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April 28, 2003

South Philadelphia Resident and La Salle Student
Ibrahim Kobeissi Wins Digital Film Contest

It's a good thing for Ibrahim Kobeissi that coffee only works for him in the evening. The La Salle University junior says caffeine doesn't energize him in the morning, but it keeps the South Philadelphia resident pumped at night. Staying awake for 24 hours straight helped him and three student collaborators win a film contest sponsored by Philadelphia's University of the Arts.

Teams were given 24 hours to produce a five-minute film done on computer about a single topic: the heart.

"It only took a second for me to come up with the idea," says Kobeissi, a Digital Arts major at La Salle. "I wanted to do something on the dark side (of the heart). I thought of four aspects: love, hate, detachment and childhood."

He partnered with three students he met at the event, two University of the Arts students, Aubrey Jones and Jeannine Cook, and Cory Choy, a high school student.

For winning the competition, the quartet will share the $1,500 top prize, and their movie was posted on the University of the Arts' website.

The film is titled Myocardium, the medical term for an irregular heartbeat. It is a dark look at events in the life of a man who apparently has been shot and is seeing his life flash before his eyes: voices of family members are heard over the image of a dinner table; a girlfriend is heard talking about their relationship; there are words from his father. Much of the "action" is heard over a beating heart. One of the few constant visuals in the film is a human heart seemingly suspended in air.

Kobeissi immediately tapped Jones to be the film's protagonist "because he had an interesting voice." Kobeissi created the film's visuals, and the others wrote the dialogue.

After submitting the film, Kobeissi got some sleep, then returned to the University of the Arts campus. He felt the film was pretty good, but was surprised his team won. "Cory and I had the most faith in the film," he says.

Kobeissi became interested in digital arts because he wants to work in cartoons. He grew up watching and loving the old Warner Bros. cartoons, which he said are brilliantly done.

This semester, Kobeissi is taking a course in "Web Scripting," a requirement for Digital Arts majors. Dr. Margaret McCoey, chair of the Digital Arts program at La Salle who's teaching the Web Scripting course, says Kobeissi "is very good at design. He's very good at the animation pieces."

A marine reservist, Kobeissi recently started a job with DesignWrite, a software company in Princeton, N.J.