Student Academy Awards

Jun 6

Meet David Wolter

David Wolter - California Institute of the Arts - Animation Winner


From Colorado Springs, CO, David Wolter is 6’10.”  He was always expected to play basketball but that didn’t pan out.  However, all the doodling and cartooning he did during classes paid off.  At his undergrad, Augustana, David created a highly popular comic strip, “The Back Alley.”  After graduating, he worked as a caricature artist at Valley Fair in Shakopee, Minn.

California Institute of the Arts

David had a remarkable time at Cal Arts.  He could feel the passion of the students and faculty as soon as he walked through the door.  His classmates were talented and gave him the most cultured and robust feedback system a filmmaker could hope for.  The most crucial thing David learned was the importance of balance— a ninety hour work week may not mean greater quality of work than a forty or fifty hour week.  The other important lesson was to trust his voice.  Out of the several ideas he pitched, “Eyrie” was actually everyone’s least favorite.  But David’s gut told him it was the right choice and he went with it.


"Eyrie" is a story of a young shepherd trying to defend his flock from an eagle.  The three elements that drew David to this story were his fascination with human-to-animal transformation, the fact that the film had a sense of place (in this case, the Old West), and that he could leave the audience having felt something.  It took many months to animate the film and after it was screened, David got offered a job at Dreamworks immediately. 

What’s Next?

David is currently knee deep into research for his next short film.  He is also happily employed at Dreamworks Animation as a Story Artist.

Check out David’s blog and website.

Watch a clip of “Eyrie.”

Or if you’d like to be in for a treat, watch all of “Eyrie.”