Ten 2009 graduates from Pratt’s Department of Digital Arts will have their work screened as part of the 2009 Metropolitan Area College Computer Festival (MetroCAF) from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 1, 2009 at Fashion Institute of Technology’s Haft Auditorium in Marvin Feldman Center Building C located at 7th Avenue and West 27th Street in Manhattan. MetroCAF is an annual festival organized by the New York City chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH).

Started in 2003, MetroCAF has grown into the most important local festival of its kind, providing an exciting opportunity for all students in the NYC metropolitan area to show their work to professionals in the field of computer graphics. The festival may tour the network of ACM SIGGRAPH Professional and Student Chapters.

Pratt student work was also recently showcased as part of the “SpaceTime” student exhibition at ACM SIGGRAPH’s 2009 international conference, the industry’s most respected technical and creative program that brought in an estimated 25,000 computer graphics and interactive technology professionals from five continents. Pratt master’s degree recipient Alek Vacura won first place in the animation category for his film Without Arms and Pratt bachelor’s degree recipient Taylor Cook received second place in the same category for his digital animation piece, titled Employee of the Month. Both will be screened as part of MetroCAF.

Alek Vacura’s Without Arms follows one of art history’s masterpieces, the Venus de Milo, as she comes to life and becomes aware of her existence without arms. While attempting to resolve her handicap she has an accident, loses her head, and finds a new body. The score, “Fantasy in D Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,” is performed by Harrison Gradwell Slater and used with permission.

Taylor Cook’s Employee of the Month is a digitally animated short film that focuses on overcoming addiction, finding inner peace, and the karma involved when someone in a position of power abuses that power. His piece studies two very different characters and their oftentimes ridiculous interactions in the workplace.  

Additional selected students whose works are in the MetroCAF exhibition are Pratt master’s degree recipients Jessica Lee, Paris Mavroidis, Naotaka Minami, George Smaragdis; and Pratt bachelor’s degree recipients Kevin Kim, Vadim Kiyaev, Junn Omictin, and Cilian Tung.

Kevin (HyunWoo) Kim’s Burn Down is a dark comedy about the significance of the lives of humans and the lives of cigarettes “born” from light.

Vadim Kiyaev’s Community Service is a character-driven animated short based on the saying “What goes around, comes around” that features a comedic conflict between an electrical worker and a housefly with an attitude.

Jessica Lee’s Mind Blend is an exploratory journey through abstract visuals of color and movement of sound, influenced by synesthesia. Lee combines hand-painted abstract images with other digital media, creating choreographed, fine art animations set to music.

Paris Mavroidis’s Divers is a short animation inspired by Busby Berkeley, mass gymnastics, and experimental cinema from the ’20s and ’30s. The animation explores large-scale choreography, the abstraction of the human body into shape, and the absorption of the individual into the mass. Parts of the film were animated with the help of a custom animation toolset developed by the director.

Naotaka Minami’s Reminiscence, the Place to Return is a digital animation of a man’s dream of his grandmother at a train station during his childhood in Japan. When he wakes up, he realizes that years have gone by since his grandmother passed away and he returns to the station to face the reality of her death.

Junn Omictin’s Rendezvous is a short film set in a vending machine where a gummy bear falls deeply in love with an animal cracker in the package next to him.

George Smaragdis’s Scrimshander is a digital animation about the friendship between an inquisitive boy and an old, solitary bone carver. Slowly, the man’s mysterious past resurfaces, resulting in terrible consequences. Smaragdis also composed and performed the film’s score.

Cilian Tung’s The Mousse Tale features three characters who discover sweets in a breadbox. The three are not able to open the box individually and realize that teamwork is required for the desired outcome.

NYC ACM SIGGRAPH is a non-profit, professional computer graphics organization serving the greater New York City area.