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

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

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.

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:

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.