Announcing Audience Awards’ 2018 Animation Shorts Film Festival Winners

August 2, 2018

Every year, Audience Awards hosts the Animation Shorts Film Festival to showcase the best-animated shorts on the map. Congratulations to the top three jury-selected winning films from this year’s 2018 Animation Shorts Film Festival.

In the First Place film, FlyTrap by Connor Bland, Charles falls into a germaphobic hysteria as he struggles to live under the unsanitary habits of his roommate. Bland, M.F.A. student at UCLA’s Animation Workshop, shared with some of the difficulties behind creating FlyTrap. Bland explained,

The biggest difficulty with the film was less-so trying to capture the aesthetic and mood of the film, but more-so STICKING TRUE to the horror genre. At times I thought of maybe lightening the film down, but had to keep reminding myself that going bold with the central tone will be worth it. I had this constant worry/fear that people will find this completely comedic for some reason (maybe it’s because I’ve seen this film over 200 times and am not creeped out by my own work). Another huge difficulty was knowing how to end the film. While the narration stayed entirely the same, I changed the whole narrative ending two weeks before the deadline to screen at UCLA’s Film Festival, so I sort of made my life much more stressful. I had a spontaneous decision of “less is more” mentality, and the idea of the audience never actually knowing what truly conspired felt like the best, and most unnerving, move to make.

FlyTrap by Connor Bland

FlyTrap by Connor Bland

The second place films is Fears by Nata Metlukh. In the film, fears are visible constant companions of their owners. The creatures can make people’s lives more difficult, but they can also be very useful. Metlukh shared with us her ideas behind making the film and some information about her upcoming dramatic comedy.

Fears was my first film ever, it was a student graduation project and there was very limited time to make it. Fortunately, the story itself was quite simple, and I had a solid plan how to achieve that certain visual look, so everything went as planned. The fears topic was interesting to investigate, as everyone is afraid of something, and there should be some practical usefulness in such emotions. I hope it was shown more or less clearly in the film. Now I’m in the beginning of production of my next film also featuring people’s emotions, but in a specific field of immigration. This year it will be a 10-year anniversary of my own immigration from Ukraine to US, and I want to depict all the struggles and challenges of a person moving to another country. It will be something between drama and comedy and hope it will be interesting to watch.

The third place film, Spell of the West by Sam Lane takes place on an isolated cacti farm where three stressed out birds ask a cowgirl to help put a stop to the elusive Ax-Man. Lane talked with us about the triumphs and difficulties to making the film.

One of the difficulties I had while making this film was learning how to function correctly on low sleep. During the making of the film there were a few weeks of 3AM and 4AM work nights, and it really started to affect me. There was a morning where, in a half-asleep daze, I decided to move some files around on my computer. I ended up deleting half of the film. At that point, I hadn’t backed anything up nd flew into a complete panic. Then I remembered that earlier in the week I had emailed a 4k version of the film to my sound designer and ended up being able to recover the film. However, lack of sleep also led to my triumphs. I finished the film on the last day of school before summer break and was alone in the computer lab except for my friend Jonni, who voiced the Yellow Bird. At 1AM I felt ready to give up, but Jonni made us get burgers and fries to power through. She stayed up with me until 3AM until I finished the final shot, and was the first person to see the completed film. We celebrated in the lab together.

The winners were decided on by the global audience and the Animation Shorts jury panel including Alison Mann, whose 16 years in the industry gained her experience in TV, Film and Gaming while working at Walt Disney Animation Studio, Zynga, Disney Interactive, and Paramount Pictures Animation. Currently, Alison is the VP Talent at Illumination Entertainment; Ian Durkin is a Senior Curator at Vimeo. Since 2011, Ian has watched hundreds of thousands of films and helped select the world’s very best for the Vimeo Staff Picks Channel. Outside of Vimeo, Ian works as a commercial director and Editor. Jill Gilbert, Head of Animated Content at Luma. Prior to joining Luma, Gilbert was Executive Producer and Managing Director for Psyop, an innovative animation studio working with such clients as Coke, Nike, Samsung, AMC and Super Cell. From late 2011 until early 2014, Gilbert was Vice President of Production for the newly launched feature animation division at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood.

A huge thanks to our community of creatives and filmmakers who submitted to the 2018 Animation Shorts Film Festival, and a hearty congratulations to all the winners! We look forward to seeing the top three films premiere at AudFest 2019!

ABOUT AUDIENCE AWARDS: Audience Awards provides filmmakers with the opportunity to change the world through stories, win prizes and build an audience. Films are judged by industry professionals and the global audience. We are committed to providing a stage for diverse, emerging talent and their work. Our platform is dedicated to celebrating the power of storytelling and building an audience. Created by filmmakers, for filmmakers, Audience Awards offers an invaluable platform for exposure. Our filmmakers don’t just gain exposure – like press and social media engagement – but also opportunities to accelerate their careers. Learn More:


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