Friday, July 4, 2014

A Roaring Success at SIDM’s Alumni Movie Night

Serena (extreme right) and friends
 I was lucky enough to attend the annual School of Interactive & Digital Media (SIDM)’s Alumni Movie Night on 13th June 2014 at Shaw Lido Tower with my friends from The Write Stuff, a CCA for students who love writing and social media. SIDM has a concept of having an annual movie night. It is open to all SIDM students, but caters especially to their alumni.

The choice of the flick is usually voted for by the alumni. This year, the pick was between “Transformers: Age of Extinction” or “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (HTTYD2). The  unanimous winner was the latter.
Movie Night is mainly an occasion for alumni to catch up with old classmates, and meet their juniors and lecturers. My friends and I arrived at around 6:15PM, which was a good hour before the movie started. We wanted to see what it was like since it was our first time being at this event.

The set-up was simple a table for registration, and a separate area with a generous spread of free popcorn, Pepsi and hotdogs kindly provided by the organisers. There was also a small pre-movie refreshment table at the side, serving Lay’s chips and packet drinks.
The popcorn was huge for a Small combo
My hotdog
We arrived rather early, so we saw only about 20 guests mingling around. Some were alone waiting for friends, while others caught up with each other and took group pictures.  One senior lecturer, Ms Amy Soon, was also present. She was the coordinator for SIDM’s Movie Night and made sure everything went smoothly.

The movie night was certainly a big hit with the guests. As we spoke,  more guests arrived and the atmosphere became livelier, as many old friends caught up with each other. There were old and new students, as well as lecturers and family members.

I decided to talk to some of the attendees to find out why they decided to attend this event. One was John Lim, a graduate from the Diploma in Digital Media Design (Animation) 2012, who is attending his fourth event so far.  He is currently working as a designer specialising in motion graphics in an application development company.

“My main job is to focus on user interface, but sometimes we get to work on stuff like motion graphics and advertising,” he said.

The reason why John enjoys movie nights is because he gets to catch up with his friends, meet his seniors and juniors, and also do some networking.

“It's good to get us alumni to catch up with each other. Sometimes, we get to share our thoughts on work, and also find out what our friends are doing. You may never know, but you may also get an opportunity in another line.”

Then we have Serena Gan, a second year Animation student, who was extremely bubbly. It was her second time attending with her classmate, mostly for the experience and great food.

She enjoys films like HTTYD2 because the work that goes into making movies like these inspires them to do better.

“In SIDM, we get to do what we like. It's pretty cool, all the 3D modules,” she said. “I hope to be able to work in Laika films in the future and create effects for animated feature films.”

I went to talk to a helper at the registration booth. She said this gathering was a big hit and almost 300 had signed up for the event, nearly the full capacity of the entire Lido theatre 4.

People made their way to the theatre, arming themselves with free food. We joined the queue, which snaked around the reception area, and we were slowly ushered into the theatre. There was definitely a buzz in the air.

As we settled into our seats, the Director of the School Mr Daniel Tan delivered a short speech to the guests, welcoming them and thanking them for their continued support. The crowd applauded. The floor was then passed to Ms Soon, much to her surprise, and she also gave a candid ‘thank you’ to the alumni and movie guests, before giving the signal to begin the screening.

HTTYD2 is the sequel to 2010’s HTTYD. It follows the story of heroes Hiccup and Toothless, his dragon, as they continue to explore the world and chart new territories. When they chance upon an ice cave that is full of thousands of new wild dragons and a mysterious Dragon Rider named Valka, they find themselves in a battle to protect the peace of not only the town of Berk, their homeland, but the world.

Personally, I do enjoy animated shows. But I hadn’t watched the first movie so I was a bitworried about following the storyline. But as I progressed I got more immersed in it. What was amazing were the visual effects. I was blown away. There’s never a limit to one’s imagination and I got to see that in the numerous dragon-types that appeared on screen. The lines were also quite humorous, as proven by the laughter from the audience throughout HTTYD2.

I was in the second row so it was as close to the action as you can get. If you want a more sensory experience, the movie is also available in IMAX 3D.

After the movie ended, almost all the SIDM students and alumni left the theatre to head back home or to catch up more over drinks and supper.

We had a real blast and I truly hope to get to cover SIDM’s movie night again.

My “Write Stuff” friends  (Front from left): Ginny, Lionel, Nauli, Theo and me. (Behind from left): Dzul and Gabriel

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