A 15-year-old animator who has been creating clay animations since the age of seven has been crowned the 2016 Junior Tropfest winner.
Yianni Rowlands, a Year 10 student from Victoria, was a popular winner with the judges with his entry, Chess People. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItJTauaIzMM&authuser=0

The highly talented and dedicated animator was visibly moved when called up to the stage to accept his award. Yianni began experimenting with stop motion clay animation movies in his bedroom eight years ago and was first encouraged to enter Junior Tropfest at age 11.

Four years of perseverance finally paid off this month when he was announced Junior Tropfest winner, attracting critical acclaim from Tropfest judges.

Yianni has now joined forces with his dad Robbie to teach the nationally recognized Toonworld Animation workshops in schools all over Victoria.

Toonworld director Mike Wheeler, who attended Tropfest, said he was most impressed with the high standard of entries from the range of young artists on display.
Mr Wheeler said he was immediately struck with the idea to have kids teaching kids once he saw Yianni’s movie.
“I began to formulate the vision for Kids Teaching Kids from my seat,” Mr Wheeler said.
“I was moved by Yianni’s acceptance speech, which had him choked up with tears. It’s rare to see such passion from one so young.
“It hit me how much this means to the kids and I began to wonder what opportunities are out there for the hundreds of young talented animators.”
Mr Wheelers said that he set up “Kids Teaching Kids young mentor program” in order to provide similar opportunities to all the budding cartoonists and animators across Australia – regardless of their age.
Yanni and his dad are now being trained and employed by Toonworld to run Animation and Cartooning workshops during the school holidays in Victoria.To find out more contact Mr Wheeler on 0423 548 146 mike@toonworld.tv

About the Author

PhD in European Languages and Cultures (specialising in Literary Translation) Department of International Studies Macquarie University