Documentary following students at the Center for Cartoon Studies
The Center for Cartoon Studies is a small arts college for aspiring comic artists and writers offering a Master of Fine Arts degree to those who pass with their final thesis (which takes the form of a completed comic book). And while there are interviews with the staff and visiting lecturers (including established comic artists Stephen R Bissette, Charles Burns, Scott McCloud and founder James Sturm), Cartoon College focuses on the pupils, the young (and not so young in the case of 61-year-old Al B Wesolowsky) talent who are trying to tell their story via the medium of words and pictures. The CCS doesn’t really attract those who want to draw steroid pumped superheroes; most are intent on telling very personal, often autobiographical, stories.
Based in the sleepy town of White River Junction in Vermont (which looks like an idyllic place to live, work and study), the students' lives are a mix of geeky bohemia and intense pressure, with peer critiques and hard deadlines. If you are interested in comics this is an absolutely fascinating look at a new generation of artists/writers taking their first steps to become professional artists, but even if you are only a casual fan of the medium it gives a human face to an artist’s passion and desire to connect with others via storytelling, highlighting the hard work and dedication involved in this oft overlooked art form.
Cartoon College is showing at the CCA, Glasgow, Thu 21 Feb, as part of Kapow! at the Glasgow Film Festival.