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I’ve been writing for 18 years about BYU students winning awards for fun and funny animated short films, but I haven’t been able to share the actual videos with readers.

Now the wait is over.

BYU’s first award-winner was 2003’s “Lemmings,” which is a delightful little film. In early 2004, the school gave me a DVD with the five-minute video on it so I could review it. More than 20 film festivals invited BYU to screen it at their events but alas, there was no way for Deseret News readers to see the university’s first film to win a College Television Award, colloquially known as a student Emmy.

BYU's 'Lemmings' a reel winner

I recently wrote about the latest batch of BYU student animators to win an award. This time, I received a link from the College Television Awards so I could review “Stowaway,” a fabulously cute and funny short about an innocent baby Kraken terrorizing a pirate ship.

I also asked Kelly Loosli for permission to stream “Stowaway” on The co-creator of the BYU Animation program wasn’t immediately sure if that was possible, because film festivals want exclusivity when screening films.

But then Loosli talked with his team and emailed me a Vimeo link with all of the program’s animated videos, and even some of the games created by students. So let’s all thank Kelly!

The BYU Vimeo account has a mere 434 followers. That’s a shame, because these films, as proven by the awards, are a hoot.

At 19 years old, “Lemmings” definitely shows its age. The video remains pixellated and rudimentary compared to “Stowaway,” which has the benefit of 19 years of technical advancements.

But show “Lemmings” to your kids and grandkids. They’ll laugh. And adults will get a kick out of the Steven R. Covey reference. You also can use it to teach a lesson or two about mob mentality.

In fact, rewatching it reminded me of Elder Clark G. Gilbert’s presentation with President Dallin H. Oaks on Tuesday at an Ensign College devotional. Elder Gilbert, the commissioner of the Church Education System and a General Authority Seventy, showed an old Candid Camera elevator experiment on social influence to illustrate his points about some of the negative uses and effects of social media and bandwagon thinking.

President Dallin H. Oaks shares 5 ways Latter-day Saints can proclaim truth with love

Pro tip: Watch the water in both “Lemmings” and “Stowaway.” Each film includes lots of animated water. Back in 2003, the students were really proud of reproducing the wet stuff as well as they did. It’s just about the hardest thing to do in animation, and “Lemmings” proved the students had talent.

The student team that produced the latest video, “Stowaway,” wasn’t shy about showing off their water-rendering skills. The pirate ship sails confidently on the open ocean, and water expertly slops out of a bucket when the baby Kraken emerges.

How to watch: Click here to find all of the videos. The first four are video games. Skip down and watch “Stowaway” and you’ll want to watch more. Further down, click on the blue “Load more” link a few times until you reach the very bottom to find “Lemmings.”


My recent stories

President Dallin H. Oaks shares 5 ways Latter-day Saints can proclaim truth with love (May 17)

Senior Latter-day Saint leader to speak at National Press Club near White House (May 17)

President Nelson tells young adults to focus on three fundamental truths, including ‘who you are’ (May 15)

How a unique student housing project at the U. could generate $1B in student aid over 99 years (May 13)

See how much was spent on charity in 2021 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (May 13)

2 men face hate crime charges for separately setting fire to a Latter-day Saint mission car, church (May 13)

About the church

Elders Gary E. Stevenson and Dale G. Renlund and their wives filmed a virtual tour of the Washington D.C. Temple: Watch.

The Church News video team created an excellent piece about the creation of a new monument to Joseph Smith’s ancestors. It features President M. Russell Ballard and shows a great collaboration between the church and members of the town of Topsfield, Massachusetts. Watch. Read more here.

BYU Museum of Art’s Old Testament art exhibit arrives at the perfect moment for “Come, Follow Me” students. Read.

See the latest on the Salt Lake Temple renovation here.

I didn’t know there was a Latter-day Saint playing in the National Hockey League. There is, and in fact he is playing in the NHL playoffs right now. Read about his spiritual pregame routine and more.

View Comments

The church released interior photos of Cape Verde’s first temple as a public open house is about to begin. See the photos here.

What I’m reading

Need to read something about humanity that’s of good report and praiseworthy? I promise, this story will lift your spirits and remind you there are the good neighbors all around us: The boy who lost his baseball autographs.

A Deseret News exclusive, and a real beaut: A colleague became the first to publish the reaction of Brenda Wright Lafferty’s family to Hulu’s “Under the Banner of Heaven” series, which a sister characterized as “absolute fiction.”

Thumbs down to Cinemablend for publishing a headline saying that the creator of the “Under the Banner of Heaven” series “is ready for backlash and death threats from the Mormon Church.” There’s a lot wrong with that headline, not least that it misrepresents what the creator said. (He said that when you challenge the status quo, people will push back and you get death threats.) For the record, the church hasn’t responded to the show’s existence at all.

Behind Scenes

A girl in Senegal tired of long days harvesting salt with her mother notices the music in her work in the BYU film “Salt.”
A girl in Senegal tired of long days harvesting salt with her mother from the pink Lake Retba notices the music in the work in “Salt,” a short animated film by students in the BYU Animation program. | BYU Animation
In a short film by BYU Animation students called “Death and Delilah,” a grim reaper is assigned a stubborn target.
In a short film by BYU Animation students called “Death and Delilah,” a grim reaper is assigned a stubborn target. | BYU Animation
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