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Babelgum launches Animatron Film Festival

Digital broadcast network Babelgum announced today the first tri-platform (online, mobile and offline) competition for animation and anime, the Babelgum Animatron Film Festival. The competition will culminate in a special public screening program, The Hamptons Animation Showcase, at the 2010 Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) in October. Entries will be eligible for an Audience Award voted on by the public as well as cash prizes from a select jury of leaders in the animation, film, and television world, including RotoScope pioneer Tommy Pallotta (Snack and Drink, Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly), industry leader and visual-effects producer Charlotte Bavasso (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Nexus Productions), and animators Pete Bishop (Bromwell High, Captain Star) and Isaac Littlejohn Eddy (Anatomy of a Dog Show, Capturing King), and Jeffrey Scher (Paper View, Lost and Found, Tulips), with others to be announced soon.

The submission period begins Monday, August 2, 2010 and continues through Sunday, August 22. Submissions will be available for global viewing at www.babelgum.com/animatron and on the free Babelgum mobile apps in mid September. Votes for the audience award can be placed online or via the mobile apps. Attendees at the Hamptons International Film Festival will also have a chance to cast votes for the Audience Awards, which will be tabulated together with online/mobile audience votes.

Building on this initiative, the Hamptons International Film Festival has partnered with Babelgum to co-present the Hamptons Animation Showcase, an eclectic animated shorts program at the 2010 Hamptons Film Festival, with additional support on marketing and media visibility for the Animatron Film Festival from Shooting People, the social network for independent filmmakers, and RingTales, a company that specializes in animating syndicated comic strips (Dilbert, The New Yorker). Juried by some of the biggest names in animation, with entries from around the globe, the Hamptons Animation Showcase screenings are scheduled to include select winners of the Animatron Jury Awards in five categories (Humor, Fantasy, Real Life, Anime and Minis). Following the initial screening, Babelgum and HIFF will hold an hour-long symposium on “The Future of Animation” at the Festival, featuring panelists from major studios and television networks, leading filmmakers, and some of the pioneers of animation.

Karol Martesko-Fenster, SVP & General Manager of Babelgum’s Film Division, stated, “The Animatron Film Festival is an exciting new event for the animation community, and the popularity of animation and anime among both domestic and international audiences makes the Hamptons International Film Festival environment an ideal live venue for our cross-platform competition, which will be freely accessed, viewed, and voted on by anyone in the world. Babelgum is already home to all kinds of ingenious, professionally produced animation, and in the months ahead, we’ll be striving increasingly to become the leading distributor of short animated films and serials on the Web and on mobile devices.”

“As a producer of animated films for over 20 years,” said RingTales co-founder Jim Cox, “I’m thrilled to be working with Babelgum on this exciting online and offline event, a long overdue showcase for the abundant talents of professional and budding animators hailing from around the world. The box-office success of feature films like Shrek and Toy Story 3 certainly underscores the mainstream appeal of studio features, but there’s a whole universe of brilliant, trailblazing filmmakers out there whose animated shorts are just waiting to be discovered.”

From London, James Mullighan, Creative Director at Shooting People, said: “This festival promises to be great fun, not only for our members, among whom we count thousands of accomplished animators, but for anyone with a passion for animation or an interest in expanding the horizons of what great short filmmaking is all about. It was a pleasure to join forces with Babelgum on previous online competitions, so we look forward to reaching out again to our 35,000-plus member network for quality submissions.”

Eligible films will incorporate any known animation technique, including CGI, stop-motion, Flash, hand-drawn/cel, live-action mixed, claymation, paper-cut, Pixilation, RotoScope, 3D, machinima, and all others. There are no restrictions on production year or whether the film has been previously distributed or entered into any online and/or offline film festival. The award categories are as follows:

• HUMOR: Cartoons/animation that look at life slightly askew
• FANTASY: Sci-fi, horror, adventure, outer space, imaginary worlds, genre-based
• REAL LIFE: Animated documentary, RotoScope, interview-based films
• ANIME: Manga, Japanimation, comics-inspired
• MINIS: Under 60 seconds

The Babelgum Animatron Film Festival will award the following prizes:

• The Audience Awards will be given to an outstanding film in each category receiving the highest number of votes determined solely by the voting totals from the global online and mobile Babelgum and Hamptons audiences.

• The Jury Awards will be given to an outstanding film in each of the five categories, determined by members of the Jury. Five first-place winners will receive a $2,500 cash award and five second-place winners will receive a $500 cash award.

• The Grand Jury Award will be given to an outstanding film in any category, chosen by members of the Jury. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash award.

Submissions will be accepted starting today until 11:59 PM EST on August 22nd, 2010. Further information about the submission specifications and regulations, including deadlines for viewing and voting, are available at www.babelgum.com/animation-film-festival.

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