The Animation Life of Chun Chun Chang

(Chun Chun Chang)

It must be wonderful to live in the head of animator Chun Chun Chang. Yes, her work has always displayed a larger than life quality that yet somehow manages to be intimate and personal…but this alone is not the reason for an admiration of her mindset. Rather, it’s that while so many of us see obstacles in life, Chun Chun seems to see opportunities. A deep believer in the community of artist as well as that of the overall human community, this acclaimed animator cultivates and celebrates the connectivity of different creative mediums to enhance them all. From ancient Greek Mythology to modern dance choreography and the undeniable effects of music, her artistry proudly professes that creative expression is something which we all share. It’s quite obvious however that the kind of talent and skill that Ms. Chang wields as an animator is extraordinary. The styles and approaches she mixes within even a single one of her films communicates that she understands the power of her visuals to unearth emotions in an audience. While the productions she has created or has been a part of are quite varied, there’s always a part of Chun Chun’s signature voice contained in each and every one.

Although there is perhaps a greater potential for varying style as an animator, this also carries with it the demands of both the technical skill and the creative vision to manifest this goal. Like musical genres, animation has different forms which appeal to a diverse audience and often evoke differing emotions. Testifying to the breadth of her work are Chun Chun’s original films Auraand Between the Shadows. While the latter is a fanciful tale of the moon’s origin, the former is an epic tale worthy of anything experienced by that famed Greek king of Ithaca named Odysseus. The visual presentation Ms. Chang has chosen for these two films is both an exhibition of her mastery of this artform and her desire as a filmmaker to achieve different emotionally resonant tones. Often mixing 2D and 3D styles in the same production, her work covertly implies that there is a factual reality as well as our individual interpretation of said reality. Her refrain from dialogue in these productions has combined with the incredible aesthetic of these films, resulting in the added benefit of reaching a welcoming international audience. Between the Shadowsattained Official Selection status at such events as the Athens International Film and Video Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, and others in addition to receiving recognition at the ARFF Around Films International Film Festival Barcelona.Aurawas similarly given Official Selection status at numerous film festivals and received the Award of Excellence at the Southern Shorts Awards in 2020.

When not creating her own animated films, Chun Chun is sought out by an eclectic group of employers to contribute her artistry to their work. From the HBO MAX documentary mini-series Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cultsto the CBS Interactive School on Wheelswhich follows a child from LA’s Skid Row into Outer Space, the fingerprint of Chun Chun’s animation is found. This native daughter of Taiwan finds herself far from home and even further from the career of book animator that she originally envisioned for herself. Ms. Chang relates, “I was always into stories with simple concepts and fantastical vibes. Children’s books are a great medium for that. However, I always had a thing for timing. I was intrigued by the movements of actors and dancers. While I was watching movies or videos, I liked to play back and forth to feel the timing of their every pause and acceleration. After I dabbled into animation, it was like opening a new door for me. I’m lucky that my interest can become my career. I think the challenge now is to never think of animation as a job and to remember the passion and the reason for making animations in the beginning.”

An LA based writer with more than a decade as a staff writer for NYC based Drumhead magazine, Kelly is also a contributor to a number of outlets.