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Sebastian's Voodoo: A Film by Joaquin Baldwin
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As far as my future in filmmaking, in the short run I want to direct multi-animated features, but I would also like to get into live action or visual effects films. And actually I’m already working on a treatment for a feature that several studios are interested in.
- Joaquin Baldwin
Joaquin Baldwin, the 26-year-old UCLA student and Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholar, had just returned to Los Angeles from speaking at the San Diego Latino Film Festival. He logged onto his computer where he creates the animation he has gained some degree of fame for. “I’m on line 24-7. That’s where I work, that’s where I live.” And fresh from the San Diego engagement, Joaquin continued his tedious, but ingenious labor of love on the aforementioned treatment for the features that the Hollywood studios contacted him about.
But Joaquin is also a Master of Fine Arts candidate working on his thesis. He hopes to complete his course work within two years, but in the meantime, he spends most waking hours developing animated shorts, helping aspiring filmmakers with advice, and, to his surprise, answering fan mail from around the world. The notes of praise come to the Paraguayan native mainly because of an animated short he created at the UCLA Animation Workshop called “Sebastian’s Voodoo” that, at last count, has received 46 awards and honors in the cinematography world. “I do my best to reply to everyone,” he said. “It’s flattering to have a fan base.”
When asked if it was his goal to work with George Lucas or Steven Spielberg, he replied: “Oh yes, definitely, but I’d rather be them than work for them, that’s for sure. But working for them might be a stepping stone.” The first stepping stone was in Asuncion, Paraguay, where after high school he became a very talented graphic designer with a strong client base. Realizing he wanted more, he enrolled in college at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio where two things quickly happened. He experienced the culture shock of living in middle-America compared to his home in South America, and he realized that graphic design was not what he wanted to study. “I liked the art of it, but the business side was vicious,” he said. Joaquin decided instead to learn animation. He graduated summa cum laude from the Ohio college, received the Cooke Graduate Scholarship, and moved to southern California.
That move was another culture shock, he said, but now “Los Angeles feels like home, even more so than Paraguay.” He then thought for a moment and said, “I hope my parents back home aren’t upset by that.” Probably not, as their son is well on his way to making his mark in the competitive word of filmmaking.