Babelgum Online Film Festival

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The Babelgum Online Film Festival is the first web-based film festival by Internet TV startup Babelgum. Babelgum's mission in organising the festival is to promote independent filmmaking and provide a global showcase for budding filmmakers from all over the world.[1] On announcing the first edition of the festival, on September 1, 2007, Babelgum CEO Valerio Zingarelli described it as "an exciting project that will heighten awareness for Babelgum, attract quality films for the competition and give the public an important voice in identifying the next great filmmakers of our time.”.[2]

The 2nd edition of the Festival was announced on September 5, 2008 in Toronto, at the Toronto International Film Festival.[3]

The Babelgum Online Film Festival is chaired by US film director Spike Lee, who has remarked, "Now more than ever before, independent filmmakers need every bit of help to showcase their work. The Babelgum Online Film Festival will accomplish this, as it combines the value of a film festival with the openness of the Internet for those seeking to advance their careers.”.[2]

The festival jury also includes other international figures from the film industry (see below).

Competition Categories

The first edition of the festival, in 2007-2008, comprised seven competition categories: Short Film, Documentary, Animation, Social/Environment, Spot/Advertising, Music Video, and the Babelgum Looking for Genius Award for new or emerging talent. The winners in each category were awarded a prize of €20,000.[4]

The second edition, 2008–2009, has four competition categories: Short Film, Documentary, Animation and Mini Masterpiece. The latter category is for films of up to 5 minutes in length, with a quirky or original style.[5]

Submission and Judging Process

Entries are required to be professionally produced films but the Festival is also open to film students, as specifically requested by Spike Lee.[6]

Films entered to the first edition were shown on a dedicated channel on Babelgum and users were asked to rate the entries. The jury then viewed 10 highest-rated entries in each category, and chose the top three in each category to present to Spike Lee. Lee made the final selection and presented the winners with their awards at a ceremony on May 20, 2008.[7]

According to the Babelgum website for the first edition the jury members, in addition to Spike Lee, included:

Also announced on the Babelgum blog as a late addition to the jury was acclaimed French director Michel Gondry, who judged the Music Video category.[8]


The winners of the first Babelgum Online Film Festival were chosen from the finalists by Spike Lee, who presented them with their prizes at the awards ceremony at Le Baoli restaurant in Cannes, France on May 20, 2008. The awards ceremony was hosted by presenters Kris & Kris.

As announced on the Babelgum blog,[9] the winners in the 7 categories were:

  • Animation Award: Rémy Schaepman (France) for Quidam Dégomme ("A Sheep on the Roof")
  • Documentary Award: Emanuel Exitu (Italy) for Greater - Defeating AIDS
  • Looking for Genius Award: Andrea Lodovichetti (Italy) for Sotto il mio giardino ("Under my garden)"
  • Music Video Award: Antonin De Bemels (Belgium) for Mouthface
  • Short Film Award: Richard Recco (US) for Officer Down
  • Social/Environment Award: Briane Deane (Ireland) for Without Words
  • Spot/Advertising Award: Ambroise Becchio (France) for The Pocket Crossborder

Each winner won a sculpted glass award and 20,000 (US$31,000) prize money.[10]


External links