Bassam Kurdali Director: Bassam is a 3D animator/filmmaker whose 2006 short, Elephants Dream, was the first ‘open movie’. It established the viability of libre tools in a production environment and set precedent by offering its source data under a permissive license for learning, remixing and re-use. His character, ManCandy, began as an easily animatable test bed for rigging experiments. Multiple iterations have been released to the public, and Bassam demonstrates him in the animated tutorial video + short, The ManCandy FAQ. Under the sign of the urchin, Bassam is continuing to pursue a model of production that invests in commonwealth. He teaches, writes and lectures around the world on open production and free software technique. Raised in Damascus, Bassam trained in the United States as an electrical and software engineer.
Fateh Slavitskaya Writer / Producer: Resident film geek and evil genius, Fateh founded URCHN to explore new modes of producing film and animation. She oversees and develops its programs as a creative partner responsible for screenwriting, producing and design. Her work with Bassam has been supported by grants from private donors, the Robeson Fund for Independent Media and the Massachussetts Arts Council.
Chris Perry Bit Films and Helga Liaison: Chris grew up in the Bay Area before leaving in 1988 to study in Massachusetts. After receiving his M.S. degree from the MIT Media Laboratory in 1994, he worked in the computer animation production industry as both a programmer and a generalist technical director. This tour took him from Rhythm & Hues Studios in Los Angeles back to the Bay Area where he worked at Pixar. Chris returned to the east coast in 1998 and now teaches computer animation at Hampshire College. He recently completed an MFA degree in Computer Art at the University of Massachusetts (2007), and lives in Northampton with his partner and their two children.
Elizabeth G. Ellis Associate Producer/Production Manager: Liz is a media student at Hampshire College who wandered into the Drome one day and made herself part of the team. She has great drive and talents ranging from writing and recruiting to telling us what to do when. And she animates!
Chris Bishop Anim Soop/Animator/Concept Artist/Primitive Star: Bishop is a Nerdodrome co-denizen who specializes out conceptual motion films and art. His work was described by actor Fierce Brosnan as "A whirlwind ride from start to finish - pins you to your seat with nailbiting optimism". As a denouementless flounder-sans-aryal, he is interested in artistic achievements that commemorate remembrances by sweet braveries and cinematic achievements like the zero gravity fight in the hotel in Inception. You already know what it do.
Josh Wedlake TD/Visiting 3D Generalist: Josh studied architecture at Cambridge, and — yay! (huzzah?) — arrived just in time to design our set. He spent four years on Britain’s National Rowing Team, and while everybody takes bikes or cars into the studio, has been known to take only himself and run all the way. But he did once take a cycling trip, Berlin-Istanbul, documented in the Blender-made Au Soleil. To our collective amusement, he is teaching Becky how to speak south-of-South London. DEF-initely.
Becky Tang (orenji) Intern Artist: The Little Kumquat from Canton, Becky is from Guangzhou China, studying animation and art at Hampshire College.
“What can I say about Beckeee ..” –Henri
“She is attractive to ghosts, but not, you know, creepy.” –Producer
“Her bag is nice.” –Ghost
“Many sentences can be said about Becky…” –Director
“She is the Prim-cess.” –Bishop
“What kind of internship is this?!” –Becky
So far, we know her as the god of gambling, cooking and drinking. She has been doing great work on costume design, and will spend a summer involved in concept art and animatic production.
Henri Hebeisen (riton) Visiting 3D Generalist: Hailing from the active South of France Blender community, we predict that Henri will one day be known as that artist from Toulouse. Unusually (yet like Bassam), he comes to animation from engineering; Josh thinks he can be a renaissance man. He’ll be working first on layout, modeling and animation, but his portfolio also shows nice lighting skills. Henri is allergic to fish.
Jarred De Beer (jarrhead) Visiting Animator/TD: Joining us from Capetown, Sudáfrica, don’t let his handle fool you — Jarred is a lover, not a fighter. His singular abilities include fire poi and a sixth sense for free food, but extend to arts acoustic and electric, over code and under. His newfound knack for python scripting complements his eye for realism, and Jarred is already a talented animator.
Pablo Lizardo (p.lizard) Visiting 3d Artist/Designer: A meek and mild-mannered man, but get him in a studio and he’ll knock you for a six. Pablo teaches Graphic Design in Patagonia, Argentina, where he is a strong member of the Blender community. He designs very quickly in both 2d and 3d, multiplying a project’s production capabilities. It’s easy to get lost in his insane portfolio.
Jamal Coleman (jcoleman) Intern 3D Generalist: Jamal is a BFA animation student at UMass Amherst from Ohio, Croatia, and Colorado. He’s currently working on his final BFA thesis film with a focus on experimental animation and 2d compositing. Read about his doings here and here.
Juan Angel Redondo (redo) Concept Artist: Juan is a maverick and Morphine (the band) fan from Buenos Aires. He is a fine artist and painter, and has worked as a background, texture, and concept artist at Manos Digitales (on Plumiferos), and now at Licuadora Studio. In his every spare moment he pumps out awesome concept sketches for Tube.
Warren Belfield Story Artist: Hand Turkey‘s “Belligerent Internet Nomad”, Warren is an excellent traditional illustrator with a great mind for concept and story development. This mind is kept in a jar on his desk. It mostly collects dust, when it isn’t cluttered with sticky reminders to do things like take out the garbage.
Sam Brubaker (rocketman) Animator/Rigger/Modeler: A student of art and design at NC State University, Sam is enamored with all that is animated. You cannot, in good conscience, post a bio of him without linking to his online comic at ustherobots.com
Jean-Sébastien Guillemette (ecks) Modeler/Texturer/Lighter: It’s difficult to describe JS’s work in a sentence without using the words “totally sweet” or “kickass”. His cityscapes and intricate vehicles are just that, and he works incredibly fast. He’ll be heading up one half of the Modeling Group, focusing on sets, buildings and vehicles. You can check out his work at Montage Studio
Thomas Vecchione (seablade) Sound Designer/Modeler: Thomas is a talented sound designer currently contracted to work for the Santa Fe Opera. He has great ears and also some experience in 3D as well as IT. More information can be found at his website, leviathan-avc.com
Jan Morgenstern (wavemage) Sound Designer/Composer: Jan is a seasoned sound artist designing for film, TV, video games, and advertising. He has been the main composer on the Blender Institute’s open movies Elephants Dream and Big Buck Bunny. You can find his studio with more samples at wavemage.com
Jason van Gumster (fweeb/monkey) Animator: Jason is a multi-talented, multi-capable kind of guy — originally trained as an engineer, he switched to video production and CG and started Hand Turkey Studios. In his official role of Production Monkey, he covers scripting, animating, rigging, modelling, editing, and masochism — he is The Man Who Loved Impossible Deadlines. Somewhere in there, he finds time to be a retired mexican wrestler.
Kursad Karatas Modeler/Sculptor/Texture Artist/Lighter/Layout/Animation: Kursad is a professional 3D artist with years of industry experience. Originally from Turkey, he now works as a freelancer based in the US. Do yourself the favor and check out his amazing portfolio at plecxus.com
Jonathan Williamson (mr_bomb) Modeler/Texturer/Lighting: The original Montage Studio guy. Jonathan’s skill as an organic modeler in Blender is nearly unparalleled, remarkable both for the quality of his work and for how insanely fast he produces it. He’ll be heading up the other half of the Modeling Group, focusing on creatures and characters.
Martin Poirier (theeth) Technical Director: Martin is a Master of Engineering student doing research in the computer graphics and animation field. He has been working with Blender for a long time (since version 1.76 back in the C key days), and has been part of the development team from early in the open source history of Blender.
Claudio Andaur (malefico) Animation/Character TD: Malefico is a grumpy old rigger, animator and artist best known for his work on Plumiferos, where legend says he rigged around 40 characters in one night. He’s one of the founders of Licuadora, an independent Blender-based CG/VFX studio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which has the best beer in town. He also teaches, paints and can sometimes be caught playing guitar.
Gianmichele Mariani Animator: Gianmichele is a professional animator working on next gen games in UK. He has a completely different background than most animators, having been a dancer for almost 20 years. His love for performance and film turned him to AnimationMentor.com to study the fundamentals of animation and where he now enjoys helping other students and sharing his love for this art. His works can be seen at http://www.liquidnet.it