Composer Jack Wall and Oscar-nominated animator Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams head to Iowa City for EPXCon


Art Building West — Saturday, April 8 at 9 a.m.

Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams, chief animator on films such as ‘Jurassic Park,’ will be speaking at EPX Con on Saturday. — still from ‘Jurassic Park

A University of Iowa student group devoted to the creation of interactive, interdisciplinary media will bring the sixth annual installment of EPXCon to campus this Saturday, April 8. EPXCon is a conference geared towards animation and video game buffs. Registration begins at 9 a.m., with the conference going until 5 p.m., at the UI Art Building West (141 N Riverside Dr.). EPXCon is free for students and the public.

Animation — and the principles behind it — goes beyond video games or cartoons. EPXCon encompasses the many processes and productions of the industry. Expanding their focus beyond animators, the student-led EPX Studio brought in a composer, an entrepreneurial tag team, a software research and development lead and others. Credits for the speakers range from Powerpuff Girls (artist Frederick Gardner) to Call of Duty: Black Ops (composer Jack Wall) to The Mask (Oscar-nominated animator Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams) as well as entertainment giants Konami, Lucas Films, Blizzard Entertainment and SONY Pictures. The full schedule is available on their website.

In keeping true to their commitment to the community of creators in the Iowa City area, EPXCon is bringing local tabletop game designer and co-owner of Fallen Dominion Studios, Jon Lonngren. He was born in town and attended the University of Iowa for undergraduate studies. For just over a decade, Lonngren has managed at Fallen Dominion, helping to concoct their latest brainchild Fallen Land: A Post-Apocalyptic Board Game — due to release this spring.

EPXCon’s “Interactive Play Lounge” will host a space for local artists and developers to share their original creations throughout the day. Continental breakfast and lunch are also provided during the conference.

EPX Studio began as Animation and Interaction at the University of Iowa. They held their first convention in the spring of 2012, converted to the now-standing moniker. Since their inception, EPX Studio has evolved as a group of technologically inclined students and community members alongside contemporary digital media — a time in which screens can be a placeholder for all aesthetics, and stands at the forefront of entertainment innovation.

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