18th January 2011, 8:55am
Winning student animation helps commuters beat the blues
Amy Thornley An animated film in which "space invaders" attack a spreadsheet is cheering up commuters at Tube stations during what is said to be the gloomiest week of the year.

Interactive design student Amy Thornley is helping to make travellers smile at various London Underground stations with her film “Spreadsheet Invasion”.

It is part of “Smile for London”, an independent initiative bringing film, art and animation to platforms to brighten up journeys all this week, which began yesterday, “blue Monday”. Films are being displayed on digital platform screens across 10 stations on weekday mornings and evenings during the rush hour commute.

Amy, 22, from Nottingham, is in her final year at the University of Lincoln. Her animation fought off competition from hundreds of other entries and is being shown alongside the work of established and famous film-makers and artists. The brief was to produce something 20 seconds long that would make people smile.

Amy said: “I found out about Smile for London from Sy Crampton who graduated from our course last year who is now working in industry. He came to give us a talk and mentioned the project.

"I only discovered I'd won at the launch last week at the Museum of London. I thought I was just among the top 50 and that it was odd my name was at the top of the guest list when I arrived at the event. I was flabbergasted to win as there were so many great entries.

"It's amazing that thousands of members of the public will see my animation. Design competitions are great, but only designers really see the winning projects. I'm really excited that this can be seen by anyone.

"Because Smile for London was to launch on 'Blue Monday', I tried to think about what might make people depressed. I thought about office workers who may be bored and what they may be thinking about on their way to work.

"Also, with it being January, people may be worried about money after Christmas. I wanted to animate in the actual programme and played about with Tetris, but space invaders worked best."

The screenings via CBS Outdoor projectors on Tube platforms will be shown at the following London Underground stations:  Camden Town, Euston, Holborn, Liverpool Street, Moorgate, Oxford Circus, Paddington, Piccadilly Circus, Victoria and Waterloo.

See Amy's film here: http://vimeo.com/16845078
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