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. 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.”.
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.”.
The festival jury also includes other international figures from the film industry (see below).
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.
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.
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.
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.
According to the Babelgum website for the first edition the jury members, in addition to Spike Lee, included:
- Joe Bateman, Director of the Rushes Soho Shorts Festival (UK)
- Ally Derks, Director of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
- Bhuvan Lall, Founder of the Independent Indian Filmmakers Worldwide Association (India)
- Tiziana Loschi, Managing Director of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival/Citia (France)
- Joe Neulight, Co-founder and President of Withoutabox (US)
- Johannes Newrkla, Founding Member of the Art Directors Club of Europe (Austria)
- Sandra Ruch, Executive Director of the International Documentary Association (US)
- Teri Schwartz, Dean of the Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television (US)
- James Mullighan, Creative Director of Shooting People (UK)
- Carl Spence, Artistic Director of the Seattle International Film Festival (US)
- Stefano Martina, Director of "Arcipelago", International Festival of Short Films and New Images (Italy)
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, 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
- "Babelgum's Contrarian Approach to Web TV". Business Week. September 4, 2007. http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2007-09-04/babelgums-contrarian-approach-to-web-tvbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice.
- Reelot: Home
- Punter, Jennie (September 7, 2008). "Spike Lee launches Babelgum". Variety.com. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117991813.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&nid=2562.
- Babelgum - The new global Internet television network
- Babelgum Online Film Festival minisite
- "Babelgum welcomes Spike Lee to chair The Babelgum Online Film Festival Jury". Fest21.com. November 19, 2007. http://www.fest21.com/blog/babelgumonlinefilmfestival/babelgum_welcomes_spike_lee_to_chair_the_babelgum_online_film_festival_jury.
- "Spike Lee on Internet TV's Reach". Business Week. September 4, 2007. http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/sep2007/gb2007094_132928.htm.
- "Cannes 2008 Exclusive: Michel Gondry Joins Babelgum Jury". Rotten Tomatoes. May 16, 2008. http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/m/cannes_film_festival_2008/news/1728414/.
- "Babelgum Online Film Festival Winners Announced". Babelgum Blog. May 20, 2008. http://www.babelgum.com/blog/?p=168.
- "Lodovichetti tops Babelgum nods". The Hollywood Reporter, the Daily from Cannes (Cannes) (8): p. 4. 2008-05-21.