Thursday, October 14th, 2010 Posted by Jim Thacker

Watch the Animatron award winners online

Babelgum has announced the winners of its first ever Animatron international online film festival.

The winning shorts, which each take home between $2,000 and $5,000 in prize money, were chosen by a jury including Rhythm & Hues India founder Saraswathi Balgam, Nexus Productions founder Charlotte Bavasso, A Scanner Darkly producer Tommy Pallotta and indie animation legend Bill Plympton.

Once Were Farmers’ live-action/3D short ‘This is J03’ took the prize in the Fantasy category. The tale of an 8-bit game character adrift in the modern world boasts a distinctively clean, simple look and a rather heartwarming final twist. (Update: the link above now shows the entire movie rather than just the first two minutes.)

Lucas Martell’s much-praised Pigeon Impossible carried off the Humor award. The short sees a hungry pigeon almost bringing about the apocalypse, thanks to a bagel-munching secret agent and his highly classified government laptop.

Dave Anderson’s Dog Judo: Meat Sprinkles took the honours in the Minis category. In it, two pooches (judo skills not much in evidence) discuss the merits of the titular flesh-flavoured teatime treat over hunting one’s own food.

Dustin Grella’s painstaking chalkboard animation Prayers for Peace carried off the Real Life category. Created in memory of Grella’s younger brother, killed in action in Iraq, the fleeting images become a rather apt metaphor for the transience of human life.

Last but not least, Knife Party’s Coalition of the Willing won the festival’s Grand Jury Award. The 16-minute protest film, assembled by an international tag team of animators and multimedia artists depicts an “online war against global warming” in a post-Copenhagen-summit world.

All in all, a varied selection of shorts, and we wish the festival well for next year. With a further $500 for the runner up in each category, Animatron is one indie animators would do well to keep an eye on.

View the runners up and other entrants on the Babelgum Animatron festival site