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Bryn Wright, of Carlsbad,
Bryn Wright, an 11-year-old fifth grader at El Camino Creek Elementary School in Carlsbad, has won numerous awards for her short Claymation movie, “Bad Bugs.” Courtesy photo
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Carlsbad elementary student wins awards for ‘Bad Bugs’ short film

CARLSBAD — A budding 11-year-old filmmaker is already making her mark as a director.

Bryn Wright, a fifth-grader at El Camino Creek Elementary School, is racking up the awards for her movie, “Bad Bugs.” After winning the top prize at the Ivie Awards in San Diego and “Best Children-Made Animation” at the EPIC ACG Fest in 2021, Bryn’s film took first prize in this year’s 11th annual One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest in the elementary categories.

Last year, the film also won the “mini” category (under 10 years) at the Enimation Festival in Slovenia and won “Best Ecology Film” at the Tbilisi Sunrise International Youth Film Festival in Tbilisi, Georgia. Bryn’s movie has aired in Wales, Turkey and Greece, according to her mother, Stacey Wright.

The two-minute film is funny, yet simple, and explains how “bad bugs” can destroy gardens and plants, such as hornworms (hawk moth caterpillars), venomous black widows and root-eating grubs. According to the film, “good bugs” (including birds) are a better solution than pesticides and can be used as allies to protect a home garden. For example, ladybugs eat hornworms and their eggs, lizards snack on spiders and crows devour grubs.

“When you win an award, it feels pretty great,” Bryn said. “The main cast of characters (the bad bugs) … all three of them had been in our backyard before. And the solutions … we pretty much the solutions we used.”

The project came out last spring when Bryn was just 10 years old after the pandemic opened up a number of virtual film contests. So, the Carlsbad student gave it a shot and has been collecting awards ever since.

Clay characters from Bryn Wright's short stop-motion clay animation film, "Bad Bugs."
Clay characters from Bryn Wright’s short stop-motion clay animation film, “Bad Bugs.” Photo courtesy of Stacey Wright
Carlsbad's Bryn Wright filming "Bad Bugs." Photo courtesy of Stacey Wright
Carlsbad’s Bryn Wright filming “Bad Bugs.” Photo courtesy of Stacey Wright

Bryn’s passion for filmmaking began years ago after falling in love with the medium’s creativity and messaging opportunities, especially stop-motion clay animation, or Claymation, which has opened another creative path for the youngster.

Stop-motion animation is a difficult and tedious process and is comprised of a collection of shots where each character moves just slightly in each frame. Bryn filmed the entire project on her iPad, which took approximately three months to write, shoot and edit.

“I first started out making clay characters and then I figured out there’s a type of animation called stop motion,” Bryn said of her introduction to movie making. “I wanted to make my own film and make a short film. Something educational and something funny.”

Bryn said the secret to good filmmaking is to be creative and have a message. She used her own backyard and experiences with the aforementioned “bad bugs” as inspiration for her movie.

Also has a website dedicated to her animation she calls “Brynventions,” which showcases her Claymation characters from her movie and showcases her skills as she works toward a career in animation.

Wright’s movie premiered on March 12 as part of the One Earth Film Festival. For winning, she received $100 with a matching grant she donated to Beyond Pesticides.

“The contest is really targeting youth to get them engaged in the conversation of climate change,” said Lisa Biehle Files, the contest director for One Earth. “I think Bryn’s submission was probably the best elementary submission we’ve ever had. Her film really is just delightful. There are so many things that make it special.”

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