MIT’s Comparative Media Studies and Foreign Languages and Literatures have joined forces to create a digital archive of animated works produced at the Beijing Film Academy’s (BFA) Animation School.
China is rapidly becoming a world leader in animation in fact, major U.S. studios are contracting out their animation designs to studios in China and more and more animation programs are being created at major Chinese film schools. The BFA’s Animation School is among China’s oldest and most prominent, having produced animated works for more than 50 years.
Under the direction of FL&L Section Head Jing Wang, CMS Co-Director Henry Jenkins, and Metamedia and HyperStudio Director Kurt Fendt, this new collaboration combines the rich tradition of teaching and producing animation at the BFA with MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences’ extensive experience in creating interactive media projects.
“The digital animation project will enrich the Chinese curriculum at MIT and provide rich materials for new classes,” said Wang, who will develop a new course offering around the archive. “At the same time, it introduces the MIT model of digital learning to our partner institution in Beijing.
“Our eventual goal,” Wang said, “is to make the BFA project open content so that global animation researchers can tap into this fascinating collection. Based on the Metamedia framework, the collaboration will create:
- A rich, publicly accessible archive of animation films created by BFA students ranging from the most recent to examples dating to the beginning of the school, covering more than 50 years;
- A shared site that allows faculty and students at the BFA and MIT to share teaching materials, curricula, and student works on animation film education; and
- A community site in which students at the BFA can share and comment on each others’ storyboard sketches, character designs, and plot ideas. This will give MIT students unique insights into the creation process of animation films.
The Metamedia and HyperStudio teams have created a pilot archive for the new joint project consisting of more than 30 animated films ranging from traditional ink drawing, animated ancient murals, and 2D and 3D animation-reality hybrids as well as a selection of study materials.