Cuba: Workshop Encourages Families to Play with Animation

Workshop participants say they can learn about animation as a family.  Photo: Taken from Facebook

A video about this experience was recently set to be presented at the Animation Studies of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry

By IPS Cuba

HAVANA TIMES – After evaluating results from the first “Animation as a family” workshop, Cuban filmmaker Ivette Avila says that she will organize another one soon, to carry on involving children and their families with filmmaking, as a collective effort.

“We already have a list of other families who want to take part in future editions,” the project promoter and creator of the ANIMALUZ Academy pointed out, who is promoting and contributing children’s learning of animation techniques from a young age. Things such as stop motion, as well as other opportunities to make movies.

According to Avila, the director of children’s TV shows in Cuba too, family members had expressed interest during the workshops she normally teaches at ANIMALUZ, for her to organize a course for children aged 5-7, for the first time.

Taking on this new challenge, Avila joined up with professor Yoandra Reyes. They undertook “a more personalized approach” with every participant. Thus, the workshop took place in late July, as the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry’s Animation Studios, “to create a film together, using stop motion animation with plasticine,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

Approximately 20 children took part, accompanied by different family members every day, especially fathers, mothers and grandparents. “Everybody worked together, really creating a joint effort as a family,” Avila assessed.

Ivette Avila, the founder of ANIMALUZ Academy, has the mission of organizing other animation workshops as a family.

Dreams created as a family

The project received support from the independent production company Cucurucho, who provided equipment, while the NGO British Council Cuba contributed materials such as coloring pens and plasticine, she explained.

She also explained that these entities are also producing a TV series called “Learning animation: Galaxia K.”  This collective project has managed to get animation a foothold again in Cuba, for a while now, she said.

On the other hand, she explained the “Animation as a family” workshop is based on “work using different animation techniques, and they managed to create very simple animations on paper, especially optical illusions, also called a flip book. Children then understand what animation is, how you can create movement or an illusion of it, that it’s not just a drawing.”

In regard to modeling modelling clay, Avila highlighted the fact they were able to create their own characters, “with a bank of expressions that reflect different moods.”

She also shared that they did the exercises in the first two episodes of the “Galaxia K” series: one dedicated to optical illusions and the other one, animation with modeling clay.

“We have feedback from famly members saying that they hadn’t played with clay in 40 years, grandparents were very motivated and involved. It was a very beautiful creative process. Children and adults were creating together on the animation table. I was particularly satisfied to see this,” the filmmaker said.

Playing to learn

According to Yeniris Gonzalez and Daniel Burguet, the parents of the Lilith Burguet, it was a “very positive” experience and they believe the workshop is “spot on” with its objective. “With security and confidence from their elders, children approached these activities which were new for the majority, and they were a lot more relaxed, as if it were one big game.”

They saw “that children really enjoyed themselves and parents also learn about these animation techniques and get the basic tools they need to continue the game at home.”

They highlighted the opportunity the workshop gave them to create little stories, “and this united children’s and parents’ work, because it made us think together.”

Meanwhile, Tamara Rosello, Julian Gonzalez’s mother, noted that the workshop proposed “an exercise that required a lot of patience and discipline because it not only teaches the child to gauge their skill, but it also teaches them to respect other people’s work.”

Animations to follow

A recent publication by the ANIMALUZ Academy on Facebook called on young people and adults interested in the world of animation to take part in the open day at ICAIC’s Animation Studios, held on August 16th, 17th and 18th.

Approximately 40 participants were set to receive classes from Arturo Palacios, Andrian Zarabozo and Ivette Avila, who confirmed that the movie from the “Animation as a family” workshop was scheduled as part of a program of other activities.

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