Nicktoons Film Festival Names Grand-Prize Winner

The Nicktoons Film Festival, produced by Frederator Studios and Animation Magazine, concluded over the weekend with the final selections of winners and runners-up. The animation fest aired on Nickelodeon’s digital channel, Nicktoons, over the course of 12 weeks and showcased the diversity of independent cartoon filmmaking by animators from around the globe.

Filmmakers Mark Simon and Travis Blaise of Orlando, Fla., were awarded the $10,000 Grand Prize for their short film, Timmy’s Lessons in Nature, a 2D-animated, comedic look at what not to do when venturing into the outdoors.

"Timmy’s Lessons in Nature is an excellent example of getting the most out of very little," comments Nicktoons Film Festival judge Eric Goldberg, Animation Director for Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes: Back in Action. "The character designs were intrinsically funny–half the battle in making an audience laugh–and the timing of the gags is superb."

Presented with the Producers’ Choice Award and a prize of animation software was Elizabeth Ito for Welcome to My Life. The CalArts student film uses black and white, hand-drawn images and a Creature Comforts approach to explore the daily lives of misunderstood monsters.

Eight finalists were also chosen from the hundreds of entries received for the network’s first-ever film festival. They are:

Charlie and Chunk by Eric Fogel, Rockville Centre, NY

April by Jiwook Kim, Valencia, Calif.

Bert by Moonsung Lee, White Plains, NY

Skippy by Amanda Spalinski, Valencia, Calif.

Robot Family: The Slick Salesman by Chris Harding, Prairie Village, Kan.

Medusa: The First Date by Pierce Davison, Leederville, Australia

Kenya by Jonti Picking, London, England

Polygon Family 2 by Hiroshi Chida, Tokyo, Japan

The Nicktoons Film Festival filmmakers were asked to submit animated shorts no longer than seven minutes that combined a unique look, great character designs and a funny plot. Goldberg was joined on the panel of Grand Jurors by John Kricfalusi, creator of Ren & Stimpy, and Gabor Csupo, founder and co-chairperson of Klasky Csupo.

"We’re excited to recognize and reward up-and-coming filmmakers for such creative and outstanding work," says Nicktoons VP and general manager Keith Dawkins. "We had an overwhelming response from the call for entries and we look forward to continuing this project and finding the next generation of talent in the years to come."

"The filmmakers in the Nicktoons Film Festival represent the most original cartoons in the world, and we’re proud to offer them a national showcase," commented Fred Seibert, president of Frederator Studios and exec producer of the festival. "We congratulate the winners and look forward to seeing their future work."

"We screened hundreds of films from more than a dozen countries and our winners reflect the diversity of styles, influences and stories of today’s global culture," notes Rita Street, managing director of Radar Cartoons, who produced The Nicktoons Film Festival with Eric Homan, VP of creative affairs for Frederator Studios. Christina Vann of Nicktoons is the exec in charge of production.