The awards will be presented during the Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria, on September 4. Pistecky, a Czech-born Canadian, will receive the top prize in computer animation for his short film, Little Milosh, which tells the story of Little Milosh, a henpecked husband; his goat; and his cruel wife Babka. Although the animation follows the tradition of Czech animation and puppet theater, Pistecky created it using Discreet's 3D Studio Max.
Volckman, a young French filmmaker, will receive the top prize in visual effects for his film Maaz, an artistic work in which the main character moves through a city where reality and unreality melt into dream-like images.
Two Awards of Distinction in animation will also be presented. One will go to John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, and Ash Brannon of Pixar Animation Studios (Pt. Richmond, CA) for Toy Story 2, the comedy-adventure animation and box-office hit that takes place in a visually complex world created entirely with 3D graphics. The second will be awarded to Yasuo Ohba of Namco. (Yukohama, Japan) for Zen, an abstract work that, the animator writes, "presents the life of creatures hiding in computers."
Similarly, two Awards of Distinction will be given for visual effects. One will go to Markus Degen, a young, independent filmmaker from Vienna, for his film Disembodies, in which bizarre deformations of the human body are created with light and shadow computed in 3D space. The second award will be given to Pierre Buffin, Buf Compagnie (Paris), for innovative work on the Fight Club, in which camera movements impossible in the real world were created through the use of 3D computer graphics.
In addition, the jury selected 24 Honorary Mentions in computer animation and visual effects. The annual competition was made possible through the efforts of the ORF in Upper Austria and with the sponsorship of A-Online.
A selection of prize-winning images appears on the following pages. -Barbara Robertson
Golden Nica (Computer Animation). "Little Milosh" by Jakub Pistecky of Jp Animation, Vancouver, Canada.
Golden Nica (Visual Effects). "Maaz" by Christian Volckman of Onyx Films, Paris, France.
Award of Distinction (Computer Animation). "Toy Story 2" by John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, and Ash Brannon of Pixar Animation Studios, Pt. Richmond, California.
Award of Distinction (Computer Animation). "Zen" by Yasuo Ohba of Namco, Japan.
Honorary Mention (Computer Animation). "LowRider Crab" by Rolf Herken of Mental Images, Germany.
Award of Distinction (Visual Effects). "Disembodies" by Markus Degen, Vienna, Austria.
Honorary Mention (Visual Effects). "Audi Telematic" by Cornelia Unger of Velvet Mediendesign, Germany.
Honorary Mention (Visual Effects). "untitled" by Lisa Slates of Xaos, San Francisco, California.
Honorary Mention (Visual Effects). "Supernova" by Mark Stetson of Digital Domain, UK, and Venice, California.