Gorillaz Swing at Imagina Awards

The animated video for the Gorillaz song ‘El Manana’ took the Grand Prix at the 2007 Imagina Awards in Monaco. Held yesterday at the Grimaldi Forum, the ceremony recognized digital film and television work in nine categories including animation and visual effects. Other winners include DreamWorks’ Over The Hedge, which took the Prix de l’Animation, and Eurocorp’s Arthur and the Invisibles (Arthur et les Minimoys), which was named best feature film.

Produced in the U.K., the Gorillaz piece was directed by Pete Candeland and Jamie Hewlett, with post-production work by Passion Pictures and RUSHES. Hewlett, co-creator of the comic book Tank Girl, created Gorillaz with Damon Albarn of the rock band Blur. Real musicians create the music but the songs are seen performed by animated characters known as 2D, Murdoc, Noodle and Russel. The video also won the Prix Clip Vid’o award at Imagina.

Directed by Luc Besson (Leon: The Professional, La Femme Nikita), Arthur and the Invisibles got some love after being dismissed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for having too much live-action footage. The animated portions were brought to the screen by French CG house BUF Compagnie.

The award for visual effects went to 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: The Last Stand, which beat out a number of CG-intensive blockbusters. Weta Digital was singled out for its work on the third installment in the film franchise based on the Marvel comic-book property. Weta also nabbed the Prix du Film Publicitaire for its work on the Travelers commercial titled ‘Snowball,’ directed by Dante Ariola of MJZ-Los Angeles.

Axis Animation and The Mill in the U.K. took home the award for best short film with Codehunters, directed by Ben Hibon. Meanwhile, Supinfocom Valenciennes grads Fran’ois-Xavier, Edouard Jouret and Matthieu Landour walked away with the student award for their short film En Tus Brazos. Another French student entry, Burning Safari from Les Gobelins grads Vincent Aupetit, Florent Delataille, Jeanne Irzenski, Maxime Maleo, Aur’lien Predal and Claude-William Trebutien, was given the Special Jury Prize.

Aimed at celebrating European digital content creation, the Imagina conference and competition kicked off on Jan. 31 and ended on Feb. 2. More than 22 countries participated in this year’s event, which featured presentations of 30 blockbusters including Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Warner Bros.’ Happy Feet and Disney/Pixar’s Cars. More information can be found at www.imagina.mc.