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Napa Valley Film Festival Adds New Category as Part of 2013 NVFF

June 15, 2013


The Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) announced a new category as part of the 2013 NVFF (Nov. 13-17): Animated Short Films, sponsored by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

According to a release, the new category will encourage animated short film submissions and the use of technology that helps bring the filmmaker's vision to life. By showcasing the best in animated filmmaking, NVFF and AWS will provide the digital animation community with a platform for their artistic concepts and vision within this medium. Working together, the companies will shine a light on the raw talent of the filmmaker-artists and incorporate the use of cloud technology as they complete their digitally animated short films. NVFF and AWS are also providing filmmakers with an educational forum with access to industry mentors and game-changing technology to help nurture their careers. A Jury comprised of Brkly Studios Founder Neil Berkeley, Atomic Fiction Co-Founder Ryan Tudhope, and AWS Principle Data Scientist Matt Wood will award $10,000 in AWS credits to the Best Animated Short Film on Sunday, November 17 at NVFF's Closing Night Awards Ceremony.

NVFF Executive and Artistic Director Marc Lhormer said, "We welcome the opportunity to work together with Amazon Web Services on this exciting new collaboration and look forward to showcasing cutting-edge animated films at the Napa Valley Film Festival."

Matt Wood, Principle Data Scientist for AWS, said, "AWS is helping filmmakers from around the world to power the rendering of digital effects or entire digital animated movies. In the past, if a filmmaker wanted to make a film, they had to gain capital to acquire the technology. Then to render digital images, they had to buy farms and farms of servers to handle the large compute capacity. But with AWS, filmmakers can get started with near-instant infrastructure, use AWS's massive computing power to drive higher quality effects, letting digital effects artists and digital filmmakers focus on the creativity of their craft versus the infrastructure required to run it. We're excited to support NVFF and the film community, and to see the types of dynamic new films that will be developed with AWS."

The Animated Shorts Category Jury includes:

Matt Wood

In his role at Amazon Web Services, Matt Wood helps teams of all sizes bring their ideas to life through technology. With a background in the life sciences and a focus on big data and high performance computing, Matt helps AWS customers take advantage of utility computing at scale, to do more with their data, at a lower cost.

Neil Berkeley

Neil Berkeley is a director living in Los Angeles has been working in film and television for over ten years developing content and packaging for some of TV's shows including Project Runway, Top Chef, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, America's Next Great Restaurant, Bravo's Work of Art and many more. Berkeley has also been design producer for several documentaries including The Cool School, Johnny Cash's America, Air Guitar Nation and Respect Yourself: The Story of Stax Records.

Berkeley released his first feature length documentary, Beauty Is Embarrassing, in 2012. The film chronicles the life of artist Wayne White and had its premiere at SXSW in March of '12. Neil is currently working on his second documentary, which will feature writer, Dan Harmon. Berkeley has been operating his design-based production company, BRKLY, since the summer of 2009. As owner and principal creative Berkeley directs all of the company's live action productions and acts as creative lead on their various projects.

Ryan Tudhope

Ryan Tudhope is co-founder and visual effects supervisor of Atomic Fiction, a studio specializing in digital characters and effects for major motion pictures, cinematics and commercials. Tudhope has supervised or produced visual effects on numerous films including Flight, Looper, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Superman Returns, Sin City, Hellboy and the Academy Award-winning Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man ' s Chest. On the commercial front, Tudhope has supervised visual effects for clients including Sony, IBM, Disney, Nike and the US Navy.

Earlier in his career, Tudhope parlayed his interest in film and computer graphics into a job at Skywalker Ranch just days after his high school graduation. Once there, he worked directly with George Lucas, designing key sequences for Star Wars: Episode One. He is a Visual Effects Society Bay Area board member, has been featured on numerous panels and publications and actively speaks to promote school-to-career programs, advice on entering the workforce and the use of technology in the classroom.

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