Waubonsie Grad Nominated for an Oscar

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“My eyes shot open and I burst out of bed and I was like ‘what? Oh my gosh,’” said Andrew Chesworth, the head of development for animation studio Taiko Studios.

Waubonsie Valley grad Andrew Chesworth was certainly surprised hearing his animated short film was nominated for an Academy Award.

“So I grew up at Waubonsie within a very international and very Asian community of friends,” said Chesworth. “And growing up with Asian-American classmates, and spending a lot of time at their homes and around their families, that informed a lot of the perspective I had with the character of Luna in ‘One Small Step,’ who grows up in a Chinese-American household in the United States.”

Throughout the seven-minute film, Luna pursues her dream of being an astronaut. It was a metaphor for Chesworth’s career. After graduating from Waubonsie in 2003, he animated for Disney and now for Taiko Studios.

“The story is a love letter to people who chase that impossible dream, and don’t give up on it. As well as the people who support them along the way through love and generosity,” explained Chesworth.

He drew on those experiences in his own life and those of his high school friends, when co-directing and writing “One Small Step.”

“And I think because the family being represented in the story is Chinese-American, it’s celebrating an identity that’s not often shown in an animated film,” he added. “And I think it’s really important for people to see themselves on the screen in a way that isn’t normally done.”

The full trailer for “One Small Step” can be viewed on Taiko Studio’s website, and on March 24, the full film can be viewed there as well.

You can see if “One Small Step” takes home a win at the Academy Awards on February 24 on ABC.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.