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LAFA Best Picture and Best Animation Award - THERE YOU ARE


After the death of her mom several years ago, Su feels estranged from her father. In honoring their traditional family camping trip on his birthday, she hopes to reconnect with him. But when her father cancels it in deference to his new girlfriend, Su is forced to deal with her unresolved grief.

About the director

My name is Rui Huang, and I am an animation director and digital designer. I was born in Sichuan in southwest China. At an early age, I was heavily influenced by manga, cartoons, and films. My interest was cultivated and fully developed when I pursued my bachelor's degree at Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. After graduation, I worked in the game industry as a concept artist for several years. In 2018, I moved to Los Angeles, where I earned my master's degree in animation and digital arts at the University of Southern California. I always have a huge passion for storytelling and visual design. And my strength is digital design. In the past three years, I participated in different projects to hone my skills, including Getty Center Museum projection mapping, Imagine Dragons' animated video, live theatrical show, game projects, other commercial works, etc. All those experiences helped me form my style of THERE YOU ARE. THERE YOU ARE is my first 3D animated film. I was responsible for the film's overall look. When I did the visual design, I got inspiration from my previous projects and my favorite animation, films. I was surprised and very honored that it won both the Best Picture and Best Animation at Los Angeles Film Awards. Being awarded means an appreciation of my work. It is very encouraging for my team and me.

About the writer

Hey, my name is Rong Deng. I'm the co-writer of There You Are. For the original idea, We always wanted to create engaging and thought-provoking stories. We decided to talk about unresolved grief at the end of 2019. Because in life, the loss of loved ones is inevitable. And those who can remember our first encounter with death know that childhood experiences can be frightening and lonely. But if handled with warmth, understanding, and caring, our early experience with death can be an opportunity to learn about living and dying. With that idea, we wanted to create a gift for young people. To create believable characters and environments, we referred to two of our friends' experiences and did lots of research to step into our protagonist and her world. For the storytelling, we used the Three-act structure and Dan Harmon Story Circle.

As I’m also a game designer, I want to dig into the difference between telling the same story in animation and interactive media. So we have There You Are game as well. In the game, you will role-play the girl, Su, explore her world and deal with her father's relationship. From your choice, Su will either choose to move away from the past or stay in the grief. So far, it got awards, showcases, and selections from domestic and overseas, including EVA Digital 2021, DreamHack Beyond, Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival 2021, World Cinema Antwerp Belgium 2021, Urban Mediamakers Festival, and World Cinema Milan.


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