empathy toward others.

                    “I realized that it was almost my moral responsibility to use my talents and my field to give back to my community,” he says. “You can start reframing the Latino immigrant experience. What we see in mainstream media, it’s not an accurate reality of who we are. Our reality is very complex and rich. Media has a lot of power, and when we document, we empower. And that’s what we need.

                    “I think that what we do as filmmakers, it’s so crucial. We document history, and then we change our future by understanding what happened in the past.”

                    Ceremonies for the 42nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards are scheduled for September 28 and 29.

                    For more information about UConn’s Human Rights Film and Digital Media Initiative, visit humanrights.uconn.edu.

                    Story by Jacelyn Severance for UConn Today

                    This Emmy® Awards ceremony will be streamed live on NATAS’ dedicated viewing platform powered by Vimeo, available on the web at watch.theemmys.tv and via The Emmys® apps for iOS, tvOS, Android, Samsung, FireTV, and Roku (see a full list at apps.theemmys.tv) at 7pm

                    (Via UConn Today) ‘Along the Waves’ Puts Music in Motion Through Animation

                    ‘Along the Waves’ premieres April 21 at 6 p.m. online

                    A dancer’s image from the animation of “Prélude en Berceuse,” the first movement of “Au Gré Des Ondes (Along the Waves) “ composed by Henri Dutilleux. The music in the first movement was performed by Morgan Lee ’22 SFA, a doctoral candidate in piano, and animated by Jonathan Goodrich ’21 SFA.
                    A dancer’s image from the animation of “Prélude en Berceuse,” the first movement of “Au Gré Des Ondes (Along the Waves) “ composed by Henri Dutilleux. The music in the first movement was performed by Morgan Lee ’22 SFA, a doctoral candidate in piano, and animated by Jonathan Goodrich ’21 SFA. (Contributed photo)

                    When the coronavirus pandemic paused in-person events and online streaming became the main venue for arts performances, two professors in the UConn School of Fine Arts started thinking about a project that would showcase their students’ creative talents.

                    Anna Lindemann, assistant professor of motion design and animation in the Department of Digital Media & Design (DMD), and Angelina Gadeliya, assistant professor-in-residence of piano and coordinator of keyboard studies in the Department of Music, developed a semester-long collaboration for their piano and animation students.

                    “We wanted to bring together talents within the School of Fine Arts to create an exciting online program,” Lindemann says. “We asked ourselves how animation can bring music to life during a time when live performance isn’t possible, and how music can inspire new ways of developing and structuring animation.”

                    The result is a short, animated music program called “Along the Waves,” which will premiere online on Wednesday, April 21 at 6 p.m.The program honors the 75th anniversary of the work “Au Gré Des Ondes (Along the Waves),” composed by Henri Dutilleux. Comprised of six short character pieces for solo piano, the title of the work suggests both “ocean” and “radio” waves. The animated music program also features “Prelude No. 10 in E minor (WTC I)” by Johann Sebastian Bach, a work that Dutilleux pays homage to in the fifth movement of his own composition.

                    Dutilleux’s small body of published compositions won international praise and follows in the tradition of Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy. Those who commissioned works from him include Mstislav Rostropovich, Isaac Stern, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Renée Fleming and Seiji Ozawa. He served as the head of music production for Radio France for nearly two decades, was a faculty member of leading music conservatories in Paris, and was twice composer in residence at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts.

                    “I think of music as very visual already,” says Gadeliya. “We’re trying to decode what the composer is trying to say; what is the mood and the character of each piece of the six short pieces? All of these sounds can inspire colors from each musician. The closer you get to the spirit of the composition as the interpreter, the easier it is for the visual artist to bring life to that music through animation.”

                    Seven pianists and seven animators collaborated in pairings to develop a music animation during the spring semester. Gadeliya worked individually with each musician as they learned and then recorded a movement from the program, and Lindemann guided animators in her Advanced Motion Media class.

                    “One of the things we prioritized was empowering each collaborative pair to develop their own visual interpretations of the music,” Lindemann says. “Each pair met independently to develop concepts for the animation before receiving guidance from Professor Gadeliya and me. We used the class as a way to workshop and critique the animations as they developed.”

                    Morgan Lee ’22 (SFA), a doctoral candidate in piano, collaborated with Jonathan Goodrich ’21 (SFA), a senior in the Motion Design and Animation concentration in DMD, to develop the animated music for the first movement of program, “I. Prélude en Berceuse.”

                    “We had conversations leading up to the animation as I was learning the music,” Lee says. “We had discussions talking about imagery and structure. I mapped out the major shifts in the music measure-by-measure as a way to guide the visual development. We also had to take into consideration that it’s more time intensive to develop a three-minute animation than it is for a trained musician to learn and record a three-minute musical piece. As Jonathan was finishing drafts and doing storyboard ideas I was giving my feedback as a musician.”

                    Goodrich says his early suggestion of using a ballet dancer as the core image in the animation changed as they continued their discussions and they began to consider a mirage-like quality for the animation.

                    “I made rough drafts of how those visuals would look,” he says. “We built on that with a surreal ballet-inspired sequence where the figure dances through changing shapes to match the color tones as the music changes from light and innocent to a more sinister feeling. We wanted to reflect that in the movement and the colors of the project. I decided to go in the direction of a more simplified visual style for the figure, like Matisse’s cut-paper figures.”

                    During the animation, the ballet figure transforms from a person to an angel to a centipede-like creature and then back to a dancer. Goodrich created the animation using Cinema 4D, a 3D animation software, along with Adobe Illustrator for illustration and Adobe After Effects, a motion graphics software.

                    In addition to “I. Prélude en Berceuse,” the music animations for “Along the Waves” include:

                    • “II. Claquettes (Tap-dancing),” Tristan Wong ’23 (SFA), piano; Quinn Erno ’22 (SFA), animation
                    • “III. Improvisation,” Emma Bocciarelli ’23 (SFA), piano; Mitchell Lisowski ’21 (SFA), animation
                    • “IV. Movement perpétual,” Oswald Tang ’24 (SFA), piano; Cassidy Keller ’21 (SFA), animation
                    • “V. Hommage à Bach,” Sofia DiNatale ’23 (SFA), piano; Gillian Partyka ’21 (SFA), animation
                    • “VI. Etude,” Niccolo Meniconi ’21 (SFA), piano; Davis Peng ’22 (SFA), animation
                    • Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Prelude No. 10 in E minor BWV 85” from The Well Tempered Clavier, Ilinka Manova ’22 (SFA), piano; Antonio Ariola ’21 (SFA), animation

                    The animated music program “Along the Waves,” featuring music by Dutilleux and Bach, can be seen online via Zoom on Wednesday, April 21 at 6 p.m. A discussion with the pianists and animators follows the program, which is free and open to the public. Advanced registration required.

                    Article From UConn Today

                    (Via UConn Today) DMD Professor Tells Stamford Family’s COVID-19 Story on PBS Frontline


                    Cameraman in PPE
                    Oscar Guerra, an assistant professor of film/video production at UConn’s Stamford campus wears personal protective equipment while filming COVID-19 patients in Stamford Hospital. (PHOTO BY JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES)


                    When the story of an elementary school teacher in Stamford, Connecticut, taking care of the newborn brother of one of her students became public in early May, the media put a spotlight on the situation of an immigrant family from Guatemala that was battling COVID-19.

                    Luciana Lira, a bilingual teacher, cared for the newborn baby for more than five weeks while the family’s mother, father and son recovered from their illness and could reunite. They are now together at home.

                    The behind the scenes story of the family’s saga will be told to a national audience on Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 10 p.m. on the PBS series Frontline in the episode titled “Love, Life & the Virus,” which was written, produced and directed by filmmaker Oscar Guerra, an assistant professor of film/video production who teaches in the Digital Media & Design Department at UConn’s Stamford campus.

                    Guerra, a San Francisco/Northern California Emmy Award-winning director got in touch with photojournalist and Pulitzer Prize winner John Moore, to start documenting his coverage of the pandemic. Moore was informed by Catalina Hork from Building One Community about the family’s case and he told Guerra about the story.

                    Guerra focuses his work on producing media that provides a way for underrepresented groups to share and disseminate their own stories to contradict dominant and potentially stereotypical narratives while strengthening their voices and identities.

                    “I consider myself an educator and I do try to shed some light on the problems that are affecting the community, in my case the Latino community,” he says of why he decided to film in Stamford Hospital before learning of the family’s story. “I want to make sure I bring an awareness of the realities of the Latino working class, which tends to be one of the more vulnerable communities.”


                    Cameraman in full PPE filming a COVID-19 patient in the hospital
                    Oscar Guerra, an assistant professor of film/video production at UConn’s Stamford campus filming patient Zully, who was ill with COVID-19 before giving birth to son. PHOTO BY JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES

                    Weeks before the story became public, Guerra dressed in personal protective equipment to film and interview patients and healthcare providers. When the Mexican-born filmmaker learned of the family’s situation, and that the teacher and others involved were of Latinx heritage, he sought and received permission from the family to document their experiences.

                    “I wanted to honor and show the reality of the Latino community,” he says.

                    Part of the community effort to support the family – mother Zully, father Marvin and their son Junior and newborn Neysel – included a GoFundMe campaign managed by Lira and the assistance from community partners like Building One Community and Tiny Miracles.

                    In addition to the Frontline production, Guerra’s film will also air in a Spanish language version on the international Univision network program “Aqui y Ahora” on Aug. 16 at 7 p.m.

                    “I feel fortunate I’m able to bring this story to a larger audience, particularly the Latino community as this is our story,” Guerra says.



                    Heather Elliott-Famularo, Donna Krenicki Professor of Design and Digital Media and head of the department, initiated the film production program last year and has worked with UConn’s Human Rights Institute on several projects.

                    “All of the film faculty that we’ve hired are passionate about diversity and social justice issues. We’re creating something new here,” she says. “Students are also working in other genres and can make dramas, comedies, or whatever they want, but we have intentionally hired faculty who are passionate about human rights and want to tell meaningful stories to teach our students. What we are creating in DMD is novel and exciting. I’m proud of Oscar and his commitment to the Connecticut Latinx community. And how many brand new film programs can boast that they already have a documentary being broadcast nationally?”

                    Guerra won a San Francisco/Northern California Emmy Award in 2018 for directing a piece on San Francisco Giants’ star and broadcaster Tito Fuentes and his work also is recognized with honors from the Jelly Film Festival, BEA Festival of Media Arts, International Ocean Film Festival, San Francisco Latino Film Festival and the San Francisco Urban Film Festival. He joined the Digital Media & Design faculty in fall 2019.

                    The second part of the Frontline program will include “Undocumented in the Pandemic,” by director Emily Kassie, which tells the story of another immigrant family’s struggle, with their dad detained by ICE in a facility where COVID-19 is spreading.

                    Article From UConn Today