Jennifer Zheng’s animation, Tough, premieres online for the first time 

26 June 2017

It’s Nice That 2016 Graduate Jennifer Zheng has had her film Tough premiered in full for the first time online on Cartoon Brew – the New York-based platform sharing animation news from the all over the world. Jennifer’s film is being shown as part of Cartoon Brew’s CB Fest, which was launched by the platform in January this year as a programming initiative that “turns the spotlight on animated shorts from around the globe”. 

Tough is about the cultural misunderstandings between a Chinese mother and her British-born daughter, and Jennifer drew upon her own experiences to create the film. Last summer she was in the throes of prepping the film for upcoming festivals, meaning it couldn’t be shown online until now. “The CB Fest seemed like the perfect way to launch the film,” says Jennifer. “It’s a great way to build up your own reputation and be premiered online with a bunch of other awesome shorts!” 

The other animators being featured as part of the CB Fest include: Daan Velsink and Joost Lieuwma, Matt Reynolds, Maël Gourmelen, Mehdi Alibeygi, Lori Malépart-Traversy, Greg Sharp and Jeron Braxton. The first season of CB Fest is running for eight weeks throughout June and July and will debut eight shorts from seven different countries. The initial group of films has been curated with “a focus on young voices from around the globe”. Cartoon Brew explains: “Filmmakers who are unafraid to explore animation’s unique thematic and aesthetic possibilities, and whose work excites and entertains us.” 

This past year Jennifer has been working at London animation studio Moth, working as a designer and animator, where she’s “learned so much from everyone” and feels like “one big studio family now”. Earlier this year, Tough was nominated for a Bafta as part of the British Short Animation category and Jennifer was thrilled to be a part of it: “I took my mum to the ceremony and it was really really nice to be able to share that moment with her,” she says. 

The animator also took Tough to Sundance after sending it “on a whim” and enjoyed seeing her film in a proper theatre with a live audience. “The best parts of festivals are meeting other filmmakers and making new friends across the world,” she says. “It is really cool to be able to meet animators you’ve admired on the internet in person and hang out!” 

Tough is now available to view online in full and for the full programme of animations part of the CB Fest, click here.


Jennifer Zheng: Tough (still)


Jennifer Zheng: Tough (still)

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About the Author

Rebecca Fulleylove

Rebecca Fulleylove is a freelance writer and editor specialising in art, design and culture. She is also senior writer at Creative Review, having previously worked at Elephant, Google Arts & Culture, and It’s Nice That.

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