Hampshire College was one of the schools Tom and I visited on our big tour of New England colleges last month, and we saw a bit of student animation as we passed through one of the buildings. While we were visiting with Lee Spector (a friend of mine who teaches at Hampshire), the film came up and he told us we could find it online at bitfilms.com. One of the things that most impressed us both about Hampshire was the incredible quality of the student work there, and the videos at bitfilms are wonderful examples. These animated shorts are directed by professor Chris Perry, who came to Hampshire from Pixar. You can definitely see his Pixar background, as the animation (which is truly splendid) is always in service of an interesting story, and the characters have wonderful depth despite the brevity of the films.
As well as “The incident at Tower 37”, I also definitely recommend their other two bitfilms shorts (“Catch” and “Displacement”), as well as the 2010 Hampshire student animation demo reel and independent Hampshire student films such as “Nick the Shoes” by William Colón. All really impressive stuff that sets the bar awfully high for everyone in academia.