Student filmmaker's work earns festival screenings

Animated short "March of the Chicken Man" shown at national, international venues

An animated short film depicting the monotony of human existence earned a Texas A&M filmmaker international accolades this year when it was chosen for screening at three acclaimed film festivals.

“March of the Chicken Man,” a three-minute film by Hyemee Choi, a Visualization Sciences student at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture, will be part of this year’s worldwide Microcinema Independent Exposure Tour. The film was screened last September at the Downstream International Film Festival in Decatur, Ga. and again last November at the Chicago International Animation Film Festival.

“These festivals all feature quality work and are well-respected venues,” said Carol Lafayette, an assistant professor in A&M’s Visualization Sciences Program in the Department of Architecture. “Hyemee’s animation will be seen by thousands of viewers around the world.”

The film follows the silhouettes of identical chicken-like “men” marching single file, oblivious to the world around them. The chicken men walk against a constantly changing background featuring images of societal discord including war, pollution, prostitution and drug abuse. The wail of a distorted guitar weaves in and out of a steady rhythmic percussion that marks the beat of the chicken men’s steps. “A chicken man is a person who has no common sense, no personality,” Choi said. “They cannot adapt to change and just follow the flock. I think this may satirize our society. We can all be chicken men.”

Choi recently defended her thesis, “Video Looping of Human Cyclic Motion,” a technique used in her film. She is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Visualization Sciences.

“While working on my thesis, I thought that cyclic motion symbolized our routine life,” Choi noted.

While conducting research for her work, Choi viewed the Pink Floyd film, “The Wall,” and credited the movie for inspiring parts of her animation.

The first festival to feature Choi’s work was the Downstream International Film Festival held last September in Decatur, Ga. Called an “unusual, edgy, and intensely art-flavored fest,” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the venue presents work by under-recognized filmmakers from all over the world.

The four-day-long Chicago International Animation Film Festival, held last November at venues around the Windy City, accepted Choi’s animation in its student film category. “March of the Chicken Man,” will also be showing throughout the year as part of the Microcinema Independent Exposure Tour, a monthly worldwide screening program of independent films, videos and digital art. Segments from the Microcinema tour are screened each month at the Axiom Theatre in Houston, Texas.

“My film, Choi said, “represents the march of the majority people and their attempts to survive in this world.”

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