The AniGrill and an overview over 3 years of studying Animation

Interviews with Isabel Pahud, Caroline Laville and Isabel Clerici
It’s after a long year of sitting behind desks working on various projects that the whole animation department here at HSLU, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts comes together to eat amazing grilled veggie-burgers, to discuss the recently premiered bachelor movies and most of all, to enjoy each other‘s company before a long awaited summer break.

On Thursday the 29th of June, three classes of students and staff meet on the school’s terrace to have a last meal together before leaving for the summer or definitively for those finishing their studies. It’s a long held tradition from the animation’s department: a true farewell to our third year bachelor’s and a last chance to get together with all their peers after a very exciting but also busy premiere the day before.
It’s under a cloudy sky that it all takes place and even though everyone’s very emotional, we can see the sun shining through the student’s smiles as people laugh together over their shared memories. Watching it all come to surface, I see the perfect opportunity to ask a few of the recent graduates about their time spent here studying animation, who knows when a little secret might be spilled.

Three years have come to an end, this is the last time you’ll be with the whole bachelor together as a student, how do you feel about it?

Isabel Pahud
It kinda sucks because the three years were really nice and although we were covid kids, we still managed to build a nice class atmosphere. Now it’s the reality of having to step foot into the big world out there where nothing is sure and nothing is secure. You’re leaving this comfortable bubble, and also being a student where shit is free, I’m not going to have that adobe pack anymore…


I know! Usually if the studio is good they provide you the licenses but yes, it’s exciting and also very depressing at the same time.

Isabel Pahud, director of this year’s bachelor film Forza, Rea!, started her studies here in September 2020 right before new public health measures were imposed due to Covid-19 cases rising in Switzerland. Having to study from home affected the class dynamics but not necessarily in a bad way, as Caroline Laville explains:

Caroline Laville
The lockdown started again around November so we had three months to get to know the class. Then we all moved to Discord* until the end of our first year. I think it was hard on some people but it worked out for my side of the class really well. We * instant messaging social platform, usually used for video calls and private chats met everyday, we had such a tight bonding experience through staying up until 2 am chatting or playing games together, that formed a really strong bond between us. It‘s in the AniGrill that the third year class gets to say goodbye to this school. It’s a special event that can get quite emotional as it takes place directly after the bachelor film’s premiere, the day before. For Isabel Clerici, the second Isabel from team Forza, Rea!, this year’s grill is different because it’s her last:

You’ve been to quite a few AniGrills, what makes this event special in your

Isabel Clerici
It’s the feeling of everyone being excited because some really cool movies are done! It‘s also the last time you get to see some people and talk to everybody, not just your class. It’s exciting to have everybody together, it’s hard finding time for everyone to hang out. The AniGrill is like: “we the animation students are having a party”, it’s really cool.

We always have a lot of things organized only for animation students, it’s so great.

So exclusive!

Yes definitely!

It’s just really nice because it’s like a send-off. You get to send somebody off and know that next year it’s your turn, you can prepare yourself for that. As a third year, something ends and it’s sad but in a good way. It’s important, if we all just left and there was nothing it would be hard, this helps. So that’s the main purpose of the AniGrill: not just eating for free but also closing an important chapter in the student’s lives. It’s a time of discussion and reflection, where everyone can go over their evolution during their studies.

With your studies finished, what do you take out of the last three years?

Caroline Laville
I started studying here not knowing if I wanted to do 2d or 3d and now at the end, I know very specifically what I will focus on. It formed me by giving me directions. The studies here also gave me realistic expectations for what happens after school. But most of all, we have a community now with this class where we’re proud of each other, everyone is very skilled. I know that a lot of us are gonna be in the industry and it will be amazing seeing people that I studied with work on really cool projects.
Maybe in the future we get to work together again, it would be a dream.
Caroline Laville worked on her personal portfolio during her last year instead of teaming up to make a movie. However, that did not stop her from stepping into many different projects in different roles like for Summer Rain as Compositor and Oh No as Producer. Connections are one of the most crucial possessions that students take from their bachelor in Lucerne. All the time spent together creating strong bonds contributes to better teamwork and an overall greater time working as a group.

What are the best memories you keep?

Isabel Clerici
AH you’re making me choose! I don’t know, maybe lunches in the atelier, just eating together, having a laugh, watching movies in the Rex* or hanging on the terrace, it’s the small things. Obviously seeing my name in a big cinema made me cry, it’s a pretty big moment. Aside from that, I’d say the third year because it’s such a collective work. I don’t think it was a specific moment, it was getting to work on a project and seeing everybody work on their project, updating and helping each other. I don’t think I’ll ever have something like that again. It was pretty incredible.

Such emotional answers! Okay so-

Also pancake day was fun.

Pancake day! Was that a new thing this year?

That was because Bee (Isabel Pahud) is British and it’s a British holiday!

That’s so funny, I saw it on your schedule!

Yes, so carry it forth next year, do pancake day.

Sure, great memories are formed during the studies. And even though the students wouldn’t change a thing about those, there are still specific moments where they feel like they could have done things otherwise, especially with the knowledge they have now.

What would you have done differently?

Isabel Pahud
Now with a whole year behind me of being director, I know what I can do differently in that role. I have a clear idea of what is expected of me and what I should bring to the table. When I pitched my story, I didn’t realize exactly how much I should have done beforehand, style-wise and story-wise. It’s good to have a clear idea of what you want instead of just a concept. Concepts are great but if you don’t flesh them out, you won’t find anything tangible. Also, If you have a concept, make sure that you have people that are very eager to bring ideas to the table! Around the tables outside, between the alumni, staff and current students, a few new faces can be seen. The next first years have already been accepted, some are here tonight. There’s no better time to drop a piece of advice, I’m sure they’d be as eager to hear it as me. * Hslu’s own movie theater just next to the cafeteria

What piece of advice would you give to the newcomers?

Caroline Laville
I remember my first kükenfest* I was sweating because my new classmates were so much better than me. I got in from the waitlist so I wasn’t sure I deserved my place here. I talked with a third year back then at the grill, their piece of advice stuck with me: even though you compare yourself in the first year, as soon as you start working in a team, you stop the comparisons because everybody is equal. The better your teammate is, the better it is for you!

Isabel Pahud
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take these three years as practice, don’t expect to have portfolio worthy work walking out of it. Always move on to the next project instead of sticking to one trying to make it better. Sometimes starting from scratch or doing something different is way more helpful to advance in your skill. Also, make good friendships and have a good time, don’t take the teachers too seriously! Grades don’t matter, you just need to pass. It’s all about your skill, not grades.

Isabel Clerici
Follow your gut and do what you like. If doing what you like means not doing an all-nighter but instead hanging out with your friends, then do that. It’s probably the only time in your life where you’re gonna get to do that. If it means that you really want to finish this specific thing then do it! As long as you follow your gut, you’re going in the right direction.

Thank you Isabel 1, Isabel 2 and Caroline, we’ll be sure to put all of that into action.

So there it is folks: as the night ends, the beloved third years pass not only the salad, but also the torch to the next batch of students. And as we all eat and drink together, this evening serves less as a goodbye but more as a welcoming party to all the amazing projects to come by our new graduates.

photos by Jessica Meier

*grill organized in the first week of school to introduce the new animation students to the Bachelor

The Animation Premiere

graduates 2023
All photos by Copyright: HSLU/Priska Ketterer

Meeting the students behind the stories
Interviews with team Crevette, team Summer Rain, Kirill Gromadko and Justine Klaiber

I’m sitting among hundreds of people, the room is overflowing with excitement. Today is the HSLU’s Animation premiere, where films made by the students both in Bachelor and Master Animation during this last year will be screened.

It’s all taking place in the Blue Cinema here in Emmenbrücke. As I walk in, maybe fifteen minutes early, I can already see multiple small clumps of people talking. There’s the graduates’ families and friends, alumni, students, school’s staff and many Swiss professionals. I now understand why it couldn’t take place in our own cinema room in school, the Rex. I mingle a bit before going to the ticket stand where I receive a bracelet for my reservation and I walk into the screening room.

The room is enormous but I still struggle to find a sitting place in the middle, who even wantsto sit on the sides? The space gets filled pretty quickly. In the crowd, the people graduating this year stand out: dresses to suits, professionalism seems to be the theme, bulls-eye, every single one of them looks amazing! After all the greetings, they also take place and when every single person is finally sat, the atmosphere changes. Jürgen Haas, Hslu’s Bachelor animation’s director, walks on stage accompanied by Tina Ohnmacht, Master animation’s coordinator. A not so little speech is made, which I unfortunately can’t forward to you as it was held in german, but I assume it’s about the year of work behind and the pride felt for the students. That’s what I would have written. Then, it’s the students turn to speak, Sven Bachmann from team Crevette talks for the whole bachelor: he thanks every person involved in the films and gives away bags prepared for the school’s staff. Pretty similar words are said by Pedro Nel Cabrera Vanegas, on behalf of the master students. When all the important thanks are finally in the air, the lights dim and the true event starts.

Movies for all tastes are shown. DIfferent techniques, from stop-motion to hand-drawn animation to 3D are used and various stories, from the fear of pregnancy to a lemon thief, are told. People laugh during the funny moments and are quiet during the sad ones. What I’m sure of is that no one slept.

Soon enough, it all comes to an end. Jürgen Haas speaks a few more words about the amazing movies just presented: Henry’s hand, Oh no!, Forza, Rea!, Summer Rain, Crevette, Fork, Kill Your Darlings, NonSense, Searching for the Fifth Direction, Sonnenhuegel, Tapir Memories and Catch The Mouse!. And finally, the students graduating are welcomed on the stage for a strongly deserved round of applause.

The official screening is over and everyone starts getting ready for an apéro before calling it a night. However, all I can think about is finding a few of the graduates to ask them somquestions. The teams behind Crevette and Summer Rain, Kirill Gromadko from Catch the Mouse! and Justine Klaiber from the master’s, all agree to take a little interview.

What does it feel like finally seeing on the big screen the movie you’ve been working on for the last year?

Elina Huber
We’ve seen it before in the Rex but the animation moves differently in this even bigger screen. It doesn’t look worse, I just notice other details. It’s really cool because it gives me a fresh perspective on the film.

Sven Bachmann
It was interesting to hear and feel the audience. Before, we had only shown it to people who already knew the film and the story. I liked seeing the reactions of the ones that had never seen it before.

Elina and Sven worked on Crevette with Jill Vágner and Noémi Knobil. Even if seeing their project in a movie theater was a big step from working on small screens or watching it projected on school grounds, what mostly stuck with them was finally seeing the audience react genuinely. Which also seemed to be the case for the Summer Rain crew:

Marlene Low
It’s crazy to be in such a huge cinema but also, I’ve seen the movie so many times that I’m a bit numb to it. However, at such a big event like the premiere, you can hear so many new reactions which is really nice.

Johanna Kern
Or not hear reactions, a lot of people were very quiet.

Marlene Low
But that’s also a reaction!
Summer Rain, telling a story about grief through a child‘s point of view, was met with a strong silence when the credits rolled. The film, created by Marlene Low, Johanna Kern and Julia Krummenacher, touched the audience so profoundly that everyone hesitated to applaud. Fortunately, after one first clap the whole room joined as the team surely deserved.

Tell us a bit more about your teamwork, what would you have done differently?

We had a super dynamic team, we all worked on everything. We had a very democratic way of deciding what we wanted to continue with. It had its benefits and its downsides, it takes a lot longer to work that way. Noémi and Elina started with the story but we could all bring our things into it. We had to have a lot of discussions and meetings, it took way more time. It’s not very industry standard.

I’m not sure what I would change, I have more things that I definitely will keep on doing: like setting clear deadlines. Certain development stuff you can continue forever and keep finding more details, it’s dangerous. While for some, teamwork relied a lot on trust and friendships, for others this wasn’t the case.

Kirill Gromadko worked alone on Catch The Mouse! so he had to approach his project differently:

Working alone allowed me to go at my own pace, I put more hours on it then I would’ve if I were in a team. It’s a movie that I’ve been wanting to do for four years so I was also kinda addicted. If I were to do it again, I would’ve had less characters. Right now, the movie has five and they’re all four-legged creatures, which I had never animated before. Working alone has its own perks such as independence and complete choice. But in a group setting, a story can change drastically, especially when you constantly get input from your teammates.

How did the movie evolve from your original view?

When I pitched the story I had a few images in my head. Looking back, if it were a solo project, it would’ve turned out so different. It doesn’t mean it would’ve been better. I had a few visuals that I think would’ve been heavier story-wise and mood-wise, being in a team really helped me find that bittersweetness that we were going for. I wouldn’t change anything about the story that we have now, it’s perfect in my eyes.

Every graduate is very proud of their movie and they’ll carry on that feeling towards the new projects they’ll contribute to. While some are continuing their studies here at Hslu or elsewhere, others are stepping directly into the industry either through an internship or a full-time job. Justine Klaiber, master graduate, will be looking for funding for her story, as she entered her master degree in the concept track and spent her studies preparing the pre-production for a short-film.

What is the movie about?

It’s the story of Amelia who is stranded in space on a space-ship. She’s completely alone and struggling with the isolation and grief of losing a colleague partner. It’s about human and physical connection, being able to touch and feel another person. We as humans need that physical connection with people that are important to us, even if it’s not a love-relationship or a sexual-relationship. That’s why I tried to keep it ambiguous.

If everything goes according to plan, we should expect Lost Touch to premiere in festivals towards the end of 2024.

Another year goes by and we can once more be satisfied and fulfilled with the amazing work done by the animation students here in HSLU – Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The premiere is a success, it’s fair to expect more reservations for the next one, especially if they keep up the apéro treatment. It’s great seeing so many animation-passionate people connecting and having fun in the same place.

Looking at all the filmmakers being created here in Lucerne, we can’t help but to look forward to the numerous original stories to come from the Swiss Animation industry.

Blogpost by Daniel Neto Dias
photos: HSLU Premiere Animationsfilme Emmenbrücke, den 28.06.2023
Copyright: HSLU/Priska Ketterer

Ani – Weihnachtsapero 2017


Ho Ho Ho

Unglaublich aber wahr – das Jahr ist schon wieder schnell vergangen. Schon wieder wurde die Ani Weihnachtsfeier. abgehalten. Nicht der Weihnachtsmann beglückt uns, nein noch besser – Jürgen höchstpersönlich. Wir werden wieder mit Würsten und Haloumi begrillt.

Leider sieht das diesjährige Buffet der Animation etwas magerer aus. Was wahrscheinlich mit dem Endspurt der Arbeiten zusammenhängt. Aber dafür hat sich der Apéroverein grosse Mühe gegeben bei der Deko! Vor allem der Ballontannenbaum ist ein Eye Catcher.

Nach Jürgens kurzer Rede – bei der es sogar kurz zu schneien anfing – hat sich Jochen noch etwas ausgedacht. Er sammelte Fotos von Mitarbeitern der HSLU, die aus geraumer Zeit entstanden sind. Diese versteckt er dann unter einem gemalten Weihnachtskostüm. Zwei gegeneinander spielende Gruppen müssen dann die Person erraten. Bei jedem falschem Mal Raten verliert die Person einen Teil des Weihnachtskostüms. Am Ende bleibt nur noch das ursprüngliche Foto.

Neben all dem Spass kommen wir nun zu einer ernsteren Angelegenheit.
Das Wichteln wurde aufgelöst! Endlich durften alle erfahren von wem sie über diese zwei Wochen geheim (oder weniger geheim) beschenkt wurden.


– Leoni Dietrich –

Die Halloween-Party 2017


Dunkle grünliche Lichter beleuchten schwach die Räume. Mysteriöse und kuriose Gestalten tummeln sich um ganz viel ungesundes Essen herum. All das speilt sich ab in den üblichen Party-Räumen, der Animationsstudenten.

Die Animation feiert wieder Halloween!

Endlich ist es wieder soweit. Nachdem die letzte Halloween-Party ausfallen musste, wurden nun endlich alte und neue Kostüme ausgepackt. Das Spuken nahm seinen Lauf. Ob als Spiegelei, als Garderobe oder als Joker, wir hatten alles zu bieten. Bei dieser vielfallt an Ideenreichtum muss natürlich ein Kostümwettbewerb her!

Eine geheime Jury hat sich ganz genau umgeschaut und entschieden wer einen Preis verdient hat. Die Jury bestand aus niemand geringerem als: Owley Samter (verkleidet als ein Charakter aus seinem Abschlussfilm Foglä 2016), Daniela Meier (unsere neue künstlerische Mitarbeiterin) und ein Alumni vom Master Patricia Wenger.

Gemeinsam haben sie sich auf die Suche gemacht nach dem schönsten oder originellsten Kostüme der HSLU. Sie wurden fündig!

Es gab verschiedene Kategorien, bei welchen jeweils immer drei Plätze zu vergeben waren: Männer, Frauen und Gruppen. Für die besonders originellen Kostüme gab es noch Honorable Mentions, wie zum Beispiel das Spiegeleikostüm von Geraldine.

Zu gewinnen gab es viele tolle Produkte, wie zum Beispiel ein Hannah Montana Rucksack!


Die Sieger des Abends


Leider musste unser Werwolf-Arzt Laura früher gehen, wegen Bauchschmerzen (zu viel Menschenfleisch genascht?!?). Aber hier habe ich vorgesorgt.


TADAAA!! ein Bild von Krankenschwester Rosi und Werwolf-Arzt Laura in voller Pracht vor ihrem grossen Sieg.

In der Kategorie Männer hat Pirmin den ersten Platz abgestaubt. Hier ein grosser Applaus an Nadja für das Make-up! Und jetzt ein Trommelwirbel für Platz Nr. 1 der Frauen. Domino Macherel! Mit ihrer kreativen und zugleich schönen Quallen-Umsetzung überzeugte sie Jury und Publikum.


Ansonsten wurde viel gelacht, getrunken, gesnackt, gedöggelt, geplauder, getanzt und Karaoke gesungen bis der Morgen graute.

–Leoni Dietrich–




Die neuen Erstklässler sind da!

Der Willkommens-Apéro für die Erstklässler

Der Empfangs-Apéro für die Erstklässler hat vor einer Woche stattgefunden. Beim Apéro geht es hauptsächlich darum, dass jede Erstlerin und jeder Erstler namentlich vorgestellt wird und dann auf die Bühne darf, um eine Patin / einen Paten zu ziehen.

Paten sind da, falls das Patenkind eine Frage hat oder seelische Unterstützung braucht. Aber jeder darf zu jedem gehen um Fragen zu stellen!

Unsere Losfee Samantha wachte über das Säckchen mit den Losen und Rosi gab jedem Erstler traditionell ein Animations-T-Shirt. Dieses Jahr war das Motiv der Abschlussfilm „Ooze (2017)“ von Kilian Vilim.


Danach gab es Essen und Getränke für alle.

Der Anlass kann dank unserem Apéro-Verein stattfinden. Der Apéro-Verein plant und organisiert alles und informiert, was wann losgeht.

Letztes Jahr musste jeder sein Lieblingsplüschtier mitbringen und dieses vorstellen. Dieses Jahr hat Andrea passend zu jedem Erstklässler ein Lied anhand des Namens und des Passfoto ausgesucht. Das wurde als Intro gespielt bevor der jeweilige Erstklässler aufgerufen wurde. Die Lieder haben natürlich immer 100%ig zu der jeweiligen Person gepasst. Merci Andrea!

Die Moderation hat niemand geringeres als Jürgen selbst übernommen. Nachdem jeder aus der ersten Klasse einmal auf dem Präsentier-Sofa gesessen ist, hat Jürgen noch liebevoll unsere Dozenten vorgestellt.


Essen Trinken und Döggele

Nachdem alle Formalitäten geklärt waren, hat das Festmahl begonnen und es wird geplaudert. Jürgen wird zum Grillmeister, Otto zum Döggeli-Champion und Thomas tratscht den neusten Gossip mit seinen Schülern.

Ab diesem Punkt verschwinde auch ich in mein vertrautes Habitat. Wer mich suchte fand mich beim Döggelikasten. Hier möchte ich noch Rhoda danken, sie sprang als Fotografin ein, während ich alles gab um meine Gegner zu vernichten.


Zu Schluss möchten wir noch sagen

Liebe Erstler: wir heissen euch ganz herzlich in unserer Familie willkommen! Freut euch auf anstrengende, lohnende und festreiche drei Jahre.


– Leoni Dietrich –

Fotos: Rhoda Berger und Leoni Dietrich