Animation Alums Take Home Annie Award

By | February 28, 2024

An animated Jack Black is seen on a horse in his music video "Video GamesFour Daemen University animation alums won an Annie Award for the music video they produced for actor and comedian Jack Black.

“Video Games” took home the trophy in the Best Sponsored category at the 51st annual award ceremony held in Los Angeles earlier this month. The Annie’s recognize excellence in animation shown in American cinema and television.

Black and Kyle Gass, the comedy rock duo known as Tenacious D, released the music video in May with the help of animation grads Jack Gato ‘20, Geoff Roberts ‘20, Lucas Santos ‘19, and Anthony Syracuse ‘18.

While accepting the award, the producer and director of “Video Games,” Adam Paloian, said, “This is my first production with my team, so I want to thank Olov Burman the animation director, Chris O’Neil who storyboarded this with me, Jack Gato who is my CG supervisor, Noah Williamson who did all of the sculpts in this video, and the rest of the amazing crew.”

Gato had been working with Paloian when he was approached by Black about the music video. From there, Gato was added to the project and enlisted the talents of Roberts, Santos, and Syracuse.

Some of their responsibilities included creating 3D models, rigging characters, and oversight of all asset creation and rendering for the video, which is an ode to video games and the stories these games tell.

“We are super proud of the amazing achievements of the four recent graduates from Daemen’s Animation program,” said Mike Jones, associate professor and the director of the Animation Program. “It is a testament to the Animation faculty that we have such talented students.”

“The accomplishments of our incredible alumni are undoubtedly a reflection of the care, dedication, and talent of the outstanding faculty in the Animation Program at Daemen,” added Dr. Heather Maloney-Stassen, the founding dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Education. “We are so proud of our students and thrilled for the level of recognition. Such a wonderful and exciting time for our program.”

“Video Games” has been viewed 31 million times on YouTube.