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Art Institute of Pittsburgh Alumni Win Sundance Awards
Combining their creative and technical talents with the powerful story of a child HIV and AIDS advocate earned six graduates from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh the U.S. Documentary Grand Prize and Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
The film, “Blood Brother,” tells the story of Rocky Braat’s work helping abandoned Indian children who have HIV and AIDS. Braat, a 2005 Graphic Design graduate, teamed with fellow artists Steve Hoover*, Danny Yourd, Tyson Vansgiver, Jim Kreitzburg, and Allan Stallard, to create the award winning film.
“Blood Brother” chronicles Braat’s choice to forego a career in design to travel to India and help children in need. The movie depicts the challenges that the children face on a daily basis.
“Documentaries don’t come any bigger-hearted than ‘Blood Brother,’ ” according to Variety Magazine.
With 4,044 entries to compete against, the movie’s message resonated with audiences, enabling it to rise to the top. And the accolades for “Blood Brother” continue to grow in numbers. The film won the top prize at the 2013 Big Sky Documentary Festival, the Audience Award at the Thin Line Documentary Festival, and was nominated for the Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year Award.
Danny Yourd says that the next step for the team is to create a distribution plan for the United States, Canada—and worldwide. “Winning at Sundance has opened up a lot of doors that will eventually translate into huge benefits for Rocky’s efforts and the children as well as other HIV/AIDS efforts—this really excites us.”
“This means so much to so many kids that are going to benefit from their story being told,” said the film’s director, Steve Hoover. “The win was surreal.”
The filmmakers’ success has led to planning for their next feature documentary, a character-driven story.
To learn more about “Blood Brother,” visit the official website at www.bloodbrotherfilm.com.
*Graduation years and degrees of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh graduates affiliated with the “Blood Brother” film: Steve Hoover (2006 graduate, Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Production), Danny Yourd (2005 graduate, Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Production), Tyson Vansgiver (2007 graduate, Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Production), Jim Kreitzburg (1986 Associates in Specialized Technology – Visual Communications), and Allan Stallard (1997 Associate in Specialized Business – Music and Video Business)
Alumni Credited In One of
Charles Bradbury, 2006 Graduate, Bachelor of Science, Game Art & Design, The Art Institute of California – San Diego, and Mike Snight, 2008 Graduate, Bachelor of Science, Media Arts & Animation, The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles.
While BioShock fans eagerly await the third installment of the hugely successful franchise, BioShock Infinite, alumni Mike Snight and Charles Bradbury are equally excited to see the culmination of their hard work and dedication hit shelves on March 26, 2013.
Snight, a long–time fan of the BioShock series and 2008 Bachelor of Science Media Arts & Animation graduate from The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles, was promoted to Senior Level Artist during the game’s five–year production. His environment art draws the player through the story as they make their way through combat spaces within this first–person shooter. Snight, and his team of level artists, drew inspiration from old photography from 1912 to breathe life into the floating city of Columbia. “I work along side the best of the best in the industry. We didn’t stop until everything was perfect,” commented Snight on his team’s ability to overcome challenges.
Level Builder and 2006 Bachelor of Science Game Art & Design graduate from The Art Institute of California – San Diego, Charles Bradbury, has a lot to celebrate as BioShock Infinite will join his list of four titles to be shipped in six years. Bradbury used lighting techniques and imagery throughout the game to enhance the drama. “I enjoy bringing a space that is totally imaginary and making it feel alive and meaningful. Looking back at my career, I’m most proud of the work put into BioShock Infinite. I work with super passionate people who make a challenging and enjoyable working environment,” said Bradbury.
Players of BioShock Infinite will assume the role of former Pinkerton Agent Booker DeWitt, who is sent to the flying city of Columbia on a rescue mission. The extremely sensitive and immersive story–driven game play will take fans through a compelling, interactive quest created by Creative Director and visionary, Ken Levine.
Both Snight and Bradbury credit their respective Art Institutes schools’ Game Prototyping class where students learn the importance of collaboration and teamwork, in addition to the overall experience of working on production of an actual game. In fact, Bradbury landed his Level Builder gig at Irrational by following up with a guest speaker from Irrational. “Be receptive and apply feedback and criticism to your work,” he advised.
As for Snight, BioShock Infinite will be his third shipped title. His advice to aspiring game designers, “Work your butt off. People who are passionate about what they do…go far.” Consequently, to date, the BioShock franchise has sold over nine million copies worldwide.
We are looking for your expertise! Ai Insite, the online magazine of The Art Institutes, features insights from you, our graduates, on a variety of issues relevant to the creative community. If you're interested in being
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Keep Up With Media Arts Trends
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The VIP Experience
A Mini–ization of Tech Devices
Managing Creativity in the Workplace
Healing Through Art
Restaurant Challenge: Catering to Special Diets
Featured from left to right: Amy B. Tronolone, 2007 Graduate, Bachelor of Science degree in Photography, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh; Austen Adriaens, 2011 Graduate, Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design, The Art Institutes International Minnesota;
Your Online Portfolio:
Just as large companies attract new clients through websites, freelance creatives need a way to stand out in the online crowd. Online portfolios provide an easily–accessible resource for potential clients to find and browse through your work. But before you dive head–first into creating your online presence, experts advise that you begin with a solid plan.
An online portfolio is a bigger endeavor than simply placing your work online. The work needs to be presented in a visually–pleasing and easily navigable way. To make it even better, incorporate your personal style into the overall design to give a potential client a true feeling of what you could bring to a project.
Hilde Torbjornsen, writer for OneExtraPixel, notes that you may need to enlist a web designer to create the framework for your portfolio. But remember that the most important element of the project needs to be your work.
“Your portfolio has to display the quality of your work. This means that the selection process has to be taken seriously. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality,” she writes.
Focusing on variety is also critical–you don’t want clients to think that you can only do one look. Torbjornsen adds that by showing many concepts, you may actually inspire potential clients, providing them with “ideas of what they’d like to see in their own projects.”
To stand apart from the rest, you should consider taking some creative risks. Be unique. Find a different way to present your work or create navigation that takes your online presence from ordinary to extraordinarily creative. And make sure that you have others take a look at what you’ve made. Get their feedback and make needed changes.
Finally don’t forget to make your contact information easy to find. You may have the best online portfolio in the world—but if a potential client can’t find you, it’s all for naught.
Jeremy Selenfriend, 2002 Associate in Specialized Technology in Industrial Design Technology, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
FX Artist Earns Emmy Nomination for HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”
Jeremy Selenfriend is the owner and head artist at his company Monster in my Closet FX, where he designs and fabricates prosthetics, FX props, and body doubles for film, television, commercials, and theater. His work earned him a primetime Emmy nomination for his work on HBO’s series “Boardwalk Empire.”
While some days are spent in the shop, others are spent on set. “Set days are very long and often under the gun, but it’s also a dream come true every single time I step into the trailer to apply a prosthetic,” he says. His love of design has been adopted by his young daughter, who enjoys being in the studio and helping with sculpting. Jeremy adds that creativity is the lifeblood of his industry and that he finds inspiration all around him. “A funny looking tree is just waiting to be turned into a face sculpted in clay. An odd household item is an ancient artifact just waiting to be retrofitted.”
Jeremy, who in 2002 earned an Associate in Specialized Technology degree in Industrial Design Technology from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, says that his education helped him to transition into his current career. “Without [the school], I never would have the know–how or experience to get the initial positions which eventually launched my career.”
Marisa Serafini, 2011 Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Digital Filmmaking & Video Production, The Illinois Institute of Art–Schaumburg
Video Production Artist Wears Many Hats as Producer, Engineer, and Host
Marisa Serafini is working as an associate producer, video engineer, and host for the AfterBuzzTV Network in Los Angeles. Her job responsibilities include helping to produce content as well as preparing the studios by setting up lights, cameras, and Edirol audio for live–streaming on AfterBuzzTV.com.
Marisa, who in 2011 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Digital Filmmaking & Video Production from The Illinois Institute of Art–Schaumburg, adds that one of the most exciting parts of her job involves greeting hosts and special guests–helping them to prepare for going on the air.
Also exciting–the big names she’s encountered on the red carpet throughout her career. Marisa has shot and edited footage of red carpet interviews for Dancing With the Stars, America's Best Dance Crew, Vegas Bash 2012, and The Harold Pump Foundation.
Michael Osborn, 2009 Diploma Baking & Pastry, The Art Institute of California–Sacramento
Executive Pastry Chef at The Dancing Fox Winery and Bakery
As the executive pastry chef at The Dancing Fox Winery and Bakery, Mike Osborn produces pastries, orders supplies, and manages assistants. He begins his day at 3 a.m., producing an assortment of breakfast pastries and pies.
Mike says that his grandfather first piqued his interest in baking, and now he finds culinary inspiration everywhere. “One day it might be a dinner plate that inspires a dessert or a menu theme that creates a brand new flavor.” He adds that the best part of his career is the freedom to create foods that make people smile. “I also enjoy working with all of the fresh local ingredients available to me.”
Mike, who in 2009 earned a Diploma in Baking & Pastry from The Art Institute of California–Sacramento, states that his coursework helped him to prepare for the culinary industry. “My education gave me the basic skillset and teamwork strategies to work well with others. My chef instructors also encouraged creativity and new ways of thinking.”
Anjo Soria Loots
Anjo Soria Loots, 2007 Diploma, Fashion & Retail Management, The Art Institute of Vancouver
National Store Curator for Indigo
Anjo Soria Loots is working in Toronto as the national store curator, visual lifestyles, for Indigo Head Office. Her job responsibilities include brand visual direction and sales. “I enjoy the fact that every single day is different and that I'm always learning. Every job I've done so far has been different from the previous one, and I love that I’m increasing my knowledge, strengthening all my skills, and becoming stronger and better within my career,” she says.
She adds that moving to Toronto is one of her proudest achievements. “I’ve gained the trust and respect of very notable people in the fashion industry here and this has led me to this next chapter in my life with Indigo.”
Anjo, who in 2007 earned a Diploma in Fashion & Retail Management from The Art Institute of Vancouver, says that her classes were intense, covering the areas that she needed to know before diving into a career in fashion. “The workload, the projects we did, and the learning were all great tools to help me in what I’m doing now.”
The Design & Media Management master of arts degree program offered by The Art Institutes system of schools is designed to turn creative professionals into creative leaders. This program builds on your creativity by teaching you management, entrepreneurial, and critical thinking skills so you can seize tomorrow’s leadership opportunities and be the driving force behind a creative team or entrepreneurial effort.
The Design & Media Management master’s degree program was created by professionals for professionals, and it immerses you in detail–oriented analysis and big–picture thinking to help businesses succeed. In the course work you practice real–world situations in the form of case–based learning.
With Miami International University of Art & Design as the degree–granting institution, students can learn in Miami, Tampa, or Jacksonville. The program will also be offered in Texas with The Art Institute of Dallas, a campus of South University, as the degree–granting institution, with learning sites in Houston and Austin.
It takes the right kind of forward–thinking professionals with creativity, business sense, and people skills to help organizations grow, and the Design & Media Management master’s degree program can help you become a creative leader who can create tomorrow’s design, products, and user experiences.
For more information, visit leaders.artinstitutes.edu.
The Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu) is a system of more than 50 schools located throughout North America. The Art Institutes schools provide an important source for design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. Several institutions included in The Art Institutes system are campuses of South University or Argosy University.OH Registration # 04-01-1698B; AC0165, AC0080; Licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 1287, 3427, 3110, 2581.
Since The Art Institutes is comprised of several institutions, see aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.