Multi-awarded animator and DACA instructor Omar Aguilar is set to be honored anew during the awarding ceremonies of the Animahenasyon 2014 – The 8th Philippine Animation Festival on November 28, 2014 at the iAcademy Plaza in Makati City. The Animation Council of the Phiilippiines, Inc. (ACPI) has chosen Aguilar as the Outstanding Emerging Artist in Animation Awardee for 2014.
Animahenasyon’s Outstanding Emerging Artist in Animation Award is a recognition given to young Filipino individuals not exceeding 40 years of age, who have made significant contributions to the development of the Philippine animation industry. This award is given to an artist who has created a substantial and important body of work that contributes to the development and progress of the local animation industry. The award embodies the country’s ideals in its outstanding aesthetic expression and excellent technical rendition of animation. The award aims to give appropriate recognition and honor young Filipinos who have already made significant contributions to the promotion of creative expression and the development of the Philippine animation industry, and who could be the future lifetime achievement awardee in animation.
Last year, in the New Wave Category of the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival, Aguilar’s short film Ang Lalong Ni Kulakog was awarded the Special Jury Prize in Animation. It also won Best Animated Short Film Based on Philippine Folk Tale in Animahenasyon 2013, Honorable Mention in the 25th Gawad CCP para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video and Special Jury Prize in Pasale: CinemaRehiyon-Bikol Film Festival 2013. In 2012, his animation of Alberto S. Florentino’s short play Oli Impan was ajudged Best Animated Short Film during the Pasale: CinemaRehiyon-Bikol Film Festival 2012. It also won 2nd prize in the Animation Category and Best Regional Entry in the 24th Gawad CCP and was awarded the Special Jury Prize and Best Regional Entry in Animahenasyon 2012.
Even as a student, Aguilar has distinguished himself as a no-nonsense animator. As a junior, his well-crafted music video, Agrabyado, won Best Experimental Video in the 17th Gawad CCP in 2004. In his senior year, his team’s The Man Who Wanted To Fly won Best Animated Short Film in DACA’s annual animation festival, ADAAF 2004. In 2005, the same film won runner-up honors during the Animazing Shorts Competition, bested only by another Aguilar film Goat It. Because of this 1-2 finish in the same competition, the French Embassy chose him to be the recipient of a special training in 3D animation and the Philippine representative to the First International Digital Media Meeting [Premières Rencontres Internationales des Médias Numériques (PRIMN)] in Paris, France from July 1-22, 2005, all expenses paid.
Aguilar graduated from the Ateneo de Naga with a degree in BS in Digital Illustration and Animation in 2005. Soon after, he worked for Geebo Digital Studios and did some freelance jobs in 3D animation and visual effects for Toon City Animation, Inc.; Digital Dodge, Inc.; and Fahrenheit FX, Inc. among others. In 2009, he decided to come home to Naga and joined the faculty of the DACA Department. While teaching, he also pursued further studies in animation graduating with a degree in Master of Computer Graphics and Animation in March 2014.
What differentiates Aguilar from the other artist-animators considered for the award is primarily the innovative aspect of his work and its originality. His characters are familiar (a dancing swine, a man with a bamboo stick for a fishing rod, a man who wanted to fly, an Agta trying to catch a goat for his dinner, and a misunderstood Bicolano folktale hero among others), yet it is his unique prowess as a character animator and storyteller that keeps his students and other animation enthusiasts hooked on his creations. He stands out from other animators of his generation by using endearing cultural icons, stereotypes and issues. He also distinguishes himself as an animation instructor who encourages his students to take on more meaningful and relevant projects (on disaster preparedness, proper waste segregation or with socio-cultural and spiritual themes, etc.). The impressive portfolio, string of recognitions and advocacy to level up the country’s pool of animation talent made 32-year old Omar Aguilar the obvious choice for the Outstanding Emerging Artist in Animation Award. His work and his involvement with other and would-be artists will reveal the world of Aguilar, the inspiration and imagination which make his artwork and projects personal and unique.
Animahenasyon, the annual Filipino animation festival that features the different animation works of both aspiring and professional animators in the country through a competition is organized by the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPI). It also administers and confers the Outstanding Emerging Artist in Animation Award. — DBIsj