Arts & Life, Features

Alumnus Ryan Chu’s animated film selected for American Documentary and Animation Film Festival

“Deep Fears,” an animated short film directed by Long Beach State alumnus Ryan Chu, was selected for the American Documentary and Animation Film Festival.

Chu’s film follows a sea otter who is afraid of the ocean and is forced to confront his fears when he loses his beloved pink shell necklace to the water. The film was released in May 2020 and was Chu’s thesis film for the animation department.

On Jan. 27, Chu received the notification that his film had been selected for AmDocs, which was created in 2011 to celebrate documentaries and independent filmmaking, before adding animated film entries to the festival in 2013.

In a statement, Chu said he’d been satisfied with how “Deep Fears” helped him cope with his mother’s death, the film itself carrying messages of loss and grief, and how well the film has resonated with wider audiences.

AmDocs’ selecting “Deep Fears” was big news for Chu and the team and now serves as an opportunity for Chu to contact the other directors and learn from them.

“All of this has been a very eye-opening and educational experience for ourselves,” Chu said. “Despite not knowing much about film festivals before graduating, I’m so happy that I decided to try back in May 2020. I learned so much and I’m so excited for the coming future.”

The film festival, based in Palm Springs, has screened documentaries including “Kifaru,” directed by Emmy nominee David Hambridge and “United Skates,” directed by Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown and available on HBO.

Chu said it was important to him to be a resource for CSULB student filmmakers who are interested in pursuing film festivals. He created a cheatsheet with peer and CSULB animation student Alysha Nunez to help students strategize their film festival circuit run.

“I believe there’s still not enough people from the animation program that know their options when they have a completed film in their hands, so I wish to spread the information to anyone who needs it,” Chu said. “As much as having a completed film in your portfolio is good, the opportunities of participating in the festival circuit is not to be missed.”

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