Aug. 6—An Aiken native recently took home a national award for his animated short film.
Jarred Lee received a bronze Telly Award for his student film "Dinolords." The Telly Awards recognize work created for television and videos for all screens in many categories.
Lee's award was part of the Non-Broadcast General-Student category for his student film based on comic book characters he is creating.
"The title is called 'Dinolords'; and what it is about. It's supposed to be an intro to what the characters are going to be about," Lee said. "So it's supposed to show an atmosphere of tension, suspension, an action film, basically a superhero kind of genre. It's a short film to be accurate; it's a short film about the characters. These characters I thought of are part of an upcoming comic book franchise I'm thinking of."
Lee has had a passion for visual arts from a young age. From grade school through middle school he participated in the Aiken County Gateway arts program every summer.
He attended Midland Valley High School for two years before auditioning for the South Carolina Governor's School of Arts and Humanities in Greenville.
"In the visual arts department, we managed to do different kinds of art classes, such as animation, graphic design, sculpture, life drawing; but I'm really focusing on animation," he said.
As for how he got into animation, Lee said he has wanted to be an artist since he was little and has always wanted to make movies. He went on to attend Daemen University in Amherst, New York, where he graduated from in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in animation.
He made the film "Dinolords" as his final film for his degree. After finding out he won, Lee said he was excited.
"I was surprised. I was in shock," Lee said.
Lee said he just entered "Dinolords" in the New York Animation Film Awards. However, that event isn't until next summer, so he won't know if he won anything for a while.
Lee, who currently lives in Aiken, was diagnosed with autism and is part of the high-functioning end of the spectrum, and said a diagnosis does not have to be a limitation for a person.
When he's not making a film, he also likes to draw and keep working on his skills. He has plans to work on another original story.
His film "Dinolords" can be viewed on YouTube.