Castillo wins Gold Pixie Award for animated short

Jeanette Castillo with Pixie Award
Dr. Jeanette Castillo with 2013 Gold Pixie Award

Dr. Jeanette Castillo, assistant professor at the School of Communication, has won a 2013 Gold Pixie Award for her short video, “The Performance of Drowning,” from the American Pixel Academy.  Only 151 of 1,150 submissions from film, video, television and the Internet took the gold.

The American Pixel Academy is a coalition of professionals and educators in the field of motion graphics, effects and animation (i.e. pixel media) who are working to mentor and to provide real-world experiences for students.

Jeanette Castillo- Pixie Award
Dr. Jeanette Castillo's 2013 Gold Pixie Award

Castillo directed, animated, and created the soundtrack for “The Performance of Drowning,” a multiple award-winning, animated short story based on author and performance artist Terry Galloway’s memoir, “Mean Little Deaf Queer.” Written and narrated by Galloway, the video tells the story of how at 10 years old she was diagnosed with deafness caused by a medication her mother received while pregnant.  You can view this animated short at:

The animation depicts a summer when young Galloway was sent to the Texas Lion’s Camp for Crippled Children. As she struggles to deal with her disability as well as her newly acquired hearing aids and glasses, she finds solace in taking swimming lessons.  But when Galloway’s deafness causes her to miss a starting signal and lose the big race, she is overcome by despair and “drowns.”  In her faux drowning, however, she discovers the thrill of performance and the excitement of being rescued by the swimming instructor.

Castillo created the short with only a pencil and paper, a scanner, Adobe Photoshop, After Effects and Final Cut Pro.  It is almost ten minutes (9:41) long, sized with 16:9 widescreen dimensions and made in high dimension television format.  It has been screened at festivals throughout the world and it won an Award of Excellence at the 2012 Canada International Film Festival.  Castillo won a Faculty Award of Excellence for it at the 2012 annual conference of the Broadcast Education Association.

Performance of Drowning Video Image
"Performance of Drowning" Title Screen Shot

“The Performance of Drowning” is scheduled to appear within “Rewired,” a feature-length documentary about Galloway, who was profoundly deaf for 50 years before undergoing cochlear implant surgery in June 2010.  Produced by Castillo, Diane Wilkins Productions and Galloway’s long-time collaborator and partner, School of Communication Professor Donna Marie Nudd, “Rewired,” documents the transformation that occurs as Galloway learns to hear again.  It also explores her extraordinary life as a performance artist and an activist on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and disability communities.  “Rewired” is currently in post-production and will be released next year.