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Waterloo, Ont. student gets recognition at international film festivals

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A Grade 12 student from Waterloo Collegiate Institute is getting international recognition for a 3D animated film she created.

Karina Loerchner, 17, is the mastermind behind the masterpiece, which saw her class project reach new heights.

“It took me an entire semester to do. Around 900 hours. So that was an average of eight hours per day and I was often up until like five in the morning,” said Loerchner.

"Nix’s Symphony" is an animation about Nix – an aspiring musician and inventor who is burdened with the sudden responsibility of upholding her mother’s legacy as a distinguished inventor and composer. 

Still from the 3D animated film "Nix’s Symphony" by Waterloo, Ont. high school student Karina Loerchner. (Source: YouTube)

“I wanted to do something that reflected my struggles as a music composer. I wanted to create a character that kind of reflected myself in a way,” said Loerchner.

Her journey with music started when she was three years old. She sang with the Grand Philharmonic Choir and often performed with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, which inspired the idea of Nix being involved in music.

Despite her experience, Loerchner still finds it difficult to compose music, which is reflected in Nix too.

In the six-minute film, everything you see and hear is created by Loerchner – the script, the music and the characters.

The end result even took her tech teacher at WCI, Kyle Bishop, by surprise.

“Karine in some ways is more akin to a collaborator where we’re talking almost as peers about the project,” said Bishop. “It was jaw-dropping. It’s actually emotionally moving too … it really does manage to tell a moving story about familial dynamics and about cultivating your sense of self and doing all of this in a way that doesn’t use any written or spoken language.”

Still from the 3D animated film "Nix’s Symphony" by Waterloo, Ont. high school student Karina Loerchner. (Source: YouTube)

Film festivals from around the world seem to agree. Since creating the film last semester, it has been showcased and recognized in front of top talent at the Berlin International Film Festival and Cannes Art Fest. In total, it has received 60 awards and nominations spanning 14 countries.

“When this film was getting actual recognition, I was kind of surprised because this is me we’re talking about. Things like this don’t happen to me,” said Loerchner.

It seems like that is starting to change. In the fall, she will be attending the Vancouver Film School for its 3D animation and visual effects program.

As for what’s next, she’s leaving the door open, but says she has no plans on being just another name in a long list of credits.

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