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15th Stuttgart Festival Of Animated Film '08 Awards

The 15th Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film has just taken place over six exciting days from May 1-6, showing wonderfully varied animation films and programs to a highly appreciative audience. As the second largest international animation festival, and this year screening about 500 films in total, it is also a meeting place for animation professionals from all over the world.

The animation film screenings, presentations, workshops, events and the prestigious animation competitions reflect an increasingly wide range of creative work produced within an expanding and innovative industry.

With 190 films in competition, the winners have just been announced at the festival's Award Ceremony taking place on May 6 at 8 p.m. in Stuttgart, with the animation directors present and some flew in on the day to receive their award. The films have screened to full houses of festival attendees including animation professionals, students, international guests as well as the general public and animation enthusiasts.

This year's Grand Prix winner FRANZ KAFKA'S A COUNTRY DOCTOR by Koji Yamamura (Japan) tells a surreal tale of a country doctor on a night visit, who fails to locate a fatal wound due to his personal preoccupations. Using traditional cel techniques, its line and drawing textures enhance the animation's dreamlike quality and shifts of reality/surreality.

The official award winners and the jury's statements are:

International Competition

Jury: Suzanne Buchan, London, Ron Diamond, Hollywood, Vladimir Lesciov, Riga, Joanna Quinn, London, Fritz Steingrobe, Hamburg.

Grand Prix: State of Baden-Wuerttemberg And City Of Stuttgart Grand Award For Animated Film (15,000 Euros):

FRANZ KAFKA INAKA ISHA (FRANZ KAFKA'S A COUNTRY DOCTOR)by Koji YamamuraJapan 2007. Producers: Mariko Seto, Fumi Teranishi. Production: Yamamura Animation, Shochiku. World sales: Shochiku Co.The film's exquisite, distorting forms and spaces successfully release a subconscious world from darkness into a waking absurdity.

Honorable mention:

ENERGIE (ENERGY)by Thorsten FleischGermany 2007. Production: FleischfilmIn the blink of an eye, we witness the exquisite capture of brilliant uncontrolled electricity. The film's montage expands the experience of subjective perception and also notions of animated form. Conceptually it is simultaneously connected to the period of 20s classic Avantgarde.

International Promotion Award / Award For Best Graduation Film (10,000 Euros):

CAMERA OBSCURAby Matthieu Buchalski, Jean-Michel Drechsler, Thierry OnillonFrance 2007. Production: Supinfocom Valenciennes. World sales: Premium FilmsFor its retro-elegant design and totemistic figures that enable the film's sensitive insight into a poignant, apparently isolated existence.

Honorable mention:

MILK TEETHby Tibor BanoczkiU.K. 2007. Producer: Anna Higgs. Production: National Film and Television SchoolFor its respectful unfolding of childhood terrors and coming of age in stylistically honed, bleakly emotional aural and visual landscapes.

Special Award: Music For Animation (5,000 Euros, sponsored by the GEMA Foundation):

HEZURBELTZAK, UNA FOSA COMUN (HEZURBELTZAK, A COMMON GRAVE)by Iziben OnederraSpain 2007. Producer: Pello Gutierrez. World sales: KimuakThe sound collage mirrors the drawing's artistic idiosyncracy in an emotional and generative way. In the wilderness of electronically generated sounds lies the cacophony of a world defined by avarice, lust, power and madness.

Young Animation

Jury: Signe Baumane, New York/Riga, Hanna Nordholt, Hamburg, Theodore Ushev, Montreal

Award For Best Student Film (2,500 Euros, sponsored by the Landesanstalt fur Kommunikation Baden-Wurttemberg):

1977by Peque VarelaU.K. 2007. Producer: Gavin Humphries / National Film and Television SchoolWe saw a lot of inspired and professionally crafted films, but the film we chose stood out because of its strong personal message. This particular story transcends an exclusively personal experience to the universal theme of finding one's identity. The narration is supported by the appropriate choice of cinematic language, and it managed to captivate us from the first second to the very end. The prize goes to 1977 by Peque Varela.

Special mention:

DIONYSOSby Jorg Weidner, Anke SpathGermany 2007. Production: Hochschule fur bildende Künste HamburgOur honorable mention goes to a film that comes from the ashes of Greek mythology. The filmmakers' approach is unpolished, making the film raw and brave. We see an immense potential here and we want to encourage the filmmakers to continue the work.

Tricks For Kids

Jury: Marthe Eilenstein, 13 years old, Fabian Helde, 13 years old, Francis Mayer, 10 years old, Martin Moch, 13 years old, Lucie Schultz, 11 years old and Zarah Willmann, 11 years old.

Award For Best Children's Animated Film (4,000 Euros, sponsored by Nick):

THE CURSE OF THE SKULL ROCKby Ben SmithU.K. 2007. Producer: Ben Smith. Production: Red Star Studio Ltd. World sales: Attraction Media & EntertainmentWe (the children's jury) have seen many films at the Tricks for Kids. A winning film was decided with some difficulty, as we liked many of the films. But there can only be one winning film which will receive 4000 Euro from Nick. We would also like to mention two other films which were in the final round and belong to our favorites: WAS DENKST DU UBER: LIEBE? (WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT:LOVE?) by Karsten Kiilerich and THE WRONG TRAINERS by Kez Margrie. Our winning film is from U.K. and impressed us due to the excellent animation. We found the film's story suspenseful as well as funny. Us girls found it great that there is a heroine. We believe that other children as well as adults will like this film very much. The winner is THE CURSE OF THE SKULL ROCK by Ben Smith.

Special mention:

THE WRONG TRAINERSby Kez MargrieU.K. 2006. Production: BBC. World Sales: Slinky Pictures

Special mention:

WAS DENKST DU UBER: LIEBE? (WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT: LOVE?)by Karsten KillerichGermany, Denmark, Ireland 2007. Producers: Anders Mastrup, Ralph Christian. Production: WDR, Magma Films, A. Film. World Sales: Bavaria Media Television

Animovie

Jury: Michael Coldewey, München, Iain Harvey, London, Michel Ocelot, Paris

SLIPP JIMMY FRI (FREE JIMMY)by Christopher NielsenNorway, U.K. 2006. Producers: Lars Andreas Hellebust, Lars Tommerbakke, Bill Godfrey. Production: Storm Studio. World sales: The Works International.Out of the eight films which were proposed to us, FREE JIMMY was the strongest. There was a story to follow until the end, quite a few miracles along the way, a powerful mood, a regard for contemporary issues, a dark sense of humour and a wide range of different true to life characters.

Animated Series

Jury: Paco Rodriguez, Barcelona, Sunita Struck, Hamburg, Priit Tender, Tallinn

Award For Best TV Animated Series (2,500 Euros sponsored by EM. Ent.):

HAIRY SCARY: NO. 33by Wolf-Rudiger BlossFrance, Germany 2007. Producers: Christian Davin, Clement Calvet. Production / world sales: AlphanimThe jury for the Animated Series has decided to award the prize to HAIRY SCARY for the following reasons: outstanding imaginative design; originality of concept; excellent scriptwriting; consistent and entertaining story; high quality and (CG) production value; humor that will appeal to one and all regardless of age.

Under Commission

Award For Commercials And Award For Best Commissioned Work (all-inclusive-trip to Siggraph Los Angeles, sponsored by Mackevision):

Sony Bravia: PLAY DOHby Darren Walsh, Frank BudgenU.K. 2007. Production: Passion Pictures

Award for animated music video:

TV On The Radio: ME-1by Daniel Garcia, U.S.

Award For TV-Trailer:

MTV Fauna Winter Channel Identity: WINTER ARRIVALby Anthony Burns, Canada

Animation Screenplay Award

Award For The Best German Language Screenplay For A Feature-Length Animated Film (5,000 Euros donated by the Evangelical Church in Germany):

DER LETZTE NEANDERTALER (THE LAST NEANDERTHAL MAN)Author: John Chambers

Crazy Horse Session -- 48 Hour 3D JAM

A live animation competition held at the 15th Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film involved several teams of two, who had 48 hours to create a 3D animation of the festival mascot "Crazy Horse" character. The films were presented at the Young Animation Party on Sunday May 4 and the three teams awarded a shared prize were: Ruslana Kojouharova & Octavian Ureche (Bulgaria, Rumania) Ceyhan Kapusuz & Enver Tokmak (Turkey) and Alex Donnee & Edward Williams (U.K.).

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