This Way Up Wins at SIGGRAPH Asia

The inaugural SIGGRAPH Asia concluded last week in Singapore with the 2008 Computer Animation Festival Awards. This Way Up from U.K. animators Adam Smith and Alan Foulkes of Nexus Prods. was named Best of Show. The short film and two other winning works were chosen by a panel of industry experts based on their commendable use of computer-generated imagery, animation and storytelling.

This Way Up is an animated caper about a day in the life of A.T. Shank and son, two hapless undertakers who make their way across country with a coffin that just won’t stay put. The CG short was created for Mike Judge’s touring showcase, The Animation Show, and funded by the BBC.

A Jury Award was given to Kudan by Taku Kimura. A production of Links DigiWorks Inc. in Japan, the computer-animated fantasy film tells the story of a man who is accidentally transformed into a ‘Kudan,’ a Japanese monster which has a human head and the body of a cow. The creature speaks a human language, predicts war or disaster and dies in three days.

Another Jury Award went to Oktapodi, which took the top prize at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles, Calif. earlier this year. Created by Gobelins, l”cole de l’image students Julien Bocabeille, Francois-Xavier Chanioux, Olivier Delabarre, Thierry Marchland, Quentin Marmier and Emud Mokhberi, the slapstick comedy has two octopuses helping each other escape from the grasps of a stubborn restaurant cook.

‘Picking three winners from 685 entries to represent the best of animation techniques and creativity was a challenge,’ comments Computer Animation Festival chair Jinny Choo. ‘The entries submitted were from around the world, making SIGGRAPH Asia a truly global platform. The Computer Animation Festival itself saw overwhelming support from the industry and public alike, with close to 1,300 people attending the Electronic Theatre sessions. All of the shows were completely sold out.’

More than 3,200 artists, researchers, developers, gaming experts, filmmakers and academics gathered at Suntec City over four days to discover new products, talents, technology and techniques in the digital media industry. A total of 49 countries were represented in an array of thought-provoking works and breakthrough ideas presented at the show. The SIGGRAPH Asia 2008 Job Fair, produced by CreativeHeads.net, was also a big success with 20 studios from around the globe recruiting for more than 80 positions. Companies participating included Animal Logic, Double Negative Visual Effects, Lucasfilm, Pixar and Ubisoft, among others.

The next edition of SIGGRAPH Asia will take place Dec. 16-19 in Yokohama, Japan. The 2009 conference will be chaired by Masa Inakage, a professor of Environment and Information Studies and chair of the Media Design program at the Graduate School of Media and Governance at Keio University in Japan. An internationally renowned digital artist, director and producer, Inakage is one of Japan’s leading authorities on emerging technologies and digital entertainment content production. For more information about SIGGRAPH Asia 2008, go to www.siggraph.org/asia2008.