John Clister Santos - CIIT Iskolar Stories

Meet our CIITzen… Clister!

John Clister Santos is a 2nd-year student scholar of CIIT College of Arts and Technology studying Bachelor in Multimedia Arts Major in Animation. Clister is not only a student-scholar but also a diligent working student. His amazing skills in Animation opened a door of opportunity for him to work at Polychroma Games as an Assistant Artist/Animator even though he is still a student. Presently, he jumbles his time between work and school but still manages to achieve outstanding performance in his studies. 

Why did you choose to study Animation?

I chose this program because I see myself working in the field of animation in the future. It’s an exciting career because we will be constantly working on different stories, giving life to various characters, and collaborating with talented artists. Each project gives you an opportunity to grow your skill set, acquire new experiences, and face challenges that will help me grow as a person and as an artist.

How and where did your passion for Animation started?

I have always been interested in storytelling since I was a child. It was in Elementary School when I started participating in poster-making contests and painting competitions. In High School, I got interested in filmmaking. Suddenly, all things started falling into place (in terms of my career path). I wanted to combine my skills in filmmaking and drawing. That was the time I discovered (my passion for) animation.

Can you tell us your story when you received recognition for your work?

It was 2019 when I won a place at the National Digital Arts Awards in the Student Animation category. It was something that I didn’t expect to win. That was months away from graduating STEM in SHS so I was busy doing a thesis, final projects, and college entrance exams. During the Christmas break, I discovered this competition and because I have some free time, I decided to try. I made my first-pixel animation so I almost didn’t finish in time. Months passed, I forgot about the competition. I was surprised when I received an email saying that I won a place in the competition. It didn’t sink in right away until the day that I received the award at PICC. 

Surprisingly, I won another special prize which was the CIIT Scholarship. I remember running back to the stage while an interview was ongoing backstage when they announced the special prize. It was a fun memorable experience.

Recently, people also started to notice my art which in itself is an achievement for me. Most particularly my “Spoliarium 2k20” pixel art animation. Actually, it was a final output for my Art Appreciation class but eventually, the animation reached a lot of people and even Scout Magazine interviewed me about my work and made an article about it. The Philippine Star, Rappler, and Preen also featured my pixel animation works on their online platforms.

The best feeling for an artist is to see people getting affected by your work so being recognized by many was one of my favorite achievements (to date). To see different people react, relate, and experience nostalgia with my artwork is definitely an achievement. 

What is the most remarkable experience in CIIT, so far?

For me, being able to help start an animation organization and run it together with my friends is one of my most remarkable experiences in CIIT. I’ve met a lot of talented individuals within the organization and learned a lot of valuable skills as their Communication Officer. Up to this day, my experience with the organization has been so useful even in my regular routines outside the school.

What do you like the most in CIIT?

One aspect of CIIT that I like the most is the people—from the students, to the staff and the faculty—you feel like you’re part of a one big family. The tight-knit relationship and the interconnectedness of everyone makes it easier to get through the day despite the challenges. It feels like everyone is helping each other grow in their own unique ways.

The interconnectedness of every moving part in CIIT makes it a unique experience for every person inside the campus.

What can you say about the classes and curriculum in your program? 

CIIT’s curriculum is tailor-fitted to the fast-changing industry of art here in the Philippines. Lessons are stripped down to valuable skills and core information that the students should learn. Most importantly, there is real-world application in every activity that they give.”

Tell us about your Instructors

Each Instructor at CIIT is unique in their own ways. From the different real-world industry experiences, important soft skills that they impart in us, and the guidance they give that shapes us; Each Instructor will give you a unique experience and skill that will help you grow as an artist.

What are you looking forward to in your future career?

Realistically, I’m looking forward to working on exciting animation projects both locally and internationally with an end goal of bringing our own culture and stories to the world’s stage through my art. In addition, if I would be given the opportunity, I would like to fulfill my childhood dream of working at Disney or Pixar.

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