“The Lady of Names,” a family-friendly film directed by Adam Ciolfi of the Toronto suburb of North York, Ontario, was named Best Feature: Animation at the Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival.
The 85-minute stop-motion animation film was made by No Gasoline Productions. In it, a beautiful librarian discovers the power of magic when an ill-conceived wish catapults her into the world of fairy tales. She falls into the clutches of the Troll King, a monster obsessed with imprisoning all the fairy tale folk.
Her only hope for rescue is Zack Driscoll, a young handyman in love with her. Kidnapped by a pompous mushroom and an elfin creature, Zack braves goblin magic and the icy domain of the Memine in his quest towards the final showdown with the Troll King himself.
Meanwhile, Worlds Apart — created in a unique class called Project X at Sunnyvale, California’s Cogswell College — received the Best Short: Animation award at the festival.
Film director Michael Zachary Huber and Cogswell chancellor Chuck House attended the ceremony at the International House Ibrahim Theater to accept the award.
Part science fiction and part cautionary fairytale, Worlds Apart explores the universal themes of stewardship of nature and the fate of humanity. Worlds Apart asks the question, “Can humanity change its ways and save itself?”
The short was also nominated for Best Marketing “for an exceptional online trailer and proactive attitude of Cogswell College for submitting their students’ films to festivals, helping them get to their premieres, and promoting their work online.”
“One of the reasons for the success of Project X is the fact that it operates on a deep-running ideological premise,” said Huber. “That premise is that beauty in craftsmanship transcends time and space. Anyone from anywhere in the world can look at a beautiful piece of art or architecture and be inspired by it. There is an inherent truth in beauty and that fact can be appreciated from generation to generation. Project X strives to uphold these principals through the modern mix of art and technology that is digital animation.”
San Jose-area audiences will have the chance to see Worlds Apart at the upcoming San Jose Short Film Festival (sjshortfest.com), set for October 20 to 23, where the film is an “Official Selection.”
Said Stephanie Yuhas, the co-founder of Project Twenty1 and the Philadelphia Film and Animation Festival: “I’m blown away by the level of work coming from Cogswell College and greatly admire the mission of Project X. We’ve been running this festival since 2006, and I’ve never seen a film or animation come through our juries or screening panels of dozens of people with a “perfect 10” in every category.
“In other words, in our total library of about 650 films, some of which are features that have now received worldwide theatrical distribution, the student short Worlds Apart has received the highest scores. Whatever you’re doing over there in Sunnyvale, California — keep doing it; our audiences want more!”
Project X is a one-of-a-kind, project-based class at Cogswell College that is run like a professional animation production studio using teams of skilled artists and sound designers. Students work tirelessly for three semesters to produce a studio-quality short film. During production, they are supported by a massive collaborative effort from faculty, staff, visiting artists, industry professionals and alumni.
Also in the Best Short: Animation category, Gilded Age Gladiator and VICENTA tied for honorable mention. The Lighthouse also was nominated.
In the separate 21-Day Filmmaking Competition, Team Dragon Crest Productions won in the Best Animation category for Little Dudes. Other nominees were Friedman Equation, Squawks of Fury!, Family Tree and Go West.