Boccara and Navarantha share top prize at MachinimUWA III

Tutsy Navarantha's winning machinima was shown along with Baccara's after the awards were given.

With UWA in SL Founder and Director Jayjay Zifanwe, fair is fair. So when two artists tied for first prize of the MachinimUWA III: Journeys competition, he simply combined the L$70,000 2nd prize with the L$100,000 grand prize, and split it between the two winners: Eric Boccara’s JURONEY and Tutsy Navarantha’s JOURNEY INTO THE METAVERSE.

Zifanwe is famous for his lack of tie-breaking, so the audience was amused rather than surprised. The two winning films are rich narratives, and technically beautiful in terms of sound and effects. Boccara’s film uses sound clearly influenced by George Lucas; while Navarantha’s mixed reality approach wowed the audience as well as the judges. The awards gala was held this morning at the stunning UWA-BOSL Amphitheatre, designed by Patch Thibaud.

The UWA-BOSL Amphitheatre, designed by Patch Thibaud

All the judges – myself included – were definitely challenged in whittling down the 50 films entered to a top 10 list. There were certainly some standout films, including my personal favourite, Bryn Oh’s RUSTED GEARS. I wasn’t alone in this, as Oh took the Peter Greenaway Prize, selected by the director himself, who called the film “simple and elegant”, and said “It was the one I wanted to watch over and over again… and that is the highest praise I can give.”

The day began with a performance by the dance troupe “Laurina Hawkes and the Phoenix Embers Showcats”, a lively and colourful spectacle choreographed by Hawkes, who won the first machinima challenge.

Laurina Hawks and the Phoenix Ember Showcats

This was followed by an inspiring talk by Greenaway, who discussed (among other things) the notion that film is not an image-based media, since its origins are largely text-based (they start “in the bookstore!” he proclaimed). He suggested machinima were a great way to move forward into thinking about film as being born of the visual, something which can be clearly seen in the winning films. I certainly hope Greenaway’s talk will be posted on Metaverse TV, who filmed the event, for all to see.

The pixel version of acclaimed film director Peter Greenaway gave the opening remarks.

The SL arts organisation Open This End sponsored five Awards of Excellence in Film (@L$3,000 each), going to:

  • BRYN OH (Toronto, Canada) – Rusted Gears
  • HYPATIA PICKENS (Rochester, New York, USA) – KAPHD
  • CECIL HIRVI (Citizen of the Universe) – Warriors of Aliveness
  • ARROW INGLEWOOD (Toronto, Canada) – Bakerman’s Journey
  • ED VESPUCCIANO (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – The Marine Corps Does Not Want Robots

Open This End also sponsored five Awards of Excellence in Directing (@L$3,000), and these went to:

  • AL PERETZ [ALFONSO KOHN] (Miami, Florida) – Unplugged
  • ANIMATECHNICA UMBARUNDU (Northern California, USA) – The Egg
  • ERIC BOCCARA (Velp, Netherlands) – Juroney
  • PIA KLAAR (Brewster, Massachusetts, USA) – The Red Shoes

“And because they are great believers in supporting the development of machinima from the grassroots up,” said Jayjay Zifanwe, Open This End also sponsored ten Emerging Artist Awards of Excellence (@L$3,000), and these went to:

  • ANDY GRAYCLOUD (Moscow, Russia) – I Want to Go Fast
  • ANRI EMERALD (Riga, Latvia) – The journey of life and death
  • FUSCHIA NIGHTFIRE (Dorset, UK) – Take the Road Less Travelled
  • KOBUK FARSHORE (Alaska, USA) – Requiem & Home
  • LASLOPANTOMIK YAO (Barcelona, Spain) – Beginning of Knowledge and of Sorrow
  • MIMESIS MONDAY (Oslo, Norway) – Yourney
  • NICOLEX MOONWALL (New Orleans, USA) – Journey Into
  • OONA EIREN (London, UK) – Onward & Upward
  • SILENE CHRISTEN (The Balears Islands, Spain) – Lost Souls’ Island
  • TAUBCHEN SONNENKERN & MERIT COBA (both of Alkmaar, Netherlands) – Object

Another tie was seen in the honourable mentions for the grand prize: “The judges were hopelessly deadlocked. And so it was, that we had a tie for the Honourable Mention Prize, which becomes L$18,575 each!” REQUIEM by Kobuk Farshore and THE JOURNEY by Soda Lemondrop shared the generous prize.

There were 7 special prizes of L$37,150 each given out in the following themed categories:

JOURNEY AND MACHINIMA ADAPTATION: went to the thought-provoking story THE EGG by Animatechnica Umbarundu. Zifanwe commented, “Very very much a favourite of many, containing one of my favourite phrases ‘The Hindus Were Right’!”

The award for ‘FEEL’ & MUSIC went to another of my personal favourites, BAKERMAN’S JOURNEY by Arrow Inglewood. While so many of the submissions were about an avatar’s journey through SL, this one, shot like a music video, was very clever in its use of the quirky Bakerman and a very catchy tune to make a highly entertaining short film.

The award for IMAGERY went to the beautiful BEGINNING OF KNOWLEDGE AND OF SORROW by Laslopantomik Yao, while NARRATION AND HISTORICAL CONTENT went to Hypatia Pickens for KAPHD, an intense narrative of a mystical tale taken from the life of the 12th c. monastic writer, composer and philosopher Hildegard von Bingen.

“I am so happy!!! THANK YOU!!!” shouted Pickens at her win.

ESCAPE by Veruca Vandyke received the award for MESSAGE AND IMAGINATION. About this machinima, Zifanwe eloquentedly commented, “In books we find the soul of the universe. Thank you for reminding us of that.”

The final MachinimUWA III Special Award went to WARRIORS OF ALIVENESS by Cecil Hirvi for INTERPRETATION AND DELIVERY. It can be viewed here.

Finally, the grand prizes for the MachinimaUWA III were announced. In addition to Boccara and Navarantha taking top prize, L$50,000 was awarded to Al Peretz (Alfonso Kohn) of Miami, Florida, for his stunning mixed reality short UNPLUGGED.

A complete list of all entries, plus the transcript of the ceremony, can be found at the UWA in SL blog. Congratulations to the winners, and well done to ALL the entrants. You made judging a difficult (but highly enjoyable) task indeed!

Enjoying the machinima.

Photos by PJ Trenton, see more at his flickr set.

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