SIGGRAPH recently announced 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.
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 & Co
Narrative 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.
The Pumpkin Factory
Narrative 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 Jazz
Dominik Käser, Martin-Sebastian Senn, Mario Deuss , Mark Pauly, Niloy J. Mitra
Experimental 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 Nominees
Live 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.
Digital Media Design Education Center
Animation Visualization – A visual capture of character creation software making digital construction of a new born infant “character” that is both visually and politically stunning.
Animation 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 Nominees
Ringling College of Art and Design
Narrative 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 37
Narrative 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.
The Animation Workshop
Narrative 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) Award
Sveinbjörn J. Tryggvason
Narrative 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.
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 & Animation
Visual 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.