BYU animation students have come home with their 12th Student Emmy in 10 years for their 6-minute animated short film, “Estefan.” The film took first place in the 34th College Television Awards, joining other BYU winners such as “Kites” and “The Pajama Gladiator.” It took two years and approximately 40 students to complete the 3D animated film that centers on Estefan, a character with a lot of personality.
Lauren Oppenlander, the story layout and lead, stated that she first imagined Estefan as “a cocky barber who thought he was the best,” she told the Deseret News. However, Estefan is more than just a barber; he is an “artiste.” The film centers on the unique challenge posed to Estefan when a customer comes in with no hair. Estefan rises to the occasion and, as producer Lauren Taylor told the Deseret News, “He is so proudly stubborn. He’s tireless in finding the right solution. And of course, he knows he’s the best because of it.”
Work on the project involved a myriad of students and their talents, combining both the technical and artistic sides of computer animation. Students examined flamenco dancing and bull fighters, and incorporated elements from both into Estefan’s character. Students also worked to create the entire atmosphere and environment of the film, down to the most minute details. “Because we’re not filming live action,” Taylor said, “we need to create a person and an environment and all of the little objects that are in their environment.” Creating this environment is one of the major reasons “Estefan” took so long to produce. 
The program’s success is good news for the students; the program consistently places its graduates in the top animation studios in the business, according to a BYU press release. Not only does the program prepare students technically and artistically, but it also provides experience working in an environment similar to a professional animation studio.
Kelly Loosli, head of the animation program, stated in a BYU press release that Estefan “is probably the best character animation we’ve ever put into an animated film.” “Estefan” is yet not available online as it continues to be entered into film festivals around the world. It will also play at this year’s Utah Arts Festival. 
Megan is a graduate of BYU-Idaho and recently married member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is a writer and avid reader, and loves music, hiking, and her family.