Kingston University graduates’ success: prestigious award scoops and working with Disney

Twin Kingston University graduates Markus and Tommy Vad Flaaten will air their first Disney short film this summer after winning two prestigious awards for their graduation short film, Bluebarry.

The 22-year-old brothers from Norway, who graduated from the Illustration Animation BA course at KU last year, have already made quite a name for themselves in the animation world.

Markus said: “Working for Disney is a dream we’ve had, and getting there has been a long process.

“But I’m also very nervous. The deadline is in a month and we’re animating all day long.”

The twins pitched their idea to Disney in December and Disney really liked it, and asked them to link it to this summer’s European Football Championship.

“But I know nothing about football,” Markus laughed.

“I only know that there is some football stuff going on this summer.

“They asked if we could take our idea for the series and make it into something footballish – and of course we said yes.”

The twin’s “baby”, Bluebarry, which earned them the public choice award at the British Animation Awards as well as a Royal Television Society Student Award, will be released on April 30, and Markus said they could not have done it without their teachers at KU.

“I just want to say that our teachers at Kingston were incredibly good, especially Chris Shepherd and Martina Bramkamp that worked most with us,” he said.

“They created a unique environment and they encouraged us to be experimental as well as thinking about the industry and what is sellable.”

The twins, collectively known as Twintrash, have always been creative and started drawing cartoons at an early age.

“We like fun and silly cartoons, and we like to make people laugh,” Markus said.

And there is no doubt that people think the twin’s cartoons are funny. Not only have they won awards for their work, they have earned millions of views on YouTube.

Their remix animation film of ‘What does the Fox say?’ has over nine million views.

They have also made a remix called ‘Hello from the dark side’ of Adele’s song ‘Hello’, which has got well over 300,000 views.

It was actually a short film called ‘Spend it wisely’, with more than 200,000 views, that initially brought them the attention that led them to the contract with Disney.

Markus said: “’Spend it wisely’ became quite popular on the Internet, and we got contacted by an animation studio in Mexico who wanted us to help them on a TV series.

“A few years later they got us in touch with someone working at a firm in London who later got a job as a producer for Disney.”

The next couple of months will be quite exciting for the brothers, with the release of Bluebarry at the end of the month and the Disney short film airing on the Disney Channel this summer.

But what happens afterwards remains to be seen.

“We have a few freelance jobs after this project, but we’re taking it a month at a time,” Markus said.

If you want to check out the brother’s work, you can follow Twintrash at Youtube, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Vimeo.

You can watch the trailer to the Bluebarry short film as well as some other Twintrash films below.

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