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‘Sister,’ ‘Zog,’ and ‘The Seahorse Trainer’ Among Winners at Spark Animation 2019

Films by Siqi Song, Daniel Snaddon & Max Lang, and Babak Bina & Ricardo Bonisoli take top honors at 11th annual Spark CG festival in Vancouver, Canada. 

VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA -- The SPARK ANIMATION 2019 Film Festival shines the spotlight on an international line-up of acclaimed animated features and short films showcased from October 24 to 27 at Vancouver’s Scotiabank Theatre and Vancity Theatre. 

Now in its 11th year, the animation film festival, presented by the Spark Computer Graphics Society (Spark CG) has attracted 695 entries from 48 countries on six continents. From computer graphics to stop-motion, from independent animation to major studio productions, the collection of films this year – 90 hours of film in total – brings together the finest animated content on the planet. 

For the fourth year running, the film festival is again partnering with Covenant House Vancouver. Box office proceeds (excluding fees & GST) from each festival screening will be donated to Covenant House to aid in supporting at-risk and street youth in Downtown Vancouver.

SPARK ANIMATION Festival Jury announces winning entries for 2019

In 2014, SPARK ANIMATION introduced festival film submissions to its annual conference and career fair, selecting its first jury of animation experts in the process. The festival jury is comprised of a range of animation industry leaders, including directors, producers, educators, independent creators, studio heads, and Oscar winners. 

This year’s festival jury has now released its selections for 2019. Highlights include Sister by Siqi Song, whose poignant stop-motion story of familial love in 1990s China was a 2019 Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival and is named Best in Show by this year’s SPARK ANIMATION jury. 

Zog, the animated short about an accident-prone dragon, produced by London-based Magic Light Pictures and directed by Daniel Snaddon and Max Lang, was named Best Children’s Film. 

A Canadian entry, The Seahorse Trainer, about a lonely man’s passion for training seahorses, won the VFX category and also received “Rising Star in Visual Effects” accolades for its directors Babak Bina and Ricardo Bonisoli, awarded by the Visual Effects Society (VES) Vancouver Section.    

In the additional animated commercial category, famed director Ridley Scott’s Hennessy “The Seven Worlds” was the runner-up, while another USA entry, space flight simulation game Kerbal Space Program 2, took home the Best Cinematic award.

Below is the full list of winners:

BEST IN SHOW

Sister, by Siqi Song - China

DIRECTOR’S PRIZE

The Beauty, by Pascal Schelbli - Germany

SPECIAL MENTION

Girl in the Hallway, by Valerie Barnhart - Canada

TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE

Sous la glace, by Ismaïl Berrahma, Flore Dupont, Laurie Estampes, Quentin Nory, Hugo Potin - France

BEST CHILDREN’S FILM

ZOG, by Max Lang, Daniel Snaddon - UK

WINNER - NARRATIVE SHORT FILM

Good Heart, by Evgeniya Jirkova - Russia

WINNER - COMMERCIAL

Travel Oregon: Only Slightly (More) Exaggerated, by Todd Mueller, Kylie Matulick - USA

WINNER - MUSIC VIDEO

Osirika "Black Champagne,” by Jeremiah Williams - USA

WINNER - CINEMATIC

Kerbal Space Program 2, by Ryan McCoy - USA

WINNER - VFX

The Seahorse Trainer, by Ricardo Bonisoli, Babak Bina - Canada

WINNER - OVERALL STUDENT SHORT FILM

The Stained Club, by Mélanie Lopez, Simon Boucly, Marie Ciesielski, Alice Jaunet, Chan Stéphie Peang, Béatrice Viguier  - France

WINNER - 2D STUDENT SHORT FILM

The Bear Hunter, by Sayaka Hara - UK

WINNER - 3D STUDENT SHORT FILM (tie)

Oeil pour Oeil, by Thomas Boileau, Alan Guimont, Robin Courtoise, Mathieu Lecroq, Malcom Hunt, François Briantais - France 

Pour une poignée de Caramels, by Nghia Bui Trung, Clara Dulaut, Martin Fettuciari, Nikita Gavard Noyer, Bérenger Guilbault, Timothée Maron, Ugo Masutti - France

WINNER - STOP MOTION STUDENT SHORT FILM

Love Me, Fear Me, by Veronica Solomon - Germany

Film festival tickets are now on sale at  http://sparkanimation.ca/.

2019 Animation Festival features BC Premiere of feature Bombay Rose

Hand-painted by award-winning animator Gitanjali Rao, feature film Bombay Rose (India, France, UK, Qatar) is an exquisitely drawn and beautifully moving tale of the quest for love on the chaotic streets of Bombay. A Gold Hugo nominee at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, Bombay Rose premieres in BC on Sunday, October 27, 9:30 pm at Vancity Theatre, and is the closing night highlight of the SPARK ANIMATION 2019 Film Festival. 

Other celebrated feature films shown during the festival include Away (Latvia), Ride Your Wave (Japan), Tarzan (USA), Marona’s Fantastic Tale (France, Romania, Belgium), and Animation Outlaws (USA).

Five in Focus Project The Butterfly Affect will have World Premiere in “Mothers of a Medium” program 

Five in Focus is an innovative program designed by Women in Animation Vancouver and Women in View to advance gender equity in the animation industry. Last year, five women were nominated who represent key creative positions in animation, positions in which women have been traditionally underrepresented and where WIA has sought to increase representation. Five in Focus aims to significantly advance these women’s careers through extensive mentorship from the WIA community, exposure to a wide range of industry activities, master classes, pitch training and more. The year long program provided financing to write, develop and produce an animated short film called The Butterfly Affect.

The film’s world premiere will open the “Mothers of a Medium” program on October 27 and will be introduced by the five women selected to the inaugural program: director Stephanie Blakey, writer Jen Davreux, producer Amanda Konkin, animation director Kaitlin Sutherland, and art director Maisha Moore. 

The full SPARK ANIMATION 2019 Film Festival schedule is available at http://sparkanimation.ca/.

Conference showcases the future and history of animation, October 26 and 27

Leading minds in animation ― from local Vancouver-based studio heads to international storytellers, directors, producers, and executives ― will share their expertise during presentations and workshops from 9 am to 7 pm, October 26 and 27, at Emily Carr University’s Reliance Theatre and Rennie Hall.

Don Iwerks and his daughter Leslie Iwerks will takes us back into the early years of Disney, delving deep into the life and work of Ub Iwerks, an extraordinary animator, the designer and co-creator of Mickey Mouse; while award-winning historian Mindy Johnson will explore the history of the women that shaped animation. 

Looking ahead, Florian Perinelle will present on the marriage of craft and technology in stop-motion, and Sepp Sonntag will delve into the latest state of the art technology used to shoot breathtaking landscapes, from epic volcanoes to cosmopolitan cities in Godzilla King of the Monsters.

Two-day conference passes are on sale now at http://sparkanimation.ca/.

Free Career Fair connects animators with studio recruiters

On October 26 from 9:30 am to 5 pm, job-seeking animation professionals will have a chance to meet with representatives from 20 leading animation studios ― including CG pros, HR professionals, and executive decision-makers ― at Hangar Warehouse, Centre for Digital Media.

Part of SPARK ANIMATION 2019, the Career Fair is free to attend. However, registering in advance online at http://sparkanimation.ca/ is highly recommended.

About SPARK ANIMATION 2019

SPARK ANIMATION 2019 furthers the art and craft of animation by championing the work of animators, filmmakers, and all artists who use this magical art form to tell a story visually. In its 11th year, SPARK ANIMATION 2019 runs October 24 to 27 in Vancouver, Canada. The event includes a film festival, career fair, and two-day conference (October 26 and 27). For more information visit http://sparkanimation.ca/

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