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13 Villa Animation Students, 3 Villa Instructors Collaborate with 200 Others on ‘Shrek Retold’

By December 12, 2018October 18th, 2019Animation

Everybody’s favorite green orge hit the big screen for the first time in 2001. Since then, Dreamworks’ Shrek franchise has released four full-length feature films, several television specials, video games, theme park attractions, and even a Broadway musical. In total, the franchise has earned a record-setting $1.6 Billion in consumer home entertainment spending (

Most recently, the beloved cartoon was re-made through a crowdsourced project that has been received 1.6 million view on YouTube and counting. The 90-minute remake was led by 3GI‘s Grant Duffrin and called for 200 animators to collaborate and match the original film shot-for-shot. Among those 200 animators were three members of Villa’s faculty:

  • Valery Amborski, instructor of animation
  • Sarah Hanson, associate professor of animation
  • Lee Terwilliger, instructor of animation

And 13 of Villa’s animation students:

  • Owen Doud,’19
  • Emily Lawton, ’19
  • Kali Croisdale, ’19
  • Andrew Sendker, ’19
  • Eli Kelley, ’21
  • Ashley Yon-Hudson, ’18
  • James Adams, ’19
  • Amanda Dala, ’21
  • Evaline Kroh, ’21
  • Olivia Venezia, ’19
  • Cameron Morelli-Knisley, ’20
  • Colin Clayton, ’20
  • Crystal Watts, ’21

A screenshot of one of Terwilliger’s contributions to Shrek Retold

Terwilliger, who also graduated from Villa’s animation program in 2014, introduced some of his students to this project after Duffrin contacted him and asked if he’d be interested in joining the team. “Grant, who put this whole thing together, saw my name in the credits for The Mama Luigi Project, which reanimated one of the most famous episodes of the Super Mario World TV series: Mama Luigi,” said Terwilliger. “He told me he was trying to remake the entire Shrek film front to back, and asked if I’d be interested in helping. I told him he hit the jackpot because I was an animation instructor at a college in Buffalo, and I had a ton of students who would also love to help.”

One of those students was senior animation major Emily Lawton. “Lee thought I would be a good fit for the project,” she said. “I thought it would be fun to do this, and was excited he wanted students to participate. He had a whole load of scenes [that needed to be animated], and he distributed them among all the Villa students working on the project with him.”

In total, the team from Villa completed 36 shots from the film. “I did 10 shots, Valery Amborski did 4 and Sarah Hanson did 1,” Terwilliger said. “Owen and Emily did 3, Kali and Andrew did 2, and then Eli, Ashley, James, Amanda, Evaline, Olivia, Cameron, Colin, and Crystal Watts all did 1.”

A screenshot of Owen Doud’s contribution to Shrek Retold

After all the shots from every participating animator were complete, Terwilliger pieced them all together, and sent the video over to Duffrin for the final cut. “Everyone really did a lot of cool and different work for this project, and it came together nicely,” said Terwilliger. “To see it at 1.2 million views and rising is amazing, especially for the Villa students. They’re all really excited to have been able to be a part of it.”

In addition to getting her involved to begin with, Lawton says that having Terwilliger as her instructor of animation helped her contribute her best work to the project.  “I came to the College a bunch during the summer,” she said. Lee was there most of the time so he was able to look over my work and give good critiques on how I can make it better. He really showed me how to make the scenes look cohesive.”

In addition to being a unique creative experience, Owen Doud, another senior animation major who contributed to the remake, recognized that this project was also an excellent learning experience. “I learned a lot about how to actually animate in a timely manner, also how to communicate better with others to help the other students contributing. Lee helped me decide on what exactly to do for my scene, as the creative decisions were entirely my own, I had quite a bit of room to branch out.” All together, Doud completed three different shots in two different scenes for the project, all of which were animated in Photoshop under Terwilliger’s guidance.

Lawton agrees.

A screenshot of Emily Lawton’s contribution to Shrek Retold

“Even though I worked on this project for weeks on end during the summer, the whole experience was extremely fun,” she said. “It was my first re-animated project and to be honest, I’m kind of hooked on doing more now.” As for the final product? I’m shocked.  Never for the life of me did I expect this to blow up online like it did. It’s more-so funny to see all these types of creators come together and remake something as random as the first Shrek film. But oddly enough, it’s kind of endearing.”

“I just really think any film, music or animation student should definitely take opportunities like this,” she said. “It might sound weird like, ‘Why would I ever do something silly as remaking Shrek?’ but it was such a fun experience to do and really could broaden the type of work you could do. It’s a great story to tell potential companies and bosses about — “Oh! Did I tell you about the time where I drew Lord Farquaad as George Costanza from Seinfeld?” That, I can’t wait to tell people.”

Since it launched, Shrek Retold has been featured on Mashable, Wired.Co, Cartoon Brew, Daily Dot, and more.

To see the entire 90-minute reboot on YouTube, click here.


A screenshot of Kali Croisdale’s contribution to Shrek Retold

A screenshot of Andrew Sendeker’s contribution to Shrek Retold

Lee Terwilliger served as a producer for Shrek Retold