Arts and Entertainment

Former DigiPen students’ ‘Super Secret’ will screen at SIFF

A still shot from
A still shot from 'Super Secret,' a short film created by seven former students from DigiPen Institute of Technology. The film will screen at the Seattle International Film Festival Saturday and June 1.
— image credit: Courtesy graphic

Most fathers only want what’s best for their daughters. But what they think is best may not always be what their daughters think is best.

This dilemma touches families of all cultures and backgrounds and as the short film “Super Secret” shows, it even extends to the bad guys. The film follows a father-daughter pair on the girl’s 13th birthday. The super-villainous father prepares a small celebration to mark the occasion with the intention of welcoming his little girl to a life of crime, but she has other ideas.

“Super Secret” — just a few seconds shy of three minutes in length — was created by a group of students from the DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond last year and will be screened at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) this year. The short film is part of The Family Picture Show, a set of short films grouped together for the young and young at heart, and will be shown at noon tomorrow and 11 a.m. on June 1 at the SIFF Cinema Uptown (511 Queen Anne Ave. N.).

There were seven DigiPen students who worked on the project: Laura Borgen, Cole Harrington, Nnenna Ijiomah, Dan Lane, James Ludden, Eddie Peters and Tyler Stuart.

The students — who all graduated from DigiPen in spring 2013 — created “Super Secret” as part of a senior-level thesis film class during the 2012-13 school year, said Ijiomah, who was the film’s producer.

She said since everyone on the project has graduated and gone their separate ways, it was actually the director of the digital art and animation program at DigiPen who submitted the film to SIFF.

Ijiomah, who earned her degree in 2-D and 3-D animation and digital arts, said she and her former classmates didn’t even know anything about it until they received an email about a month and a half ago about “Super Secret” being selected for the festival.

“It was a huge surprise,” she said. “Everybody’s just really surprised and happy and proud.”

Pamela Mathues, one of the instructors for the thesis film class, said this was the first time DigiPen has submitted anything to SIFF, so it is pretty exciting to have been selected.

“I feel so proud of them,” she said about Ijiomah and the rest of the group.

Mathues said she saw everything the students went through while working on the project — especially their commitment to the project and the hard work they put in as they pushed through various challenges — so she is grateful to SIFF. She said “Super Secret” being selected is validation for the former students that they are working at a professional level.

Ijiomah agreed.

“We’d hoped it would be that good,” she said about the short film. “But we didn’t know how people would receive it.”

Ijiomah added that creating “Super Secret” was not easy. She said although the class began in fall 2012, she and her team actually began planning for it in March 2012. They completed it in April 2013. Originally, the team discussed doing a short film about superheroes, but Ijiomah said it was the villain who caught their interest the most.

She said after completing “Super Secret,” she now looks at animated films differently.

“Somebody did all of that,” Ijiomah said about what goes through her mind when she watches them. “Everything you see, somebody made.”

And while the technical aspects of creating the film were not easy, Ijiomah said working as a team was one of the biggest challenges. It was also difficult for them to balance the rest of their class load as they were spending anywhere from 40-60 hours a week on the project.

“We lived at school,” she said.

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