Director Biography – Suraya Raja

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Suraya Raja is an animator and director, and a graduate of the National Film and Television School, where she completed an MA in Animation Direction. Her films tell stories of the absurdity of human behaviour, the internal and the tragicomic, influenced by her previous work in psychology and social issues, and also by her day-to-day observations of human behaviour.


Director Statement

I get a lot of inspiration from my observation of people, and am really interested in how we think and behave. I have an interest in stories, which inhabit the internal, of mental health, perception and the comedy of human behaviour and interaction. Often my ideas come from social interactions in the mundanity of every-day life, and sometimes from my background of working in homelessness, psychology, substance use and offending.

I am drawn to creating characters that come across as weird or unpleasant, and shifting the perspective as we start to recognise ourselves in them. I am fascinated by the way in which we all think, and how we are really not all that different from one another. I wanted to make a film about a character’s experience of a mental health issue, without it being explicitly about a mental health issue, a story that people could engage with as a story. It couldn’t be educational or preachy, and needed to have a humorous edge, without being condescending.

I chose to make a story of a girl who experiences puro OCD, a form of OCD that is less known about. Intrusive thoughts, generally unspoken of, are something we all experience. My intention was to present these thoughts, often bizarre, taboo and funny, in a way that we can relate to, and to then reveal the more serious and distressing nature of the problem for Layla. I also wanted to really get across the internal thoughts, as they might be experienced, through the use of mixed techniques, contrasting physical textures, and sound.

Layla learns that facing your fears is a way to overcome them. Through avoidance techniques, Layla has learnt to ‘get by’ in day-to-day life, until suddenly she is confronted with her darkest fears. Ultimately Layla makes the decision to face these fears to save Friskies, the cat she loves, and in doing so realises she can trust herself. After the turmoil she experiences in the shed, a terrifying battle with her own thoughts, she is surprised to find herself still holding onto an object that she would have struggled to even look at before. As she looks at the object she experiences a sensation. She is not ‘cured’, but better able to deal with the issue she has.


Director BIO: Javier Longobardo (ONE LAST TIME)

I´m an Spanish visual artist, a teacher and an animations director, for music videos mostly. My most famous client so far, Kanye West, banned the video I made for his single “Street Lights”. Besides, I´ve worked for many other international artists. My career is a roller-coaster.


Director Statement


I love visualizing thoughts and drawing the motion of nature

Director Biography – Bobby Pontillas, Andrew Chesworth (ONE SMALL STEP)

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Bobby Pontillas went to see Disney’s animated film Tarzan in 1999 and was blown away by the groundbreaking visuals. Since then, Bobby has been determined to make an impact in the animation industry, and is committed to share his unlimited energy and infectiously positive perspective to every project. Bobby brings a wealth of artistic experience, having worked on a slew of productions at Blue Sky and Disney, he inspires the crew to expand their artistic horizons on a daily basis. Bobby hopes to steward an era of change to the visual styles of modern cinema.

Andrew Chesworth grew up passionate about drawing, reading, music, and movies. Disney’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit made a definitive impression on Andrew for its quintessential movie magic. Chesworth’s love for both the liberal arts and the visual arts defined his decision to pursue a career in animation. His diverse experiences directing short films and commercials in CG, 2D, and stopmotion, as well as many years animating for Disney, define his broad artistic taste. Chesworth believes that stories worth telling can inspire people of any culture or background.

Director Statement

“One Small Step is a thank you to my mother, Corazon Pontillas, who supported me in my pursuit of being an artist. All of us here at Taiko have worked hard to chase a dream, but none of that would’ve been possible without the support of our family and friends. My mother came to the United States from the Philippines to make her dreams happen, and that’s inspired me more than she knows to persist after mine, even if I wasn’t always the most grateful son. It was the honor of my life to get to work with the Taiko crew and tell our stories. I consider them both friends and family that supported me to live this dream.” -Bobby Pontillas

“One Small Step is our love letter to everyone who chased that impossible dream, and the family that supported them through it. Our story follows the relationship between Luna, a young Chinese American girl who aspires to be an astronaut, and her hardworking immigrant father. We wanted to reflect on the real and personal costs of Luna’s ambitions. Her relationships to her goals and her father change as life presents new realities. Dreams that seed in our hearts when we are young take on new meaning with experience and age. That core sentiment has defined my deep connection to this film. I’m so thankful to have been on this journey with such a sincere group of artists and dreamers. Luna’s story is filled with the rich life experiences of the talented, diverse team here at Taiko Studios. We are thrilled to share it with the world!” – Andrew Chesworth

Director BIO: Bismark Fernandes (EXPEND)

Director Biography – Bismark Fernandes

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Bismark Fernandes is a stop-motion filmmaker and designer from a Goa, India. He completed his M.F.A in Animation from Savannah College of Art and Design and is currently residing in New York.
Bismark has over three years of experience in designing and creating animated content for Television. He is well versed with various styles of animation with stop-motion being closest to his heart. What draws him towards this handmade art form is that it is tangible with subtle imperfections that makes it unique.

Director Statement

Humans constantly utilize or exploit resources that are available to us. The term resource is used in a general sense, as it can be related to food, water, raw materials or fuel. We use it as a necessity, to survive or use it excessively as a luxury to bring comfort.

The film “Expend” portrays the human tendency to exploit resources for our petty desires. In the story, the character acquires this energy by bringing harm to other creatures in the process. The human character in the film does not feel remorse or guilt for his actions as this is part of his daily routine.

The idea is not to condemn the use of our resources but to think of its source before wasting it.

The medium of stop-motion was chosen to complement the idea of the story. Stop-motion is tactile and tangible. Everything on the other side of the screen is relatable and real. It pushes the boundaries of story telling by connecting with the audience on a personal level.

Short Film: EXPEND, 3min., USA, Sci-Fi/Animation


Aced9d4e0c posterA stop-motion film about a man’s endless hunt for elusive energy sources in a decaying world.

News & Reviews
  • Film Type:
    Animation, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 50 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 7, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    8,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital SLR
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:

Director Biography – Shwenn Shunya Chang

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Shwenn (Shun-ya Chang) is a motion graphics and multimedia designer based in New York who has reinvented himself as a “multidimensional” designer. Shwenn graduated from the MFA Computer Art Program at the School of Visual Arts, NYC in 2017. He received his MS degree in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan in 2012, focusing on Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

Shwenn utilizes multiform digital techniques in tandem with his style of design and storytelling. He combines humor, 3D techniques, graphics, illustration, texture, vivid colors and varied technologies to convey his messages for clients. And that range of approaches applies to his own work as well. He recently completed a personal film titled, “Expiration Date,” a motion graphics animation that integrates 2D and 3D media.

Director Statement

As a storyteller, filmmaking is the way to present my own truth to others.

No matter your race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, etc, “What is Love?” is the universal question for everyone. For me, opening an unexpired can seems like the beginning of a love relationship. When the relationship is over, the can has expired. However, when is the expiration date? We never know the answer before we fall in love. Should we be afraid to love or be loved? Therefore, I decided to find my own answers through this poem, through this film.

Expiration Date is a short, poetic motion graphics animated film. It developed with the existence of long lasting, romantic relationships and the attitudes we assume when approaching love. The story is about main character, S, who seeks a love with an unlimited expiration date in an Amour store. S provides one unique, compelling perspective from how to receive lasting love after his journey. And that’s the story about, the belief behind the story.

Ultimately I want Expiration Date to be like a true love for audience–– something you’ll feel deeply and won’t ever forget. It never EXPIRES.