Acker’s 9 Gets Oscar, SIGGRAPH screening

UCLA student Shane Acker has two huge reasons to celebrate this morning. Not only did he got word that his innovative short 9 will receive a prestigious Student Oscar on June 12, it also got the Best of Show honors for SIGGRAPH 2005, which will be held July 31-August 2005 in Los Angeles.

Acker’s technically astute short follows a brave rag doll creature who calls on all its courage to confront a vile mechanical beast who has attacked all his fellow rag doll peers and trapped their souls within his body. Inspired by the work of stop-motions masters such as Jan Svankeyer and the Brothers Quay, Acker says the non-verbal narrative was loosely based on the English poem Beowulf.

On his website, Acker says he worked on his short for 4 1/2 years, taking small production jobs on and off to pay for the cost of living. He also took six month off to work for Weta Digital on The Return of King in New Zealand. "It was like animation boot camp, they worked us down to little nubs. When I got back I was so much more proficient and I could look at the work I had done with fresh eyes," he says.

“We are thrilled that student submissions continue to exceed our expectations, as evidenced by the fact that two of our three award winners are students,” says Samuel Lord Black, SIGGRAPH 2005’s Chair of the Computer Animation Festival. “International participation also is outstanding, as more than half of the show comes from outside the United States, with France (particularly French students) making an especially strong showing. This year’s show is broad with a wonderful mix of science, humor, drama, excitement, and music. Our dedicated jury put together a tremendous show.

Siggraph 2005 Computer Animation Festival will also include Tomek Baginski’s Fallen Art (Jury Honors), Eric Castaing, Alexandre Heboyan and Fafah Togora’s La Migration Bigoudenn (Jury Honors), Cesar Kuriyama’s Awkward, Ming-Yuan Chuan’s Cubic Tragedy, Damian Hook’s East End Zombies, Jeff Fowler’s Gopher Broke, Chris Harding’s Learn Self-Defense, Mike Blum’s The Zit, Jeff Paul’s Love Letters, Dorothy Hall’s MODIS Daily Global Snow Cover and Sea Ice Surface Temperature (NASA), Philippe Gluckmann’s Madagascar Technical Reel, Chohon by Eunju Kim, Jung Sun Choi, Junsang Yoon, Kinam Kim and Youno Park, Peter Lepeniotis’ Surly Squirrel, Joshua Beveridge’s Things That Go Bump in the Night, Jung-Ho Kim’s Venice Beach and Robert Patterson and Donna Cox’s Visualization of an F3 Tornado Within a Simulated Supercell.

The complete list of SIGGRAPH 2005 Computer Animation Festival selections is available at http://www.siggraph.org/s2005/main.php?f=conference&p=caf

In addition to Shane Acker’s 9, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will also honor Christopher Conforti’s Frog (School of Visual Arts, New York City) and Joshua G. Beveridge’s Things That Go Bump in the Night (Ringling School of Art and Design).