SIGGRAPH 2005 Winners Named

ACM SIGGRAPH has announced the Best of Show Award and Jury Honors winners for its annual Computer Animation Festival. The 32nd Int’l conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques is being held July 31 through August 4 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Best of Show went to Shane Acker’s beautifully animated CG short, 9. As the film begins, a mechanical beast attacks two rag doll creatures as they scavenge the ruins of their world. After witnessing the death of his mentor, 5, the rag doll 9 must summon all its courage and cunning to confront the vile creature alone.

"Inspired by the work of stop-motion animation masters Jan Svankmeyer, The Brothers Quay and the Lauenstein Brothers, I sought to immerse the audience in a gritty, textural world inhabited by creatures composed of fabric scraps and bits of broken machinery," Acker explains. "The fantasy artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski and photographs of European cities destroyed in World War II inspired the scenic design. The non-verbal narrative is loosely based on the old English Poem Beowulf, and relies heavily on pantomime, combined with strong composition and staging to tell the story." More information on the film and its creator can be found at www.shaneacker.com.

With his latest CG short, Fallen Art, Polish filmmaker Tomek Baginski becomes the first two-time winner at the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival, having previously won Best Animated Short for his 2002 effort, The Cathedral. Jury Honors go to Fallen Art, which takes place on a decaying, forgotten military base in the Pacific where soldiers who have lost their minds due to the hardships of war have gathered to complete one final, macabre mission.

Fallen Art is a monumental film that takes us into the mind of a character who is creating art only for himself," Comments Samuel Lord Black, chairman of the 2005 Computer Animation Festival. "The jury lost themselves in the depths of this self-involvement–discussing back and forth if the artist creates the art, or the art creates the artist. This is a truly a thought-provoking piece that is more than worthy of this high recognition."

Jury Honors also go to La Migration Bigoudenn by Eric Castaing, Alexandre Heboyan and Fafah Togora Gobelins of L’École de L’Image in France. In the film, a gathering of Brittany ladies in traditional dress compete in a contest to cook the Breton specialty of crêpes of an ethereal lightness.

"French film students continue to show their creativity, talent and strength by winning Jury Honors for the third time in the past four years," Black notes. “This is both a beautiful and poignant story. Its lovely non-photorealistic style is strikingly evocative of a strange alien world, and its simplicity and brevity are goals that all filmmakers can meaningfully aspire to. The fact that this work was created by students makes it even more impressive."

The Computer Animation Festival jury selected the three award winners from 560 entries. A complete list of films selected for this year’s screenings can be found at www.siggraph.org/s2005/main.php?f=conference&p=caf.