Media Inquiries

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Students from Media Design School earn international attention

Animated short selected for film festivals in France, Australia, and New Zealand


Students from Media Design School earn international attention

They say that big things come in small packages and at just over one minute in duration, they don’t come much smaller than animated short Funeral Home Pinatas. However, the plucky little film, which has divided audiences with its dark humor, has attracted the attention of film festival curators around the world. The animated short (1min and 11seconds) has been selected for Annecy Festival (France), Melbourne International Animated Festival (Australia) and Uni Shorts (New Zealand) in 2013.

Funeral Home Pinatas is a mock commercial advertising Larry’s Funeral Services, who are putting the fun back into funerals by turning loved ones into piñatas. It was created by four advanced 3D animation students - Andrew McCully, Jacob Tuck, Arun Ahahasekhar and Jayson Simpson – in just eight weeks.

The project allows students to hone their technical and creative skills within a deadline-driven production environment. Jacob Tuck was responsible for co-writing the script, co-directing, character concepts, modeling, texturing, voice acting, facial animations and compositing for some stills.

“Working on this project showed me how much can be accomplished with a great team synergy that the four of us had together. When everyone has a very similar goal for the final look of a project and much of the same imagery built off the storyboards and script when developing it, it made for only a slightly stressful endeavor and mostly very entertaining and fun exercise,” said Jacob.

Jayson Simpson worked on character design, modeling, texturing for Larry and the pinata, texturing the widow, graphic design work, poster and the infomercial ad at the end. He said it was amazing what four people could create in just four weeks. “We just got on and did it. Any hurdles we ran into we dealt with straight away as a group so nothing would be holding us up. I had a blast doing this and I can’t wait to start another one,” he said.

Arun Gnanasekhar’s main role was animation. He also rigged one of the characters and modeled some props. Arun said the highlight of the project, was seeing the audience’s reaction… one person in particular. “One of the best moments during the making was when we had Kung Fu Panda Director John Stevenson watch it in our class, and gave it a thumbs up.”

Andrew McCully worked on storyboarding, environment and character modeling and texturing. He was also in charge of lighting and compositing as well as the music and sound design. He said Funeral Home Pinatas was a lot of fun to produce: “It was important to maintain the sense of humor through all the technical hurdles, which I think we managed to achieve.”