Cape Town-based film production and animation studio, Sunrise Productions, has awarded the first Sunrise Animation School Bursary to The Animation School student, Tyler Solomon.The bursary offers a full scholarship to one student for one year of study. Thanks to this bursary, Solomon is able to complete the third and final year of his animation studies this year. Solomon, who is currently working on a short film with seven other class mates, says he is “extremely grateful” for the opportunity afforded to him. “I also feel extremely honoured and proud to be the very first recipient of this bursary and I hope that I can make them, my school, the future recipients of the same bursary, the industry, and myself proud, by completing my short film and making it as great a success as it can be,” Solomon says. Asked what inspired him to study in this field, Solomon, recalls he was “fascinated” with anime (Japanese animation) from a very young age. “As a child, I loved watching anime that aired on TV back when I was in primary school. I had always loved those shows and characters and I loved drawing them, however, it was not until my final year of high school that I knew that creating these shows and characters was a legitimate occupation so I dropped all plans of becoming a fine artist or architect and decided on animation.” Solomon says his dream is to evoke emotions from his audience, in the same way anime, films and cartoons did for him when he was younger. “I want to make the audience feel something, be that sorrow, joy, astonishment or even anger. Because that is what great art does and in creating great art, one becomes a great artist,” he says. During the April holidays Solomon was also able to work on an episode of their animated series Jungle Beat “which was in itself, albeit quite intimidating, an amazing experience,” he says. Talking about challenges of the area he grew up in, Solomon says he knew it would not be an easy task to pursue his tertiary education. “Coming from Lotus River attempting to complete my studies at The Animation School has definitely been a challenge. We knew from the get go that we weren’t going to be able to pay the tuition fees by ourselves, so we had to resort to a student loan – which worked out at first but my parents have to pay the interest while I was studying which increased for every year that I studied. It was this fact that threatened the completion of my studies. I applied to the National Film and Video Foundation for a bursary every year, but would get denied every time,” he says. The bursary also offers Tyler an internship position at the company during his holidays.Nuno Martins, principal of The Animation School says they welcome the “valuable initiative” by Sunrise Productions when offering Solomons the bursary.“Opportunities of this kind are clearly in line with the transformation goals of South Africa and we hope this inspires more employers to take action and support the next generation with education opportunities,” Martins says.