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By Noah Barron
A Cape Town animator's anti-rubbish film has been cleaning up awards worldwide.
Braam Jordaan, 25, received Best Animation at the Multichoice Vuka! Awards 2006, best film of one minute or under at the Kalamazoo Animation Festival International, and the Jury Prize at the 11th annual Seoul International Cartoon and Animation festival in Korea.
His minute-long piece, The Rubbish Monster was created for local environmental NGO, the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
Jordaan, who was born deaf to deaf parents, sought to find a way to bring an environmental message to previously disadvantaged pupils in their schools.
"The main message I wanted to convey was that conservation begins at home," he said in an interview conducted in writing yesterday.
Jordaan used the animation medium because he thought that a story told in pictures would best influence children to get involved.
He chose motifs and a setting drawn from African art. "I was deeply inspired by the way people in townships build their camps with creativity and traditional skills," he wrote.
In the short animatic, a township man carelessly tosses his cigarette box on the street. It twitches and comes to life, gathering all the litter in the area into a humanoid rubbish monster which wreaks havoc on the town.
"Animation is visually captivating," he wrote. "It can create events, situations, thoughts and simulations that cannot be viewed in any other way."
Jordaan came up with the idea while observing a stranger littering. He confronted the man and the stranger gave him two fingers. Jordaan wrote that he was thinking, "Be careful that I don't turn into a smelly rubbish monster and munch you!"
Working in the visual medium makes sense for Jordaan, but he doesn't focus on his impairment. In fact, his deafness was never mentioned to any judging panels. "I grew up in a colourful environment and in deaf culture there's got to be a visual language. Animation is very visual-driven - colours are my music."
Jordaan, who animates for the local production house Condor Cape at Waterfront Studios, used the software Mental Ray and Maya to render the complex shapes and characters in The Rubbish Monster. The sound was designed by Stephen Webster.
Jordaan is now working on a longer animation project that he hopes to turn into a television series.