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Animation students book themselves a spot on Channel 4

Posted Thursday 9 February 2012

A short film made by two Kingston University students to highlight the plight of public libraries has been shown on Channel 4.

Illustration and animation students Joe Sparrow and Grethe Bentsen made the film Ex Libris (Latin for 'out of books') as their final year project at the university in south west London. It has been shown as part of Random Acts - a nightly series of short films which precede the channel's documentary and music programmes between 11pm and midnight.

"Libraries are something I feel really strongly about and I'm very concerned to see that they're under threat - and that people of my generation don't make as much use of them as they could," Joe, 24, said.

Ex Libris was shot in two of the university's libraries - on the Penrhyn Road and Knights Park campuses - and in the main public library in Kingston upon Thames. It shows a variety of mythical creatures emerging from a book that has fallen on the floor. The monsters were made by Grethe out of cardboard and then brought to life through animation by Joe.

Still from Ex-Libris by Joe Sparrow and Grethe Bentsen, Kingston University"The aim of the film was to capture a sense of the enchantment that you can discover in a library," Joe explained. "It's all about the weird and wonderful stuff you can stumble upon when you aren't expecting it."

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals has estimated that 600 of England's libraries are under threat of closure due to pressure on local authority budgets.

Joe and Grethe's film was spotted by Chris Shepherd, who commissions animations for the Random Acts series and now also lectures at Kingston.

"When I arrived at Kingston University, I had a look at some of the films that students had made over the past few years and I was overwhelmed," he said. "Some of them were amazing - really strong on design and style."

As well as Joe and Grethe's film, Chris selected two other animations by recent Kingston graduates, I Fall Down by Jesse Collett and What Makes Your Day? by Napatsawan Chirayukool, to show on Channel 4.

Joe is currently working on a new animation for the Cartoon Network.

Find out more about studying illustration and animation at Kingston University.

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