Middlesbrough’s iconic Transporter Bridge celebrated its centenary this year. Animation students from Teesside University are to create their own unique contribution to this milestone, by producing a short animated film in partnership with the BBC.
76 students from two Teesside University degrees, BA (Hons) Computer Animation and BA (Hons) Computer Character Animation, taught by the School of Computing, have been set the brief to design a 30-second animated film to celebrate the Transporters’ centenary, as part of one of their course modules.
The students are now working in 16 teams to create their designs and will pitch their ideas in December to the panel of Chris Williams, the School’s Head of Animation and Visual Effects, BBC Tees Breakfast and Boro matchday presenter Alastair Brownlee, and Senior Producer for BBC Outreach, Helen Amess. All the students will then work on transforming the winning proposal into a completed animation, which will be premiered at a Gala Event in April 2012 and screened on BBC Look North and on the Big Screen in Centre Square, Middlesbrough.
Chris Williams said: “We have students in the School of Computing from all over the world. This project will help them understand how important Teesside's industrial past is to the development of the whole country. During their research for the project the students will be visiting the Dorman Museum and be encouraged to go to other facilities like the Teesside Archives, giving them a real opportunity to immerse themselves in the town's history while working on the kind of project that we hope will create the basis of the town's future.
“It’s also giving them a flavour of how a real animation studio's production pipeline works, going from pitching a concept to producing a film. The majority of students will be working on a film they haven’t designed, which is a true reflection of the working environment in this industry.”
Alastair Brownlee said: “I’m proud of where I live and of the world famous Transporter Bridge. My Granddad used to carry his bike across it to go to work in the shipyards. This animated film is a unique way of linking our industrial past with the future and a good project to display our pride with the past. A lot of people from outside the area recognise the good work that the University does, but people closer to home may be unaware of what goes on there. This film gives us a good reason to shout about the University’s work.”
Helen Amess added: “Involving the students in the Transporters’ centenary celebrations is a real opportunity to show that they could work for the BBC in the future. It’s about making the BBC more approachable, letting them know that they can work for the BBC.”