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"11 Paper Place" has been viewed more than 250,000 times online.

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Animated Short Wins Awards, Honors [video]

November 7, 2014

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — A short animated film produced by Middlebury students and faculty won three awards at the Vermont International Film Festival (VTIFF) this fall, including Audience Choice, the Ben & Jerry’s Award for a film that most eloquently raises environmental issues, and the Goldstone Award for the most promising emerging Vermont filmmaker. “11 Paper Place,” is the creation of visiting lecturer Daniel Houghton ’06 and his students in Middlebury’s Film and Media Culture Department

The lyrical six-minute animation tells an unlikely love story set in an office recycling bin. It was named a Vimeo “Staff Pick” and has been viewed online more than 250,000 times. Houghton, who directed the project, has been delighted by people’s reaction to the unconventional telling of traditional story themes.

"11 Paper Place"

"It seems that people like love stories, massive destruction, recycling, caring gestures, imaginary worlds within worlds, deep loss, glimmers of hope and/or some combination of the above,” said Houghton. "Things don't usually work out how you plan, but something else works out instead and if you can accept the new thing, honor it, celebrate it, there's magic in that. I think there is a thread of darkness mixed in with the light in this story and I was thrilled to see that people weren't turned off by that."

The project began in 2013 when Houghton asked student Dylan Redford ’14 to write an animated story about paper. He then hired Elise Biette ’16 to build an animatic (a preliminary version of the movie), and later Maddie Dai ’14 designed the main characters and sets as an independent study. In the spring of 2014, Joanie Thompson ’14 created a soundscape and 9 students in one of Houghton’s classes animated the finished film.

In its short life, the film has been featured on hundreds of blogs, including Huffington Post, Wired, and The Atlantic. It has played, or is scheduled for, film festivals around the world including France, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Georgia, as well as in the U.S. at the World Animation Celebration in Hollywood.

“I am excited about the attention the film is getting,” said Houghton. “I feel proud for the students, who all did a good job, and I feel encouraged to start the next project.”

3 Comments

the score is beautiful. is it original? who is the composer? who is the cellist?

by clare cushman (not verified)

The cellist is Jennifer Morsches who is fantastic. The score is pulled from the Bach cello suites no. 6 and no. 2.

by Daniel Houghton (not verified)

I found this on PBS. I'm a K-8th art teacher and I do a project with my 7th graders with one piece of white 8x11 index card stock. My lesson encourages abstraction but I will show my students this video to EXPAND their minds of all the many possibilities there are when you think outside of the recycling box! Many thanks. Can you share any of the process of how this video was made. I'm sure it took many, many hours to complete. Thanks for a delicious visual treat!

by Wendy Weinstein (not verified)

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