“The Incident at Tower 37” by Hampshire College

  • ©Chris Perry  Hampshire College


SIGGRAPH Video Review:




    The Incident at Tower 37


Company / Institution / Agency:

  • Hampshire College


    “The Incident at Tower 37” leverages the power of allegory to foster a debate about ownership, use, and exhaustion of natural resources. It also represents a significant new direction in undergraduate animation education that is built on a sophisticated set of student-developed, open-source production-management and support tools.

    The film began production within the context of an interdisciplinary group-based production course at Hampshire College in the fall of 2005. The goal was to bring together studio artists, animators, filmmakers, composers, and computer scientists to produce a high-end computer-animated short film. Although collaborative animation work is produced regularly in the animation industry and in some graduate programs, Hampshire is one of the few undergraduate institutions committed to including this kind of experience in its curriculum.

    With limited one-on-one classroom time available, it was clear that a system had to be developed to facilitate communication and collaboration among crew members. This led to creation of a browser-based system built to support the needs of producers, managers, animators, and technical directors. Over the course of the last four years, both the film and the software matured together. Now “The Incident at Tower 37” is ready for wide release, and the suite of tools, called Helga, is an open-source resource available to the animation community (www.helgaproject.org).


    Mac OS and ROCKS (GNU/Linux) operating systems, Apple and custom-built x86 hardware Assorted custom scripts


    Helga, Maya, RenderMan, Studio Shake

Additional Contributors:

    Writer & Director: Chris Perry

    Producers: Daniel Inkeles, Jeanine Dargis

    Music and Sound: Evan Viera, Gary Arnold, Nat Broekman, John Bruner, Laura Stanford

    Art and Design: Chris Bishop, David Cahill, Sarah Clark, Jeff Barone, Alicia Coombs, Jesse Lonergan, Tatiana Soutar

    Animation: Chris Bishop, Harry Thompson, Jim Burakoff, Jerry Chan, Ben Fiske, Taryn Johnson, Jasper Lin, Cristin McKee, Chris Sommer

    Technical Direction: Jeremy Brown, Sarah Clark, Will Colón, Andrew Flanagan, Adam Sax

    Additional Technical Direction: Jake Blais, Kee Blaszczynski, Grant Cerulo, Mark Cheng, Brian Cipriano, Dan Finnegan, Michael Flaherty, Stephanie Gibbons, Daniel Gilbert, Gene Howard, Brian Kendall, Jacob Lefton, Kevin Leigh, Justin Leone, Joshua Marvel, Jake Mazonson Panda, Patrick Seymour, Philip Welty

    Editing: Daniel Inkeles, Andrew Flanagan, Tyler Gorman, Brendan Toller

    Infrastructure and Software Development: Wm. Josiah Erikson, Michael A. Bordas, Brian Cipriano, Chris Morrell, Gabe Tarasuk-Levin

    Software Contributions: Pixar Animation Studios, Rhythm & Hues Studios, Anzovin Studio

    Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Intern: Will Colón

    Produced at Hampshire College

Animation / Video Overview: