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Gibsons artist creates animation story

Choom Lam
Animator Choom Lam.
Animator Choom Lam.

An animation artist from Gibsons, a music composer from Toronto and a technology consultant are finding that face to face collaboration is the way to go for their creative project. 

Last June Choom Lam was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to develop an independent animated film this summer at her home studio in Gibsons. Her husband Oliver Sterczyk provided the IT background and she invited composer Dewi Minden to join them in making the music for an animated story. The preparation stage is completed and the trio are looking forward to production. 

“We’ve met all our goals and we’re excited about the next stage,” Lam said. 

As a young artist growing up in Singapore, Lam liked animation because it was capable of conveying insights that were deceptively simple. The story is about a unique olive, a whimsical character who doesn’t quite fit in with everyone else. He doesn’t speak the same language as others and he goes to a dark place before having his moment of awakening. 

“It’s about fears and confronting your own inner demons,” Minden said. It will be accessible to children, but as the animators point out, many of the themes that are in children’s stories are adult subjects as well. 

As a musician who grew up on the West Coast and was raised musically by the Robert Minden Ensemble in Vancouver, Minden is delighted with this opportunity. There are no spoken words in the story. “It’s a musician’s dream!” she said. Her music must tell the story. 

Lam is grateful for the Canada Council grant that is designed to let artists develop their ideas and create innovative, vibrant and diverse works of art. 

“Art is changing,” she said. “The technology to make animation is now available to the general public.” 

However, the group has found that some old-fashioned ideas work best. “Being able to work together and see one another every day to consult has been good,” Minden said. 

Lam agreed. “We take for granted the technology that allows us to work remotely,” she said, adding that working together in the studio had so much more potential for their project.