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Hinsdale fourth-grader wins second, third places at Westmont Film Festival

HINSDALE — Ten-year-old John Tischke of Hinsdale battled through a week of pneumonia and dehydration to create a claymation for a contest at the Westmont Film Festival last month.

Despite winning third place for his animated film and second place for contributing to another film as part of a group project, John still was his own toughest critic. He went up against about 20 entries ranging in age from elementary through college.

“I was really happy, but sort of disappointed I didn’t win first,” the Madison School fourth-grader said.

John has been making films since first grade and drawing since the age of 2. His love of drawing and animation led him to taking classes at the Zephyr Academy of Art in Clarendon Hills for the past two years.

“He started picking up the concepts of perspective and shadowing at what I thought was a really early age,” said his father, Jim. “He just kind of ran with it since then.”

The claymation John entered featured a “war” between Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny to see who was best. Titled “Rivalry,” the film depicts a series of comical pranks and deceptions the two holiday characters pull on each other to ultimately claim the top spot in the holiday food chain.

It took him about a month to finish the two-minute movie after some trial and error with initial plans.

“At first I was just sculpting things because I couldn’t get an idea,” John said. “Then I ended up sculpting Santa, and it started from there.”

John also is entering the Doodle 4 Google drawing contest this month, where participants are asked to turn the Google logo into an artistic creation. He showed off his original sketches, pointing out minor details that bothered him about each one.

“I had some other entries that I was going to do, but they weren’t nearly as good,” he said.

John eventually created a drawing he was most proud of that depicts the Google logo as an amusement park, complete with cotton candy and a roller coaster.

In regards to making more films, John isn’t slowing down and hopes to possibly enter more contests in the future.

“If there are some coming up (film festivals), I’m planning on making a video that I’m still working on, but it’s going to be based off ‘The Jetsons,’” he said.

John’s sketch of Jane Jetson looked like the preliminary drawing of a professional animator’s.

“We’re incredibly proud of him,” Jim said. “He oozes creativity, and he’s very goal-orientated, so it’s just a great combination to have for such a young kid.”

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