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22/5/2008: FIRST BABELGUM WINNERS

The winners of the first Babelgum Online Film Festival were announced at a ceremony in Cannes during the 61st Film Festival this week by Spike Lee, head of the Jury, who also handed each of the seven winners a cheque for €20,000 ($32,638). Over a thousand entries from 86 countries were uploaded for this inaugural event (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 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.”

The winning films:
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 DĒGOMME (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)


The Jury: 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

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