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FAVE arrives at MSJC

Instructor Don SmithA Festival of Animation and Video Entertainment (FAVE) sponsored by Mt. San Jacinto College may produce the next local "American Idol" of video animation, according to the chief planner of the event.

The festival will give local high school students a chance to learn about digital production and showcase their talents before the public and several judges representing the world of advertising and multimedia, said Don Smith, instructor and co-chair of the Multimedia department at MSJC.

Students from more than a dozen area high schools are eligible to sign up for MSJC classes in digital video and 3D animation, which provide basic skills. They can take the classes beginning in August at their high school and receive both high school and college credit at the same time in a coordinated co-enrollment program which helps the student jump start their college education. There is no additional cost to the student, since the program is underwritten by a two-year $250,000 grant.

The grant was awarded to MSJC from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office for strengthening career and technical education. It provides funds for equipment and software, specialized training and classes for high school faculty. It also establishes a college-based student multimedia club for ongoing support.

Local advertising agencies and others in the entertainment and media field will coach the students and offer constructive criticism, giving them real world experience. "This is the first time we have had collaboration between the college, local schools and private industry in the multimedia field," which will benefit high school students and college students as well, Smith said.

In December, 2007, the first FAVE event to be held at the Menifee Valley campus of MSJC, called the Jamboree, will display the work of the high school students in the Assembly Hall of the new Technology Center. The ad agencies and media professionals will review the work and give their comments to each participating student.

In the spring semester, FAVE students will continue to work on their Festival entry, chosen from fourteen categories of fiction, non-fiction and promotion. These categories have been designed especially for MSJC and FAVE by the local ad agency and media professionals. In April and May, the students gather for the Festival Preview and the Awards Show, held at the Menifee Valley campus of MSJC, where the professionals and the public will vote for their favorite student work, much like the voting system used in the “American Idol” talent competition, Smith said.

In his 26-year career, Smith has been an animator, art director, fine artist, scenic designer and playwright. As a senior designer for Digital Productions and Whitney-Demos, Smith helped create more than 50 TV commercials, has worked with Mick Jagger on a music video and has developed special effects for several feature films. He has also been a teacher of animation and multimedia and is now a full time instructor and department chairperson of Multimedia at Mt. San Jacinto College.

For more information, contact Smith at 639-5545 or