Atascocita High School animation students took home first place in Traditional Animation at the 2019 UIL Young Filmmakers Festival. Siblings Elizabeth and Jesse Banda’s animated film “Ravioli” won the state champion award.

Atascocita High is the first Humble ISD school to win a state champion title in the UIL Film Festival. Animation students Samuelle Buning, Stacie Hamlett, Jasmine Hueneberg and Angelina Perez received second runner-up for their animated film “Static.”

“Winning state UIL made me feel like I was the big cheese when they handed me the plaque and put a medal around my neck,” senior Jesse said. “It’s really cool for all the hard work to actually pay off in the end. This made me realize that I want to pursue my dreams of working in animation and film.”

The competition preparation began in October for animation students. After the first submission in January, the students received feedback from the contest judges and made changes to their films based on that feedback.

“Hundreds of hours went into each film,” Ann Wehrman, Atascocita High School animation and game design teacher, said. “Animation takes longer than everyone thinks it will take, so every minute of class time was precious.”

Wehrman is proud of her students for working together as deadlines approached.

From left, Jasmine Hueneberg, Samuelle Buning, Angelina Perez and Staci Hamlett.

After learning the basic technical skills in Animation I, students learn about storytelling and character animation. In Animation II the students work in teams to produce six or seven short films. Wehrman explained that the class is run like an animation studio and students will pitch story ideas to each other and then determine what they will produce. They call themselves the AHS Animation Federation.

Throughout the course, the students get to know each other’s strengths and they use that to create strong productions. There are students who draw, others who specialize in audio, some that color, and some who animate. The students collaborate to create animated stories that they find interesting, timely and important.

“Winning second runner-up was an important achievement because I wanted to produce a message that relates to a small yet prominent minority that struggles with something they think they have no power over,” Buning said. “I am passionate about teaching self-help and that motivated me while working on this film. To achieve something as special as receiving an award at the UIL contest was a plus.”

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