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SAFO Announces 2003 Winners

On October 19, 2003, the Ottawa International Student Animation Festival (SAFO 03) announced its winners. An international jury selected winners in seven categories from 72 films. CalArts student Jean-Jacques Villard took home the top honors with the Nelvana Grand Prize for his film SON OF SATAN. Turku Arts Academy of Finland garnered the Grand Prize - Best School for exhibiting a high level of consistency and diversity in its show reel.

Best First Film went to THE STONE OF FOLLY by Jesse Rosensweet (Sweet Thing Production/National Film Board of Canada) for "its interpretation of a medieval misconception and its intelligent and atmospheric execution." LE FAUX PLI by François-Xavier Lepeintre, Antoine Arditti and Audrey Delpuech of France's SUPINFOCOM took home the National Film Board of Canada Award for Best Graduate Film for "its personal use of 3D computer animation to create a truly original and absorbing world." Best Post-Secondary/Undergraduate Film went to CATS by Chris Choy of CalArts for its "excellent sense of timing and visual impact in the telling of a cats' rebellion.

Best High School Film was awarded to WHAT! by Rocco Pisano, (a recent graduate of Chicago's Willowbrook High School), for its "raw energy, inventiveness and pure expression of individuality. The Best Children's Film was split between two films, PAZ EM JACAREZINHO (PEACE IN JACAREZINHO, SHANTY TOWN) made by various students from Brazil and JOEY'S ADVENTURE by Rachel Everitt of Scotland. Both films were cited for "the children's mature articulation of personal situations, and in appreciation of their optimism while confronting difficult issues."

The 'Gouda Special' Award was presented to Pallas Bane of the U.S. for her film, THE BIG CHEESE, and a honorable mention for the funniest educational film was given to American animator Kurt Nellis for his graduate film, PROPER URINAL ETIQUETTE.

In addition, honorable mentions were presented to CROUCHING NINJA, HIDDEN SNOWMAN by Aidan O'Hara of Canada, CRIMENALS by Gregory Araya representing USC, HÔTEL DU PHARE by Tugdual Birotheau representing ENSAD of France and HOW TO COPE WITH DEATH by Ignacia Ferreras of the U.K.

Jury members included the head of the NFB's French animation studio Marcel Jean, self-taught corrupt-collage American filmmaker Martha Colburn, Palme d'Or winning filmmaker Oscar Grillo of Britain and Ink Tank producer and animation professor Richard O'Connor from New York.

SAFO, run by the Ottawa International Animation Festival, is a biannual event celebrating young filmmakers. The first student animation festival in the world, the Ottawa festival provides a supportive venue for young animators to showcase their work away from larger festivals where it is often over-shadowed by big-budget studio entries. For more information about the festival, call (613) 232-8769, email: or go the festival's Website at

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
Creator of Rick's Flicks Picks