Animahenasyon artist Q&A: Omar P. Aguilar


Omar Aguilar Animahenasyon
Omar Aguilar Animahenasyon

Now in its 8th year, Philippine animation festival Animahenasyon is once again rounding up the country’s best works of animation. With a slew of entries from both local and foreign animators, the festival serves as the platform for both amateur and professional Filipino animators to share their work with the world.

Slated on November 25 to 28 at the iACADEMY’s new building campus at 324 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City,   the festival has attracted quality submissions from all over the archipelago, as well as from countries such as Switzerland and France.

Apart from showcasing and awarding the best animation films through its multi-category competition, the festival is also recognizing the efforts of outstanding individuals who have contributed to the industry. One of these is talented independent animator, Omar P. Aguilar, who is set to be awarded the Outstanding Emerging Artist in Animation Award for 2014.

Omar Panuel Aguilar

Omar Panuel Aguilar started his career path in animation when he decided to shift and took up a Bachelor of Science in Digital Illustration and Animation degree course at the Ateneo De Naga University in 2001. As a student, he already distinguished himself as a no-nonsense animator; therefore it was really no surprise that he and his team won two major awards at CITEM’s Animazing Shorts in 2005 notably winning the 1st and 2nd prize for GOAT IT and THE MAN WHO WANTED TO FLY respectively. As a result of this achievement, the French Embassy chose him to be the Philippine representative to the First International Digital Media Meeting [Première Rencontres Internationales des Médias Numériques (PRIMN)] in Paris, France from July 1 – 22, 2005.

Later on he became a full time instructor in his Alma Mater at the Department of Digital Arts and Animation when he decided to teach in 2009. There he would inculcate meaningful and relevant themes to his students when he assigns them to make their own animation projects. He started directing OLI IMPAN in 2010; which was an animated film adaptation of Alberto S. Florentino’s short Filipino play in English. The film is miles ahead in terms of its scale and ambition if compared with his early works, and as expected, it received the “Best Regional Entry” and “Special Jury Award” at Animahenasyon 2012. It also bagged the 2nd Prize and again “Best Regional Entry” at the Gawad CCP Para Sa Alternatibong Pelikula At Video that same year.

To top those achievements, he finished his Master of Computer Graphics and Animation at the Ateneo De Naga the following year.  And 2013 proved to be another lucky year for him when he recently won several awards for his animated short film ANG LALONG NI KULAKOG: “Special Jury Prize” at the short animation category of the Metro Manila Film Festival’s New Wave Section, “Best Animated Short based on a Philippine Folktale” at Animahenasyon 2013, and “Honorable Mention” at the Gawad CCP Para Sa

Alternatibong Pelikula At Video. Indeed the totality of his burgeoning work and his continuing influence will reveal the world of Omar P. Aguilar, the inspiration and imagination which makes his animated works personal and unique.

How did you get into animation? Who/what are your inspirations / influences in this field?

Animation was a fresh-uncharted course before so I had second thoughts about it.  I landed in Ateneo to study accounting. Then one time my mother saw my ledgers full of assorted sketches, then she said, “Anak, mag animation ka na lang kaya?” That was the start of my transition to shift to that course and honestly I miss those unlucky ledgers who revealed my hidden passion for the art.

What are your beliefs and traditions while creating your own animated work and your own style in animation?

I started creating my animated projects based from what immediately inspires me, my family. I believe it is a basic motivation to come up with ideas that involve the most current impression that an artist have. And when I have an idea, I start to fall in love with it. If you love the concept or idea of your work, it’s enough to get you inspired and motivated through the entire production. I prefer stories that put a deep impression and smile to the viewers. It is not that I want to impress them, but I just want to see their connection to what I want share to them. There is no particular style or technique that really use except for the process of creating believable animation.

Compared to other Filipino animators, how do you think your creative output is distinguishable from them?

I think putting a little bit of myself to my animations is the distinguishing factor that differs my work from them. As much as I want to preserve the integrity of my animations, I just can’t help putting a drop of wittiness into it 🙂

How is the industry to you today?

It’s not that good and it’s not that bad either, I think its fine :). The Philippine animation industry continues to strive and develop through the slopes of our economy. It continues to compete on par with other Southeast Asian countries and still maintains its high-quality output of animation. The industry inspires our young artists and animators to create more quality creative works. Even with the evolution of modern technology, somehow, we can adapt to it seamlessly.

What do you think are the challenges that the Phil. Animation industry is facing right now?

I think the challenge is how the Philippine animation industry can participate more on the global market and in the international competitions. Show the world what we can achieve and attract investors to create more opportunities here. It would also be nice if our government would lend us a big hand doing this 🙂

What do you think will be the future state of the Philippine industry?

I’m very optimistic about creating forecasts, so I think the Philippine animation industry will become a self-sufficient industry playing on both national and international market that produces and inspires more CG artists and animators here and abroad.

What do you think about Animahenasyon? How do you regard it?

Animahenasyon is a great venue and opportunity for young artists and professionals to highlight their talents and skills through their works. This event is a beacon for all Filipino artists and animators to gather and connect with one another. The programs in this event inspire young students, artists and animators to create new ideas and techniques in creating their own works. Animahenasyon is the event for the Filipino animators who are excited to share their ideas, culture, principles and beliefs. I will always be an avid supporter, fan and participant of this prestigious event.

How do you feel about being awarded the emerging artist of 2014?

Honestly? I felt the 5 stages of grieving. Denial – “Hindi naman siguro ako yan”, Anger – “Bakit ako!?”, Bargaining – “Baka ibang Omar yan”, Depression – “Ano kaya ang susuutin ko?” and Acceptance – “Thank you Lord at na dinig nyo po ang panalangin ko”. 🙂 All in all I’m much honored to be awarded this kind of distinction and hope is a good-witty example for other inspiring animators and artists.

Any dream projects you’d like to take on?

Yes, a full length 3D animated film. Hopefully with the right cultural concept, generous budget and cool people to help me with in this new adventure.

Ang Lalong ni Kulakog

Ang Lalong ni Kulakog: An animated short by Omar P. Aguilar


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