Five intrepid DAGD students participated in the prestigious Cartoon Challenge at the Kalamazoo Animation Festival International in May, 2009. Joshua Mayle, Andrew Smith, John Jurries, Scott Castleberry and Jacob Truong comprised the Ferris ‘Flying Bulldogs’.

The 10 teams arrived at KVCC’s Center for New Media in downtown Kalamazoo on the Sunday preceding festival week and bivouaced there. Beginning on the morning of Monday, May 11, their objective was to conceive, script, design and produce up to a 30-second animated feature on a public-service topic over the next four days with the competition ending at 5 p.m. that Thursday as the festival begins.

The teams didn't know the topic (new methods of education) until the competition began. All of the materials, computers, software programs, and production equipment were furnished at the KVCC Center for New Media. KVCC provided resting stations and food to the teams chose their own work schedules to produce their 30-second animated spot.

The 10 spots were shown at a public screening at the State Theater in Kalamazoo on Saturday of festival week. That evening the audience of over 500 voted on which team should receive the “People’s Choice Award,” while professional animators – the KAFI judges -- picked the recipient of the “Cartoon Challenge” championship, the “Judges’ Choice Award.” Ultimately, San Jose State from California, a veteran team won the challenge. Ferris DAGD was proud to be part of this event which is considered by many to be the most competitive and highest level college level animation challenge in the world. We run with the big dogs and help lead the pack!