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Napa Valley Film Festival Announces Grand Prize and Jury for New Animated Short Films Category Sponsored by Amazon Web Services

NAPA, California, June 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Brkly Studios Founder Neil Berkeley, and Atomic Fiction Co-Founder Ryan Tudhope and AWS Principle Data Scientist Matt Wood to award $10,000 in AWS credits to Best Animated Short Film at NVFF Awards Ceremony

New Animated Short Films Category Gives Filmmakers Free Access to AWS for Development and Rendering of Films; Submission Deadline is June 30

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

PRIZES & AWARDS - The Animated Short Films category, sponsored by AWS, is a competitive juried section of the third annual NVFF (November 13 - 17, 2013) and is presented in collaboration with AWS. 

- 1st Place- Best Animated Short Film, as chosen by the NVFF Jury. The Napa Valley Film Festival will award the winner of the Animated Short Film category, sponsored by AWS, $10,000 in AWS credits.

- Audience Award: Favorite Animated Short Film, as chosen by audience votes.

CATEGORY RULES - Films entered in the Animated Short Films category, sponsored by AWS, must be under 20 minutes in length and contain a significant amount of animation. All submitted films will have access to free trial credits provided by AWS to take advantage of infrastructure and computing services needed to complete the films. Film submissions are accepted through Without A Box (WAB) where filmmakers will also have instructions on how to set up a free AWS account and access the free credits as part of their registration for the competition.  Note: filmmakers may enter their film in any stage of completion, utilizing AWS to create a new film from scratch, or do a final polish on a short film near exhibition-ready, or anything in between. Entry through WAB must take place by the final deadline of June 30, 2013, and completed films must be received by NVFF by July 31, 2013.

Whether or not a specific submission is accepted by the Napa Valley Film Festival, all filmmakers who enter this category will be given the opportunity to have their completed films showcased by AWS in various AWS promotional activities. Filmmakers choosing to participate will grant AWS a non-exclusive perpetual license to use all final digital assets from submitted films, along with film names and filmmaker names, exclusively for such purpose, and not for any other purpose that might in any way hinder the filmmakers' own plans for marketing and exhibiting their films. The AWS sponsorship allows animation filmmakers two benefits: 1) experimenting with new rendering and file-sharing tools that support creativity and enhance productivity, and 2) broad exposure for and promotion of the filmmakers' new creative work. 

About the Animated Shorts Category Jury

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 most popular 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, SinCity, 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.

Napa Valley Film Festival Overview
The ultimate celebration of film, food and wine, the third annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF), November 13 - 17, 2013, will light up the picturesque towns of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga at the most colorful time of year. NVFF features over 100 new independent films screening in 12 eclectic venues throughout four walk-able villages, as 300 visiting filmmakers interact with audiences at screenings and intimate events. Enjoy film industry and culinary panel discussions, wine tasting pavilions, Festival Gala, Celebrity Tributes, Awards Ceremony, an array of parties, VIP receptions and winemaker dinners. For information or to buy passes, visit http://www.napavalleyfilmfest.org or call 707-226-7500. Advance lodging reservations are strongly recommended.

About the NapaValley Film Festival
The Napa Valley Film Festival is produced by Cinema Napa Valley, a registered 501c3 non-profit organization headquartered in Napa, California.  Recent Festival highlights included the world premiere of the highly anticipated wine documentary Somm, screenings of Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut Quartet and the Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook, Celebrity Tributes honoring heralded actors Alan Cumming, James Marsden and "Rising Stars" Imogen Poots and Adam Driver. In addition to producing the annual Festival, Cinema Napa Valley presents special film events throughout the year and provides support to student filmmaking efforts in Napa Valley schools via its Education and Outreach Programs.

Media contacts:  Erin Cain, erin@glodownead.com and Danielle Mayer, Danielle@glodownead.com at Glodow Nead Communications, +1(415)394-6500.

SOURCE Napa Valley Film Festival

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