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R. L. Turner High School Academy of Media Arts and Technology (AMAT) students were victorious at the State University Interscholastic League (UIL) Film Festival in Austin on Feb. 22 claiming the State Champion title for 5A Digital Animation for their film, the “Purrfect Pet.” 

The team consisted of students Robyn Velarde, Mac Holland, Eric Mitchell, Bria Godbey and Briahna Valiente.

“Our students were ecstatic when the presenter announced ‘The Purrfect Pet’ animation as the State Champion,” AMAT Director Kat Wendling said. “They ran up to the stage to receive their medals and plaque. This is a first for R. L. Turner and CFBISD, and we could not be more excited.”  

Additionally, R. L. Turner HS students Celso Ipina, Roman Richburg and Alexis Priesmeyer were finalists for their animation called “Crows in the Storm.” 

The competition process started at the beginning of the school year with one semester to create a three-minute animation to be submitted to UIL by Jan. 12. 

“They had to come up with the story, storyboard it, design the characters, animate the film, color it and add music/sound effects,” Wendling said. “The students worked tirelessly in and out of class to get their animations turned in by the deadline. One second of animation is comparable to 24 drawings. Their animations were roughly 4,320 frames/drawings long, which is a feat in itself.”           

The animations went through four rounds of judging with each round having three judges determine if the film would advance. The students were given critiques about their films and were judged on performance and character, production, post-production, and storytelling. Only six films per category are chosen for the state finals. 

“We got the news on Feb. 15 that both of our animations had advanced to finals and we were invited to the UIL Film Festival/Awards in Austin,” Wendling said. “I am extremely proud of the work and commitment of these students.”

About AMAT at R. L. Turner HS

AMAT is a part of CFBISD’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. It is a four-year sequence of courses that educates students in the subjects of Media Arts, Digital Graphics/Graphic Design, Animation, Video Game Design, Commercial Photography or A/V production. AMAT students work towards industry certifications and receive advanced academic training. They prepare for future careers by understanding how to work with up to date technology and learning to create professional portfolios. The program offers a variety of academically enhancing experiences such as internships, college visits, mentorships, etc.

The animation students attend courses that allow them to work in mediums such as 2D/3D stop motion and motion graphics. They work in software programs such as Toon Boom, Photoshop, After Effects and Blender to make their animations come to life.