Southeast professor to present new 3-D film at public screening

Friday, March 30, 2012

What began as a brainstorming session with a friend in 2007 turned into a short experimental 3-D film about friendship and sacrifice called "JUNKBOXX." The film, in production for three years, will be presented at 7 p.m. Monday in the Rust Flexible Theater at the River Campus.

The story is set on Sky Island, an outer space amusement park that is run on solar and solar wind power. Jukebox and the other characters in the park are battery-operated. Facing an intergalactic energy crisis, Jukebox is retrofitted to be solar-operated. An economic crisis closes the park and sends the characters in search of energy to sustain their existence.

After his brainstorming session, director Peter Chanthanakone began character development and design. It began with sketches of each character, then making models of each. Each shot in the story took between 10 to 15 hours to complete.

"Experimental 3-D means it is conceptual, abstract," Chanthanakone said. "Not mainstream [in the sense] there is not commercial application for it. It is art for art's sake."

After working on the project for 30 months it was shown to an audience to gauge audience reaction to the film.

"Basically, the audience was confused. It was too interpretive. It just didn't work," Chanthanakone said. "It was back to the drawing board."

Being artistically isolated from others in the entertainment industry is an obstacle he overcame via the Internet and technology. He solicited feedback and suggestions from friends around the globe. Six months later the third and final version of the film was completed.

"Have the story first," Chanthanakone said. "That was the biggest lesson."

Canadian-born Chanthanakone specializes in 3-D animated shorts. He is also an assistant professor of computer graphics and multimedia, specializing in 3-D animation, at Southeast Missouri State University.

"In 2005 I did my thesis on 3-D short films," Chanthanakone said. "I love making my own stories."

Several films later, he has won numerous international film awards including the Top Emerging Artist at the Reel Asian Toronto International Film Festival.

His work has been shown internationally in more than 45 juried competitions.

Chanthanakone's collaborative experimental animation, "Flag Metamorphosis," circulated around 30 film festivals internationally.

His most recent work, "Death to the Different," has been invited to the world's top animation festivals and has played in Times Square, Germany, France, China, Korea and Pakistan and at the Kansas International Film Festival.

After the film presentation, there will be a short talk by Chanthanakone, and then a Q-and-A session. There is no charge for admission.

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