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Babelgum Launches Animatron Film Festival

Digital broadcast network Babelgum announced today the first tri-platform (online, mobile and offline) competition for animation and anime, the Babelgum Animatron Film Festival.

Press Release from Babelgum

New York / London (August 2, 2010) Digital broadcast network Babelgum announced today the first tri-platform (online, mobile and offline) competition for animation and anime, the Babelgum Animatron Film Festival. The competition will culminate in a special public screening program, The Hamptons Animation Showcase, at the 2010 Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) in October. Entries will be eligible for an Audience Award voted on by the public as well as cash prizes from a select jury of leaders in the animation, film, and television world, including RotoScope pioneer Tommy Pallotta (Snack and Drink, Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly), industry leader and visual-effects producer Charlotte Bavasso (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Nexus Productions), and animators Pete Bishop (Bromwell High, Captain Star) and Isaac Littlejohn Eddy (Anatomy of a Dog Show, Capturing King), and Jeffrey Scher (Paper View, Lost and Found, Tulips), with others to be announced soon.

The submission period begins Monday, August 2, 2010 and continues through Sunday, August 22. Submissions will be available for global viewing at www.babelgum.com/animatron and on the free Babelgum mobile apps in mid September.  Votes for the audience award can be placed online or via the mobile apps. Attendees at the Hamptons International Film Festival will also have a chance to cast votes for the Audience Awards, which will be tabulated together with online/mobile audience votes.

Building on this initiative, the Hamptons International Film Festival has partnered with Babelgum to co-present the Hamptons Animation Showcase, an eclectic animated shorts program at the 2010 Hamptons Film Festival, with additional support on marketing and media visibility for the Animatron Film Festival from Shooting People, the social network for independent filmmakers, and RingTales, a company that specializes in animating syndicated comic strips (Dilbert, The New Yorker). Juried by some of the biggest names in animation, with entries from around the globe, the Hamptons Animation Showcase screenings are scheduled to include select winners of the Animatron Jury Awards in five categories (Humor, Fantasy, Real Life, Anime and Minis). Following the initial screening, Babelgum and HIFF will hold an hour-long symposium on “The Future of Animation” at the Festival, featuring panelists from major studios and television networks, leading filmmakers, and some of the pioneers of animation.

Karol Martesko-Fenster, SVP & General Manager of Babelgum’s Film Division, stated, “The Animatron Film Festival is an exciting new event for the animation community, and the popularity of animation and anime among both domestic and international audiences makes the Hamptons International Film Festival environment an ideal live venue for our cross-platform competition, which will be freely accessed, viewed, and voted on by anyone in the world. Babelgum is already home to all kinds of ingenious, professionally produced animation, and in the months ahead, we’ll be striving increasingly to become the leading distributor of short animated films and serials on the Web and on mobile devices.”

“As a producer of animated films for over 20 years,” said RingTales co-founder Jim Cox, “I’m thrilled to be working with Babelgum on this exciting online and offline event, a long overdue showcase for the abundant talents of professional and budding animators hailing from around the world. The box-office success of feature films like Shrek and Toy Story 3 certainly underscores the mainstream appeal of studio features, but there’s a whole universe of brilliant, trailblazing filmmakers out there whose animated shorts are just waiting to be discovered.”

From London, James Mullighan, Creative Director at Shooting People, said: “This festival promises to be great fun, not only for our members, among whom we count thousands of accomplished animators, but for anyone with a passion for animation or an interest in expanding the horizons of what great short filmmaking is all about. It was a pleasure to join forces with Babelgum on previous online competitions, so we look forward to reaching out again to our 35,000-plus member network for quality submissions.”

Eligible films will incorporate any known animation technique, including CGI, stop-motion, Flash, hand-drawn/cel, live-action mixed, claymation, paper-cut, Pixilation, RotoScope, 3D, machinima, and all others. There are no restrictions on production year or whether the film has been previously distributed or entered into any online and/or offline film festival. The award categories are as follows:

*    HUMOR: Cartoons/animation that look at life slightly askew*    FANTASY: Sci-fi, horror, adventure, outer space, imaginary worlds, genre-based*    REAL LIFE: Animated documentary, RotoScope, interview-based films*    ANIME: Manga, Japanimation, comics-inspired*    MINIS: Under 60 seconds

The Babelgum Animatron Film Festival will award the following prizes:

* The Audience Awards will be given to an outstanding film in each category receiving the highest number of votes determined solely by the voting totals from the global online and mobile Babelgum and Hamptons audiences.  

* The Jury Awards will be given to an outstanding film in each of the five categories, determined by members of the Jury. Five first-place winners will receive a $2,500 cash award and five second-place winners will receive a $500 cash award.

* The Grand Jury Award will be given to an outstanding film in any category, chosen by members of the Jury. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash award.

Submissions will be accepted starting today until 11:59 PM EST on August 22nd, 2010. Further information about the submission specifications and regulations, including deadlines for viewing and voting, are available at www.babelgum.com/animation-film-festival.

About Hamptons International Film FestivalThe Hamptons International Film Festival was founded to celebrate the Independent film - long, short, fiction and documentary - and to introduce a unique, varied spectrum of international films and filmmakers to the public. The Festival is committed to exhibiting films that express fresh voices and differing global perspectives, with the hope that these programs will enlighten audiences, provide invaluable exposure for filmmakers and present inspired entertainment for all. For more information about the Festival, and to become a member, please visit our website at www.hamptonsfilmfest.org.

About RingTales (www.ringtales.com)RingTales is a new media company founded by Jim Cox and Michael Fry that animates print comics for all digital media. RingTales holds the exclusive rights to animate Dilbert and the New Yorker Cartoons and several other popular comics including Pearls Before Swine, Bloom County, Over the Hedge, Cul de Sac, Lio, and Pooch Café.  RingTales animations have been viewed over 180 million times since March 2007. Jim Cox is a long-time feature animation writer and producer. His credits include co-executive producer on the 2006 DreamWorks Animation feature animated hit Over the Hedge, writer/producer on Ferngully, story on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and screenwriter on The Rescuers Down Under and Oliver & Company. Michael Fry is a four-time internationally syndicated cartoonist. He currently writes the comic strip Over the Hedge, which inspired the DreamWorks Animation film of the same name that earned $335 million dollars in worldwide box office.

About Shooting People (www.shootingpeople.org)Shooting People is the world's largest networking organization dedicated to the support and promotion of independent filmmaking. Over 35,000 members in the UK and US share tips recommendations and news using Shooting People's website, the nine Daily Bulletins to get their films cast and crewed, and individual Member Profiles to exhibit themselves and their work to their peers, the industry and the world. Founded in 1998 by filmmakers Jess Search and Cath le Couteur, Shooting People’s patrons include Mike Figgis (Founder Patron), Sally Potter, Morgan Spurlock, Christine Vachon, Michael Nyman, Penny Woolcock, and Jason Solomons.

About Babelgum (www.babelgum.com)Babelgum is an integrated web and mobile video content platform free for users and supported by advertising available on-demand to a global audience. Babelgum Mobile is an original application currently available in the United States, UK, Italy, Germany, France and Spain which brings regionally tailored programming to smart phones – at present iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android  - via 3G and WiFi (www.babelgum.com/mobile).

Positioned between user generated video hubs and network TV-oriented destinations, Babelgum focuses on the third part of the ecosystem: innovative, editorially curated and professionally produced content on very specific passions – music, comedy, film, animation, urban culture, nature, and the environment. Babelgum’s programming is comprised of exclusive original productions as well as independent and mainstream titles. Babelgum’s content partners include, among others, EMI, Sony Music, the New York Times, Funny or Die, PBS, BBC, VBS, Lonely Planet, Coolhunting, National Geographic, ContentFilm International, Shine Limited, Cinetic Rights Management, iThentic, Gong Anime, FilmBuff, WorkBook Project, Cinelan, Reverse Shot, Shooting People, Film Independent, Power to the Pixel, and the Spirit Awards as well as the Encounters, Los Angeles, and Hamptons film festivals.

The company has also set up a series of online contests to nurture independent film, music and art talent: the Babelgum Online Film Festival, the Babelgum Music Video Awards and the Babelgum Metropolis Art Prize, chaired respectively by Spike Lee (BOFF1 & 2), Michel Gondry, and Isabella Rossellini.

Babelgum is an independent and privately held company with offices in the UK, United States, and Italy.

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