Any endeavor that celebrates history and makes it accessible to the masses should be recognized and celebrated. And so it is with a recent animation project exploring Native Americans created by a talented young artist named Andres Lerma at Exceptional Minds outside of Los Angeles.
Exceptional Minds is a vocational school and working studio that provides young adults on the autism spectrum practical training for careers in digital animation and visual effects. Lerma, a bilingual student on the spectrum, is studying animation there.
Lerma created a six-minute animated story exploring Native American history. In the short, Lerma’s animated alter-ego, Toon Andres, travels back in time, goes on a buffalo hunt with some Native Americans and joins them in celebration afterwards. The animated video was released to coincide with California’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration.
Lerma created the video in three weeks, handling all aspects of production, including the score. His project was overseen by Tawd b. Dorenfeld, an instructor and producer at Exceptional Minds. Dorenfeld, an accomplished independent filmmaker and writer, said, “Andres and everybody here are such great kids. They are so inspired as artists, and they inspire me as well.”
Dorenfeld has introduced history into Lerma’s curriculum. His short on Native Americans is the first topic that takes on a historical theme. We look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.