BYU student film at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival | News, sports, jobs


The title card of “Salt” (2020).

Courtesy BYU Photo


Sanura and her mother look at Lake Retba in “Salt”.

Courtesy BYU Photo


Sanura, the main character in “Salt”.

Courtesy BYU Photo

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A short film, directed and produced by students at Brigham Young University, was recently screened at the 38th annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.

“Salt” was directed by Alicia Scott and produced by Dallin Jones, both former students of the BYU Center for Animation. The duo enlisted the help of over 50 other BYU students to work on the film.

Scott and Jones, supervised by BYU professors Kelly Loosli, Seth Holladay and R. Brent Adams, started work on “Salt” in October 2018. The film was finalized in May 2020 after spending an estimated thousands of hours on the project.

“The film shows a mother and daughter in Senegal, Africa, who work hard during the day to harvest salt and enjoy music at night,” says a BYU press release. “The short film masterfully underlines the importance of family and joy without the dialogue between the characters.”

The film is set in the city of Dakar, where residents have been harvesting salt from the pink Retba Lake for generations.

The original idea for “Salt” came when Scott discovered after a DNA test that she had Senegalese ancestors, which inspired her to make a short film about a Senegalese family.

“When I found out that I had an inheritance in Senegal, I was amazed. It was something I didn’t know. I wanted to learn more about this place and the people who live there, ”Scott said in a press release. “Anchoring our film in Senegal is a small homage that I can offer.”

To ensure the film’s accuracy, Scott and Jones read books on Senegal, studied instruments and music from the country, spoke to BYU professors who had brought students there, and met with a delegate from Senegal.

“We took inspiration from all of these sources to make the animation as realistic as possible,” said Jones.

While Scott and Jones graduated from BYU with their animation degrees in 2020, their film continued to gain recognition.

The Chicago Children’s Film Festival was founded in 1983 by Facets Multi-Media and is now in its 38th year, making it the oldest and largest film festival in the country. The festival took place from November 5th to 14th and showed over 240 films from 40 countries.

The BYU Center for Animation was founded in 2010 and is subordinate to three colleges of the university, the College of Fine Arts and Communications, the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, and the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology.

“I think so much of the animation program at BYU,” said Jones. “The culture created is really unique and one of the main reasons the program was so successful. It’s a culture of encouragement and perseverance and hard work. “


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