Winter, an animated
short by Andy Collen and Amy Blumenstein-Collen, stands
as a reminder in todays film worlda world dominated
by computer-generated explosions and pop soundtracksthat
narrative filmmaking is about telling a story. Winter
captures a morning in the life of a young girl with a sick,
bedridden mother. As the young girl tends to her mother,
the family dog asks to go outside. The young girl takes
her pet for a walk and returns with a gift for her mother.
When her mother fails to respond, the young girl fears the
With no dialogue, this pen-and-ink,
animated tale subtly filters this winter morning through
the eyes of its main character. Illustrated with carefully
chosen low and high-angle shots, we are able to see both
how large the world appears to her and how small she appears
in her surroundings. Moreover, the detail given to her actionsher
need to use two hands to move her mothers arm, for
example, and the matter-of-fact way she contends with a
banister out of reachhelp define her place in the
world around her.
Andy Collen, Amy Blumenstein-Collen,
and their team have put together a motion picture that is
more than simply well-crafted. Its touching, intimate story,
without the inclusion of so much as one spoken word, is
both a rarity in modern film and a much-needed reminder
that filmmaking is first and foremost a visual medium.
Andy Collen began his career
at the age of 13, selling his meticulously detailed clay
sculptures at a local gallery in Aspen, Colorado. An interest
in the art of animation led Andy to Los Angeles where he
gained industry experience as a production assistant for
Terry Thoren at Expanded Entertainment (now CEO at the animation
studio of Klaspy Csupo, Inc.)
Intrigued by the growing
number of independent animators in Portland, Oregon, Andy
relocated to the Northwest where he completed an apprenticeship
with Tom Arndt of Merlin's Hammer Studio. This hands-on
experience with commercial animation and special effects
gave Andy the skills to freelance with companies such as
Vinton Studios (California Raisins) and Blashfield &
Associates (creator of the mixed-media music videos such
as Tears For Fears' "Sowing the Seeds of Love"
and Michael Jackson's "Leave Me Alone").
Now with the studio of
Happy Trails Animation, Andy directs eye-catching commercials
and independent films. His extensive background in visual
effects, technology, and the art of animation, help drive
the studio's commitment to generating original, inspiring
Amy Collen is an accomplished
art director and production manager with an animator's sensibility.
She discovered the art
of animation in 1984 while earning her BFA from the Pacific
NW College of Art. After completing an ink and watercolor
short film ("Bob's Choice") Amy began pursuing
a career in what is now a lifelong relationship with the
moving image. After apprenticing with independent animator
Joanna Priestley in Portland, Oregon, Amy worked as an independent
contractor on commercial projects such as Texas Lottery,
Nike ACG, Fanta, Blueberry Pop Tarts, and Sesame Street.
In addition, Amy taught animation to young people through
the Northwest Film Center's Filmmakers In Schools program.
Now with Happy Trails
Animation, Amy draws from her fine arts background and experience
to enhance production efficiency and quality control.