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SIGGRAPH Selects Computer Animation Fest Nominees

SIGGRAPH announces the selection of award nominees for the SIGGRAPH 2009 Computer Animation Festival to be held in New Orleans this August. Nominees were chosen from 770 submissions from around the globe, presented by both professional studios and students alike. In all, more than 140 films will be shown during the Computer Animation Festival. The award winners will be announced during the conference.

"We were thrilled with level of quality and technical expertise that was prevalent throughout the hundreds of submissions," stated Carlye Archibeque, Computer Animation Festival Executive Producer from LightStage, LLC. "The Computer Animation Festival continues to show the power that the latest advances in computer graphics technologies have to amuse and entertain. As always the jury looked not only for amazing graphic content, but also good story telling, whether it was a film about a boy and his spaceship, or a film about new studies in Alzheimer's research."

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 at last year's Festival. For the second consecutive year, the Festival's screenings, panels and production sessions will be 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 nominees for this year's Computer Animation Festival Awards are as follows:

Best in Show Nominees ENGEL ZU FUST (ANGEL AFOOT)Studio Soi GmbH & CoGermanyNarrative Animation - Waltraud, an angel, has fallen from the sky. Her wings have shrunk and she can no longer fly. She takes up with a troop of circus performers who help remind her how an angel gets her wings back.

FRENCH ROASTThe Pumpkin Factory / Bibo Films FranceNarrative 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.

SILHOUETTES OF JAZZDominik Käser, Martin-Sebastian Senn, Mario Deuss, Mark Pauly, Niloy J. MitraSwitzerlandExperimental Animation - This animated short outlines the history of traditional jazz music in a virtual walkthrough of a shadow art museum. Improvisation, a key ingredient of jazz music, is mirrored in the ambiguity of a shadow sculpture (many different 3D shapes can cast the same 2D shadow). The movie highlights five different milestones in the evolution of jazz: the early songs of field workers, ragtime, New Orleans jazz, swing, and bebop. Each era is represented by a single 3D sculpture that casts multiple shadow images simultaneously.

Jury Award NomineesDIXThe 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.

LOVE CHILDDigital Media Design Education CenterTaiwanAnimation Visualization - A visual capture of character creation software making digital construction of a new born infant "character" that is both visually and politically stunning.

ANIMASupinfocom ValenciennesFranceAnimation Visualization - This animation, which verges on experimental, uses animals and their forms as its center piece. An elephant is seen escaping the city, but it seems the city itself is made of animals or the shapes of animals. The graphics and lighting in this film make it immensely compelling.

Student Prize NomineesDIM SUMRingling College of Art and DesignUnited StatesNarrative Animation - This amusing animation takes place in San Francisco, home of the largest and most prominent Chinatown outside of Asia. The setting is a bustling Chinese restaurant named Dim Sum where Ping, a waiter, accidentally drops a tea cup which shatters on the floor. Pong, the infamous owner of Dim Sum, finds out and he is one second away from firing Ping. How far will Ping go to keep his job?

INCIDENT AT TOWER 37Hampshire CollegeUnited StatesNarrative Animation - A man guards a water tower and comes across some little creatures who are trying to break into it. The short piece explores issues surrounding ownership, use, and exhaustion of natural resources. The film is a result of an undergraduate animation curriculum built upon newly developed open-source production management and support tools.

PROJECT: ALPHAThe 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.

WTF (Well Told Fable) Prize Nominees FRIENDS?Sveinbjörn J. TryggvasonIcelandNarrative Animation - A very short film that highlights that "shorts" can be short, but still contain a whole lot of story. To better convey the concept of simplicity, simple primitive shapes are used as the base for the design of nearly everything in the film.

UNBELIEVABLE FOURSukwon ShinUnited States Music 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.

FERNET 1,882 "MINI CAB COMPANY"Pickle Visual Effects & AnimationArgentinaVisual Effects Driven Commercial - The space-aged TV commercial stars the owners and staff of a real mini-cab company, Renta Car, located in Cordoba, Argentina - the city that leads the country in alcohol consumption. The ultimate goal of the ad: attract 1,882 more customers. Agency Madre tapped the employees and owner of a real mini cab company to star in this visual effects spot, all in the name of helping them get 1,882 customers. The Renta Car staff also display some fine acting chops, giving the spot a touch of heart.

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Rick DeMott
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