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UCA Farnham graduate animated over film’s success

One of our graduates is drawing the attention of the film industry after winning a series of awards, including Best Animated Short Film at the Isle of Man Film Festival, for his recent animation, Perched.

Liam Harris, who studied BA (Hons) Animation at UCA Farnham, created the ten-and-a-half-minute feature using traditional 2D drawn animation. The film tells the story of a crotchety old man who lives in solitude in a submarine that is balanced precariously on top of a mountain.

Liam Harris BA (Hons) Animation

Perched was my opportunity to make an animated short in the old-fashioned way, with only the basics of paper and pencil,” says Liam, who is 25 and from Dudley. “There is something so delicate and beautiful about this traditional technique and I really wanted to build a personal understanding of the character through this medium, with the intention of allowing the audience to make a more sincere and emotional attachment to him.

“I worked on the film with a team of twelve people and it took us around nine months to make in total. Using the traditional pencil and paper method, we created a frame by frame animation, with 3D built exterior sets, and then composited the 2D character onto the drawn and 3D backgrounds.”

Liam Harris BA (Hons) Animation

In addition to the achievement at the Isle of Man Film Festival, the short animation has also received a Special Mention of the Jury at the Cartoon Club International Film Festival of Animation in Italy, won Best Film in the 18-25 category at the Barnes Film Festival in London, and been named Best Animated Short Film at the Corto Creativo Short Film Festival in Mexico. Most recently, the film won Best Hand-Drawn Animation at the Portsmouth International Film Festival and received the Best Got Talent Animation award at the Cyprus International Film Festival (CYIFF).

On his recent success, Liam says: “I feel really privileged and humbled. When I started out I didn't have festivals in mind, I just wanted to tell a story that was personal to me and that had a bit of something for everyone. To have been recognised by film festivals world-wide and to have gone on and won awards at some of them is a huge shock – I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have my film shown to people from all over the world.

“One of the key things that encouraged me to study at UCA Farnham is the emphasis the course has on traditional drawn animation. This medium isn’t as common nowadays as it is a much longer process than digital 2D. However, I grew up with the traditional medium so it’s personal to me and I believe there is something extra special in creating believable characters with only a blank piece of paper. The fact that I created Perched the old-fashioned way and it is being recognised by film festivals around the world makes it even more special.”

Liam Harris BA (Hons) Animation

While Perched continues to create a buzz in the animation world, Liam is now turning his attention to his forthcoming projects, which include a new animated short film, children’s books and a number of animated videos.