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Babelgum online Film Festival winners revealed in Cannes

Spike Lee, head of the Jury, announced the winners of the first Babelgum Online Film Festival at a ceremony in Cannes during the 61st Film Festival.
Filmfestivals.com had partnered with Babelgum to help raise film submissions from the international audience.
Bruno Chatelin , co founder of filmfestivals.com commented during the evening to Spike Lee and Babelgum Chairman and Co-Founder Silvio Scaglia "our greatest satisfaction during tonight's ceremony was Ambroise Becchio's statement recognising he had found out about the contest from filmfestivals.com's newsletter"
Check Babelgum's Blog on fest21.com

The winning films are:


The Babelgum Looking For Genius Award: SOTTO IL MIO GIARDINO (UNDER MY GARDEN) by Andrea Lodovichetti (Italy)
The Babelgum Short Film Award: OFFICER DOWN by Richard Recco (USA)
The Babelgum Social/Environment Award: WITHOUT WORDS by Brian Deane (Ireland)
The Babelgum Animation Award: QUIDAM DEGOMME (A SHEEP ON A ROOF) by Rémy Schaepman (France)
The Babelgum Documentary Award: GREATER – DEFEATING AIDS by Emanuel Exitu (Italy)
The Babelgum Music Video Award: MOUTHFACE by Antonin de Bemels (Belgium)
The Babelgum Spot/Advertising Award: THE POCKET CROSSBORDER by Ambroise Becchio (France)

Aside from their Awards, the winning film-makers were each handed a cheque for €20,000 by Spike Lee.

Over a thousand entries from 86 countries were uploaded for this, the first Babelgum Online Film Festival (BOFF) on Babelgum, the new independent web TV platform available to anyone with broadband, reaching a potential global audience of 360 million.

The Babelgum Online Film Festival is the first of its kind, providing a unique distribution opportunity for up-and-coming filmmaking talent, encouraging the generation of new and original content.

Tens of thousands of Babelgum viewers participated, having their say on who will become the next big thing in filmmaking. A shortlist of 10 films was reached through a combination of factors: users’ votes, the amount of times a film is viewed, the amount of posts and comments and the number of times a film is linked.

The ten films rated highest by the public online were then viewed by members of a jury of industry experts, with the top two films in each category presented to Spike Lee - along with the film voted as the most popular overall by the Babelgum viewing public in each category - for Mr. Lee’s final selection of the winners.

“We're talking about a new era in film-making here,” commented Spike Lee. “I've viewed some very strong films in this competition. The Babelgum Online Film Festival has provided the opportunity for young film-makers to put their work in front of a global audience and to get feedback. Feedback is a healthy thing, whether it’s positive or negative. I can testify to that. From my experience you actually see more experimental, interesting stuff online than you do on TV or in theatres. That's because you're free to do what you want. It's not like you've got some suit or studio boss breathing down your neck. You might not have much money, but you do have the final cut.”
Babelgum Chairman and Co-Founder Silvio Scaglia added,”We have been delighted with the quality and variety of the films uploaded, and very excited about Babelgum’s contribution to the encouragement and support of young film-making talent around the world. Our thanks must go to our distinguished Jury and, of course, to the inspirational Spike Lee.”

Jury members consisted of Michel Gondry, musician, director, filmmaker and creative artist (France); Joe Bateman, Festival Director of the Rushes Soho Shorts Festival (U.K.); Ally Derks, Director of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (The Netherlands); Bhuvan Lall, Founder of the Indian Independent Filmmakers Worldwide Association (India); Tiziana Loschi, Managing Director of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Citia (City of Moving Images) (France); Joe Neulight, Co-Founder and President of Withoutabox (U.S.); Sandra Ruch, Executive Director of the International Documentary Association (U.S.); Teri Schwartz, Dean of the Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television (U.S.); James Mullighan, Creative Director of Shooting People (U.K.); and Carl Spence, Artistic Director of the Seattle International Film Festival and Director of Programming of the Palm Springs International Film Festival(U.S.); Stefano Martina, Director of Arcipelago, International Festival of Short Films and New Images (Italy) and Johannes Newrkla, founding member of the Art Directors Club of Europe (Austria).
Details on the winning films:


Category: LOOKING FOR GENIUS
Title: SOTTO IL MIO GIARDINO (UNDER MY GARDEN) (Italy)
Credits:
Director and Writer - Andrea Lodovichetti
Writers - Luca Caprara, Roberto Santini
Actors - Stefano Bottone, Alessandra Pellegrino, Max Amato, Katia Nani, Dino Spinella, Kasia Zurakowska, Gisella Spinelli
Producer - Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia
Synopsis: Marco, a 10-year old boy who has a passion for insects, is convinced that his neighbour has killed his wife and has buried her under his garden, the evidence being a large ant-nest he has been carefully examining for a while. He decides to carry out some investigations but only reveals his thoughts to his little friend, Sara.
Filmmaker Biog: Andrea Lodovichetti was born in Fano (Italy) in 1976. He graduated in Film Directing from the Experimental Centre of Cinematography – National School of Cinema in Rome. He has been assistant director to Paolo Sorrentino since 2005, including “L'Amico di Famiglia” (Family Friend) and "Il Divo" (in competition this year at Cannes). He has written and directed several shorts and won international awards and important prizes from all over the world. In particular, he was awarded the first prize at the European Emerging Film Makers festival and Best Short prize at Virginia International Film Festival for “Untitled, Storiesenzanome (a.k.a. Untitled, stories without a name)” in 2003. “Sotto il mio Giardino (Under my garden)” (2007)was one of the "most debated films" in the "on the lot" competition by Steven Spielberg. Founder with Luca Caprara of Lobecafilm, he has produced and shot several spots and documentaries.


Category: SHORT FILM
Title: OFFICER DOWN (USA)
Credits:
Director - Richard Recco
Producer - Patrick Curd
Synopsis: For non-believers, this is a compelling story about a bad cop turned good. For believers, it’s about faith working miracles. Whatever their religious leanings, this film scored so highly with Babelgum audiences that you could hardly see it for all the positive posts popping up on the screen.
Filmmaker Biog: Richard Recco has been a professional semi-figurative abstract painter since the age of 22. He graduated from the New York Film Academy for Screen-writing and Directing in 1995. Richard wrote 3,000 Miles To Graceland, a sixty million dollar action film released in 2001 which starred Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell, Christian Slater and Courtney Cox. He has several projects currently in development, including "Clark Street," a television series that takes place in Chicago during prohibition. Officer Down is Richard's directorial debut.


Category: SOCIAL/ENVIRONMENT
TITLE: WITHOUT WORDS (Ireland)
Credits:
Director and Writer - Brian Deane
Producer - Evelyn O’Reilly
Actors - Larry McGowran, Robert Kelly
Other - Katie Looney
Publisher - John Huston School of Film and Digital Media
Synopsis: We live in a world where technology has given us the tools to communicate but not the ability. Without Words is a very personal film about two close friends who have to pay a very high price for our failure as a society to connect.
Filmmaker Biog: Brian is a young Writer/Director from Cork in Ireland. Without Words is his first film and deals with a topic that’s very important to him. He is a recent graduate from the Huston School of Film and Digital Media in Galway in the West of Ireland. He is currently working on a number of projects including a short musical set in the West of Ireland.


Category: ANIMATION
Title: QUIDAM DÉGOMME (A SHEEP ON A ROOF) (France)
Credits:
Director and Writer - Rémy Schaepman
Producer - Georges Nawrocki
Other - Daniel Capeille
Publisher: Institut Sainte Geneviève
Synopsis: A man is confronted with the change of his day-to-day existence following the landing of a sheep on the roof of the house opposite. A surreal sequence of events unfolds, set to a foot-tapping soundtrack. The grey Paris metro takes on a whole new lease of life… but how does our main character react?
Filmmaker Biog: Rémy Schaepman was born in 1986 in the south of France. He is currently studying animation art at Gobelins, l'Ecole de l'Image, in Paris. A fan of Paul Grimault, Nick Park and Wallace and Gromit, Miyazaki, Pixar, Jacques Tati and Sean Penn, he loves seeing his drawings move on the screen and hearing the audience laugh out loud.


Category: DOCUMENTARY
Title: GREATER – DEFEATING AIDS (Italy)
Credits:
Filmmaker, Writer and Producer - Emmanuel Exitu
Synopsis: This is billed as a non-documentary and watching the way it pulls together various stories about a group of Ugandan women who are HIV positive, we soon realise that we’re seeing life there in a way we might not in the mainstream. Inspiring characters who are full of a zest for life tell us their stories, show us their dances and it feels by the end as though the filmmaker has been the vehicle by which we enter this particular world, rather than the person telling us how to perceive it.
Filmmaker Biog: Emmanuel Exitu was born in Italy, in Bologna. He moved to Rome where he worked as a screen writer. He also worked as a cinematographer for the Teatro di Documenti founded by Luciano Damiani, Luca Ronconi and Giuseppe Sinopoli. He made the film produced by Edwige Fenech from his first novel La Stella del Re. His first documentary, “Greater - Schiacciarel’AIDS” about Meeting Point International, founded by a nurse, Rose Busingye, and set in the slums of Kampala (Uganda), was awarded the Audience Award at the New York Aids Film Festival in 2007.


Category: MUSIC
Title: MOUTHFACE (Belgium)
Credits:
Director and actor - Antonin De Bemels
Other - Michael Fakesch
Synopsis: And what if you had three mouths instead of one? MOUTHFACE is a music video for Michael Fakesch (Funkstorung). Music = weird funky electronica. Video = web-cam style freaky self-portrait.
Filmmaker Biog: Antonin De Bemels is a video and audio artist from Brussels, Belgium. His main areas of interest are movement and the human body, and the dynamic relationship between sounds and images. Since 1997, he has made around 15 experimental short films, and has also created video backgrounds and soundtracks for contemporary dance pieces. "Mouthface" was created at the request of Michael Fakesch and the Fluctuating Images gallery in Stuttgart, Germany, and is to be released on a DVD compilation, along with creations by other visual artists.


Category: SPOT ADVERTISING
Title: THE POCKET CROSSBORDER (France)
Credits:
Director, Writer and Producer - Ambroise Becchio
Actor - Nicolas Russeil
Other - Linda Brisson, Laurent Gilli, Charlotte Graillat
Synopsis: An ad for the quick and easy and probably quite fun way of crossing a border – be a human cannonball. But don’t try this at home or on a border you can legitimately get across because helmet and armour are not included, ok? This film rocketed in the Babelgum audience’s views.
Filmmaker Biog: Ambroise Becchio was born on 17th January 1981 in the suburbs of Paris (Saint Maurice), France. His father is half Italian and his mother was a Russian refugee. He is bilingual in French and Russian. He developed a love for cinema and theatre as a young boy. He was amazed by the movies of Chaplin and would try to make people laugh by imitating him. When he was around 15 he began using his father’s Hi 8 video camera, and never looked back. He originally wanted to become a doctor but was so passionate about filmmaking that he failed his medical exams and enrolled in the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma français, where he graduated in 2003. He works with a group of filmmaking friends and together they write, shoot and edit with a passion.




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