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French Roast Wins SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Fest

ACM SIGGRAPH announced today the Computer Animation Festival's Best of Show, Jury Honors, Student Prize, and Well Told Fable Prize recipients for SIGGRAPH 2009, the 36th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.

“This year’s accepted films really overwhelmed us with the level of technical expertise and expert storytelling, which made the awards decision process extremely difficult,” Carlye Archibeque, SIGGRAPH 2009 Computer Animation Festival Executive Producer. “The winners not only exemplify what makes excellent animation today, but also provide a glimpse into the great things we have awaiting us in the future.”

Award and prize winners were chosen from hundreds of submissions from around the globe - presented by both professional studios and students alike. An expert panel of jury members selected the winners for exemplary use of computer-generated imagery, animation, and storytelling.

Since 1999, the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival has been an official qualifying festival for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences "Best Animated Short Film" Academy Award. The film OKTAPODI became an Academy nominee in the Best Animated Short category after winning Best in Show in the SIGGRAPH 2008 Computer Animation Festival. For the second consecutive year, the Festival’s screenings, panels, and production sessions are open to the public, allowing general audiences to get a glimpse behind the making of computer generated effects, visualizations, and animations that is rarely available.

The winners are:

Best in Show Award WinnerFRENCH ROASTFabrice O. JoubertThe Pumpkin FactoryFranceNarrative Animation - In a fancy Parisian café of the sixties, an uptight businessman is about to pay the check when he finds out that he's lost his wallet. To save time he decides to order more coffee. With no dialogue, the story is told through character animation, music and sound. Staging is made of a single frontal master shot with a big mirror in the background to create the equivalent of a reverse shot.

Jury Award WinnerDIXBIF ProductionThe MillUnited StatesLive Action with CG Effects - A dark, harrowing short film showing the complexities of psychological and obsessive behavior. An intricate part of the film was how the creators chopped up their main actor. They had to find solutions for every shot in order to achieve the best results. Some of the shots are 2D visual effects while others needed a 3D model animated on top of the actor and then cut revealing the actor’s flesh and blood.

Jury Honorable MentionALMARodrigo Blaas, Cecile Hokes Spain With dramatic storytelling, Alma explores the possibilities of combining the technical advancements of CG images with the cinematographic medium. Real camera movements are used and adapted to animation, instead of a virtual animated camera. The result created a more believable and intriguing story, making the most out of the cinematographic and CG worlds.

Student Prize WinnerPROJECT: ALPHAMatthias Bjarnason, Christian Munk Sørensen, Nicolai SlothusThe Animation WorkshopDenmarkNarrative Animation - The race to space is on. As nations compete, we follow the progress of a single chimpanzee that's been recruited into the Space Program. His results might prove influential for the better of all mankind.

Well Told Fable PrizeUNBELIEVABLE FOURSukwon Shin, In Pyo HongUnited StatesMusic Visualization - In this satirical take on a music video, a desperate search for salvation takes place as hundreds of evil spaceships are approaching earth. Finally the "Unbelievable 4" get the call. A superhero team (composed of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld) receives the urgent message that the earth is under attack and they have five minutes to launch a rocket for a preemptive strike. Over the course of the story, the caricaturized leaders' over-heroic personalities slowly merge with the personalities of rock stars.

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