Interview with Jinny Choo, SIGGRAPH Asia 2020 Conference Chair
Fox Renderfarm was honored to interview some big cheeses in SIGGRAPH Asia 2019. The next one we want to introduce is Jinny Choo, the Computer Animation Festival (CAF) Co-Chair for SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 and the Conference Chair for SIGGRAPH Asia 2020.
Jinny has contributed to SIGGRAPH Asia for many years. What’s more, she has successfully organized or chaired several international events including Indie-AniFest (the Korean Independent Animation Film Festival), SICAF (Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival), BIAF (Bucheon International Animation Festival), the GISF SF festival and many others since 2000.
After making her first short animated film in 1999, Jinny started her career as a freelance artist in animation and media arts. She majored in Animation and Illustration and received an MFA in Art and Film and a Ph.D. in Animation Studies and Content Producing from Chung-Ang University in Korea, and Jinny is currently serving as a guest professor and researcher in Korea National University of Arts (K'ARTS).
As a researcher, Jinny’s major area is the theories & artistic practices of animation and interactive media through a combination of traditional media and digital tools, and she has carried out various research and projects in integrated art and technology and animation therapy as co-researcher or lead researcher at K'ARTS since 2009.
Here’s the interview between Jinny Choo and Fox Renderfarm.
Fox Renderfarm: How did you start your CG journey?
Jinny Choo: Well, it’s a long story. But I really love the whole (things) in the CG and animations, or in movies. So, I think I naturally fell in love with the CG.
Fox Renderfarm: Any people inspire you most in the industry? Why?
Jinny Choo: There are so many, actually, filmmakers inspired me, mostly, like independent filmmakers, because with the awesome ideas and unique perspectives. So I really love their masterpieces, especially Michael Dudok de Wit from Holland, who created The Red Turtle, the animated feature. He is an amazing filmmaker, who really shows that poetic animation itself. I really like his works. There are so many other filmmakers I can’t even count.
Fox Renderfarm: Any research or projects you want to share with us?
Jinny Choo: I think that animation as an art, and as a medium, it has a great and huge potential to collaborate with other media, or other art forms. So I actually urge my students to (think how to) use animation as a medium for their expanding projects, for instance, like a medium (in) art, and for game and stage, for their animation, I once had a project with the industry, which was using animation characters. So we created animation characters with our students. It’s like the animation-related games. Around that time, we learned a lot, because animation can do more key roles in the future.
Fox Renderfarm: You have organized many festivals and conferences, any unforgettable memories you want to share with us?
Jinny Choo: I actually organized animation festival (since) around 2000, it’s been like 20 years. Some of them are international, some of them are really small ones. Every moment with the festivals, they are always memorable, you know experience, especially the festival is that a place not only watching the newest animations, but you can actually meet creators, directors, and to share ideas, perspectives, which is really really great. So if you don’t go to the festival, you never know what’s behind the animation. That’s really really interesting for me, and a great journey for me to organize animation festivals, and of course, Computer Animation Festival is one of them. That’s why I’m doing for many many years.
Fox Renderfarm: Would you give some highlights of this year’s CAF? Any submissions give you surprise? Why?
Jinny Choo: Well, amazingly this year, the number of the submissions actually raised a lot. We got over 520 submissions from all around the world, which is great. Every year, the quality of the animation itself, the visual and techniques are really really improving. So that’s why (we have) high expectations every year. And this year, some of the students’ works are amazing. I mean, you can’t really tell like between the student’s work and the expert’s, I mean, the professional work. It’s like a really blurred line. Most of the students’ works are really great. So you got to see our Electric Theater Show, as well as Animation Theater, (a) whole new experience for you.
Fox Renderfarm: You are a researcher and educator and even a festival/conference organizer for many years, any challenges you’ve met to balance these responsibilities? How to solve it?
Jinny Choo: It’s the time. I have to divide my time exactly for education, teaching, research and organize(ing) the festival. Yeah, sometimes it’s like struggling to adjust, I mean, get into the right process. Well, it’s been a really long time for me to do these stuff, multiple tasks. So I’m getting used to it. Because teaching is one of my favorites, and research of course, and organizing festivals is also my favorite, I can’t really choose. That’s why I just face strict about the schedule, and try to adjust everything in time and right on the track. Hopefully, I’m doing well.
Fox Renderfarm: Would you give us a brief introduction of the CG industry in Korea?
Jinny Choo: The CG industry, especially the movie industry is huge. We have tremendous CG companies in Korea. They are doing really really well. And mega-hit movies, actually they are collaborate(ing) with really famous CG companies in Korea, like 10 CG companies actually are outstanding, so they are doing most of the Korean movies, I mean, the CG stuff. For instance, the level of the Korean CG industry, it’s almost the same as the States or other countries. And more talented experts and professionals are working for the huge projects, in collaboration with other countries, of course, the big studios in the States as well as in China. There is so much collaboration stuff going on with China these days. So, I think the CG industry in Korea is pretty bright and is still growing.
Fox Renderfarm: SIGGRAPH Asia 2020 will be in Korea! How is everything going? Any highlights you want to share with the audience?
Jinny Choo: I’m really thrilled that SIGGRAPH Asia actually is coming back to South Korea after 10 years. We hosted the 3rd edition of SIGGRAPH Asia in Seoul, but this time the city of Daegu is hosting the 13th edition of the conference. So as you know that SIGGRAPH Asia is the key place/part in suggesting the newest technologies in CG, animations or visual effects. So we are going to maintain the SIGGRAPH Asia spirit and programs, but there will be some prospective sessions with the novel technologies, and there will be games, so (there) will be another inspiring conference and visual feast for everyone. We are very looking forward to it.
Fox Renderfarm: Have you heard of Fox Renderfarm?
Jinny Choo: Yes, I do! I just heard from one of my international students from China, he introduced one of the mega-hit animation features in China, which is Ne Zha. And I heard that the render farm (Fox Renderfarm) is used for this movie, the visual is really really amazing.
Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?
Jinny Choo: The CG, for the animations and the movies, the story comes first, but without technologies, I mean visual effects or other visual technologies, it would be difficult to show and to share. I’m always thinking that the animation or the movie is about art and technology bring together. So I think SIGGRAPH Asia is the one you can actually share both and experience both ways. For next year, SIGGRAPH Asia 2020 in Daegu. We are looking forward to you being part of the SIGGRAPH Asia 2020. Please come join us!
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