Projecting a New Image for Films and Animations at The Bushnell

Mural characters that will be animated in the Grand Foyer of the Bushnell as part of the UConn Film and Animation Showcase at the famed venue.
Mural characters that will be animated in the Grand Foyer of The Bushnell as part of the UConn Film and Animation Showcase at the famed venue (courtesy UConn Digital Media & Design).

Fifteen films and animations created by UConn students will be featured at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The UConn Film & Animation Showcase is a juried selection of works that is part of the event celebrating the premiere of the new projection installation in the Grand Foyer of The Bushnell, which includes animation produced by students in UConn’s Digital Media & Design (DMD) Projection Mapping course taught by Heejoo Gwen Kim, assistant professor of Motion Design & Animation.

The event is free and open to the public, but anyone planning to attend should register in advance at this link.

The Showcase was organized by Ryan Glista CLAS ’16, MFA ’18, Digital Institute project manager at The Bushnell, Kim and Heather Elliott-Famularo, head of DMD at UConn. Exhibiting works of new media is part of the Bushnell’s effort to cultivate new digital arts and storytelling for Connecticut, says Glista.

“As innovative programs like Digital Media & Design start to grow, new storytellers and digital experiences can transform the theatrical experience,” he says. “Incredible technology is becoming more accessible. It’s an exciting time.”

Projection Mapping is a technique that is used to turn three dimensional objects such as buildings or theatrical stages into display surfaces for projecting artistic content, according to Glista.

The first UConn Projection Mapping class, offered last year, resulted in student designs projected on The Bushnell’s neoclassical walls, columns and pediment in the courtyard. The presentation was initially scheduled as a two-day test, but when Bushnell President David R. Fay saw it he decided to treat the audiences for the three-week, sold-out run of “Hamilton” with the opportunity to see the display.

For the new projection installation in the Bushnell Grand Foyer, Kim’s class animated characters and design from the 187 X 40-foot, hand-painted ceiling mural in The Bushnell’s Mortensen Hall, which is the largest such work in the United States and features the Muse of Drama as its centerpiece. Artist Barry Faulkner and a staff of Prix de Rome artists created the work in 1929 with vivid representations of performance, progress, and hope from ancient mythological times to the 20th century.

“Digital media offers an opportunity to activate spaces and tell stories in ways that young people today can come to the arts and look with fresh eyes and a new vision,” Elliott-Famularo says. “This collaboration was just a start. We’re working already to see how we can continue to collaborate on other initiatives surrounding education, performance as well as activating the physical space of The Bushnell, inside and out. The Bushnell and UConn can work together to transform the arts community of downtown Hartford and the state as a whole.”

The showcase this weekend also includes films and animations ranging from live action short films and documentaries to 2-D and 3-D animations, presented in the Autorino Great Hall. The featured works include:

‘Dirty Laundry’ by Ken Asada (SFA ’20)

‘CULT’ by Noah Bernardi (SFA ’20)

‘Exit’ by Matt Bilmes (SFA ’18)

‘After Flame’ by Dave Cai (SFA ’20)

‘Opening Night’ by Ryan Glista (CLAS ’16, SFA ’18)

‘Butterscotch and Beetle’ by Ali Loftus (SFA ’19)

‘SWARM RAID’ by Anna Lindemann and Ryan Glista (CLAS ’16, SFA ’18)

‘Flow’ by Allie Marsh (SFA ’20), Ali Sailer (SFA ’19) and Helena Sirken (SFA ’19)

‘The Adoption’ by Jonathan Pico (SFA ’21)

‘The Terra Project’ by Kimberly McGuire (SFA ’21)

‘Stand’ by Katie Sawosik (SFA ’19)

‘Birdcage’ by Sarah Shattuck (SFA ’20)

‘Say Cheese’ by Carly Zaleski (SFA ’19), Christian Partenio (SFA ’19), Julia Shikhman (CLAS ’22), and Amy O’Rourke (CLAS ’22)

Bushnell Grand Foyer Projection Mapping Animation by: Gillian Partyka (SFA ’21), Nicole Torino (SFA ’20), Liam McNeece (SFA ’21), Jasmine Rajavadee (SFA ’20), Akari Ohashi (SFA ’21), Claudia Núñez (SFA ’21), Mitchell Lisowski (SFA ’21), Hannah Lim (SFA ’21), Erica Lauer (SFA ’20), Nicole Ellis (SFA ’21).

Watch a video preview of the event here: