Branchett Sun is an artist vying for a coveted spot on one of the world’s leading animation courses and she’s brimming with determination and a work ethic to match her creative ability
Described by an industry expert as the ‘Harvard of Animation’, Sheridan College in Canada is highly competitive. For Branchett Sun, whose hero is Walt Disney and whose dream is to direct film at the likes of Disney and Pixar, she’s undeterred by the odds of getting in.
There are 6,000 applicants for only 200 places and between 10 and 20 open to international students like Branchett. The application process is intense with a portfolio split into eight sections including storyboarding, 2D and 3D animation among other skills which Branchett has been working on in her own time.
Branchett visited Sheridan College aged just 10 as part of a touring production of Oliver Twist. She remembers staying in one of the dormitories and being wowed by an art wall on which students doodled. She recalls: “I spent hours staring at it hoping that one day my signature would be on there.” She also recalls everyone being so friendly which left a positive mark.
Branchett is prepared to apply more than once if her first attempt is unsuccessful. She knows of a teacher in Canada who applied five times before being accepted, so she’s pragmatic about the process. Supportive teachers at Edgbaston High School for Girls (EHS), where she has studied since 2018, have helped Branchett to balance her A-Level studies with working on her portfolio enabling success in both.
While Branchett enjoys working with traditional materials including oil painting as part of her A-Level course, her passion lies outside of that as she creates manga style characters and storyboards. Luckily EHS has the technology and facilities to allow Branchett to use industry standard software like After Effects and Procreate for her portfolio work.
As if that wasn’t enough, Branchett also has an Etsy shop selling her creations. She says: “I’ve always loved Disney and like to redraw characters in my own style. I amassed a lot of followers on social media and decided to open an Etsy shop where I can sell my work.” Branchett also had a stand at Comic Con this year selling her wares to attendees.
As well as Branchett’s artistic talent, she has a couple of impressive musical strings to her bow that can only enhance her ability as a film maker. She plays piano to Grade 7 and sings in the CBSO Birmingham City Youth Chorus and says most directors would play at least one instrument.
Often when interviewing youngsters for our Young, Gifted and Brummie series we hope that with hard work and a bit of luck, they’ll go on to achieve their dreams, but we’re not sure Branchett needs our luck. She’s as steely as she is talented and we’ve no doubt she’ll be credited with directing many brilliant films in the future.