When you’re lucky enough to find yourself riding waves of laughter with a cinema audience, it’s a sublime experience. This was animator Bryan Lee’s gift to those who gathered for a screening of the USC Cinematic Arts - John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts’ fourth-year final projects on May 11th, 2019, his film capping the evening and his cohort’s four-year program with raucous laughter. Cage Match, a devilishly clever ode to the resilient spirit of innocence, was one of my favorite films. Animated with BIC Round Stic ballpoint pens with a childlike fury, its deceptively mischievous surface (complete with hulking, chicken wrestlers and a frenzied Japanese language-speaking game show host) masked Lee’s tender exploration of what it means to preserve one’s sense of wonder and belonging in this world. Hilarious and heartfelt, Lee executes his distinct style with handcrafted innovation and heart.
Bryan Lee is an animator, story artist and designer in Los Angeles, CA.