Art Program Director – Eurasia
Jazno Francoeur is the Art Program Director for both DigiPen Singapore and DigiPen Europe-Bilbao, where he oversees the animation programs for both campuses.
Francoeur's career began in 1990, when he interned at the Walt Disney Feature Animation studio in Orlando, Florida. Upon graduating from Kansas City Art Institute in 1992, he began working at the Disney studios in Los Angeles, California. During that time, Francoeur worked on a number of films, including Lilo & Stitch, Tarzan, Mulan, Pocahontas, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Emperor's New Groove, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Brother Bear, John Henry, and Roger Rabbit's "Trail Mix-Up", as well as the Aladdin video game for Sega Genesis and numerous other shorts, park projects, and commercials.
In 2004, Francoeur became an animation instructor at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington. After transferring to DigiPen's branch campus in Singapore in 2008, he was invited to a seven-month effects course at Lucasfilm Animation.
In addition to his career as an animator and educator, Francoeur is a performing musician, a published poet, and an exhibiting photographer (www.jazno.net).
Music and Sound Director
Jorge Fernandez began his studies at the Universidad de Bellas Artes de La Plata, where he studied musical composition while performing with many diverse musical groups. His main focus was piano, and in 1978 he created the group "Busqueda" (with Tomy Loidi, Daniel Carrizo, Alfredo Muñoz, and Adrian Mercado), which went on to record original music with CBS Buenos Aires.
In 1984, Fernandez relocated to Marbella, Spain, where he began collaborating with such artists as Shirley Bassey, Elkin Martin, Bertin Osborne, and Starlight Orchestra. In 1988, Fernandez moved to England, where he produced original music for "Not Normal" with Adam Baker while also producing and creating many styles of contemporary music. In the 1990s, Fernandez worked a great deal on the Costa del Sol with many prominent artists, including George Duke, Kooly & the Gang, and Illusion.
Currently, Fernandez is part of the duo Visage, which entertains in many hotels and clubs along the Costa del Sol. His main focus and passion this year is the preparation of new original material. Since 2007, Fernandez has been peforming at the famous Hotel Puente Romano.
Javier Martín studied Fine Arts and Architecture in Spain. For 18 years, he has worked in the 2D animation industry in five European countries (Spain, Germany, Denmark, the United kingdom, and France) specializing as feature film animator. Martín served as Animation Director on El Cid, as well as an Animator on Asterix and the Vikings and The Illusionist. Currently, Martín teaches Life Drawing, Human Anatomy and 2D Animation at DigiPen Bilbao.
After receiving a BS in Computer Science and working as software developer for several years, Sergio Martínez graduated in Fine Arts at the University of the Basque Country and completed his animation studies at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK.
He has a broad experience as a cartoonist and portrait artist, and for many years he has worked teaching drawing and painting in a fine arts academy in Bilbao. Sergio is specialized in Audio-visuals and Multimedia productions, Flash and Stop Motion animations.
His personal work has been exhibited and screened in several festivals and exhibitions winning some awards, especially in idents competitions. In the UK he collaborated in the stop motion animation 'Gulp' by Aardman Studios, which entered in the Guinness Book of Records as "The World's Largest Animation". Back in Spain he worked on television in the Department of Motion Graphics at EiTB, Euskal Irrati Telebista and created some puppet animations for advertising.
Mikel Rueda received his bachelor's in audiovisual communication studies from the UN University in 2002 and his master's in filmmaking at the New York Film Academy in 2007.
Mikel has written and directed two feature films: Izarren argia (Estrellas que alcanzar), which was a finalist in the New Directors category at the San Sebastien International Film Festival in 2010, and A Escondidas, which received support from both the Ministry of Culture's Screenplay Development and Project Development programs, as well as the European Commission's MEDIA program. He is currently writing his third feature, El año que calló el muro.
Mikel has worked as a scriptwriter and director on a number of award-winning short films, including El Carrito, In the Laundry, Present Perfect, Cuando Corres, and Agua. He has also worked as an editor and scriptwriter for RNE, TVE, and EITB, where he served as the producer of "Vaya Semanita," one of the most successful shows on Basque television.
Gorka Unanue Lasala received his BS in Computer Science from University of Deusto, Bilbao, where he worked as a teaching assistant of Photoshop and 3D Studio for two years. He then went on to receive a master's degree in video game creation in Barcelona, where his team won the Artfutura 2009 Prize for Best Game.
Unanue has worked in as a 3D modeler at Ubisoft Barcelona, where he helped create Wii and PC games, as well as at a number of serious game companies in the Basque Country. He currently serves as an art instructor at DigiPen Bilbao, where he introduces students into the 3D art world and helps them build a solid foundation in the fine arts.
In addition to his career as 3D modeler and animator, Unanue is an enthusiast of animal biology and especially extinct species.
Carlos Varela received a BS in Computer Science from the Deusto University. In 1985, he worked on the very first animation feature film produced in the Basque Country. Since then, he has been devoted to animation in all formats: film, television, advertisements, video games, and web. Varela has worked for some of the leading companies in the world, including Warner, Universal, BBC, RAI, Globomedia, and others. He has also served as designer and director on animated TV series, directed four feature films, and served as assistant director in another four.
Varela has received two GOYA awards from the Spanish Film Academy and has been a finalist several other times. Recently, one of the feature films he worked on as creative designer and director won two awards at the Houston Film Festival: for Best Animated Feature film and for Best Applied Technological Innovation in Animation, for his use of Flash Animation Software in a theatrical film.
Varela's expertise resides in character design and storyboarding, and he has also been an animation director and collaborated as a screenwriter. He has several years’ experience in teaching subjects related to animation and video game production.
Currently, Varela teaches Animal Biology, Character Design, Storyboarding, Layouts, and Backgrounds at DigiPen Bilbao. He is also the main instructor in the Animation Projects.