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Penguin's revenge: UCD students' animated short drawing studio buzz

Most student film projects never get a screening outside the classroom. But the University of Colorado at Denver's Digital Animation Center takes a different approach. Instead of sending budding Scorseses out to make two dozen individual and utterly forgettable films, the program puts all the students to work on one senior short film, using state-of-the-art animation technology.

And yes, it makes a difference. DAC has just released the latest fruit of this studio-like collaboration, a five-and-a-half-minute film that took twenty students fifteen months to complete. A Complex Villainelle is already attracting attention from studio executives and landing some of its animators interviews with Sony Picture Imageworks.

Based on a short story by Jonathan Goldstein read on This American Life, the film explores the early years of Batman's squawking nemesis, The Penguin, and solves the mystery of how he got to be such a weird, bitter bird. Suffice it to say that it has something to do with alcohol and his efforts to connect with a fellow pioneer in the field of umbrella aviation, one Mary Poppins.

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Narrated by Goldstein, the film has a terrific score and what the suits call high production values, from the animation and visual effects to the virtual lighting. Check it out here:

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