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Out of the Blue

Underwater Magic 


Young axolotl gazing up at the surface of a water-filled sinkhole.

“Water tends to misbehave,” says Samantha J. Barroso (BFA ’22), director of senior capstone animation project Cenote—a film filled with water, a challenging medium for animators.

“There’s a different feel [underwater],” adds effects lead Jason W. Williams (BS ’22). “Almost like it’s a foggy day.”

Set deep in the Yucatan Peninsula, the film features a young axolotl who, stranded by ancient magic in a flooded sinkhole, needs a human’s help to return home.

Cenote ultimately won best animation at the 42nd College Television Awards. “I prayed so much for this project,” Barroso reflects. “And it’s brought me a lot of joy.” 

Watch the film: