Friday night was the concluding night of the 2020 SUPERNOVA Digital Film Festival, and to see it out a live awards event was held on Zoom. SUPERNOVA is the first film festival I’ve ever entered and I was delighted to hear, back in August, that STÖMOL had been selected for the main competition programme. I never expected it to win an award, but last night it took second place in this contest. Wow.
Event host and festival founder Ivar Zeile said of STÖMOL:
“I was stunned when I watched STÖMOL for the first time. I’ve seen some Second Life animations – we’ve really supported artists that are working in that platform over the years – and I didn’t believe I was going to be taken by a feature length film made in Second Life, but Huckleberry absolutely delivered the goods.
I have a big background in film throughout the course of my history and it felt like I’m really watching somebody who knows a lot about film and is shooting the entire piece through a virtual universe with tools that I think are just mind-blowing. I would really suggest listening to the interview with him because it reveals a lot of layers.”
The two hour event, which you should be able to watch in full here (there is also a video summary here), showcased the honourable mentions and award winners from the other programmes in the festival, including the Student Shorts programme (watching Natalie Nichols‘ reaction to her win for ‘Identity Crisis’ was pure joy) and the ‘World on Fire’ programme (won by Maja Gehrig‘s sublime ‘Average Happiness’), as well as a number of Performance Jam videos, the last of which – ‘Remnants \\X// Afrofuturism,’ a collaboration between Jeremy Grant, Matthew Langford and R Alan Brooks – certainly gave me plenty to think about as a creator of science fiction.
Throughout the event, Ivar provided review comments from judges for each of the entries presented. SUPERNOVA competition juror Kendra Fleischman said this about STÖMOL:
“It is a beautifully crafted piece where each scene is like a digital painting, with scenes reminiscent of Blade Runner and The Matrix. It is very detailed in labour intensive work with a great story. A huge team of people worked on this piece, and it shows in the incredible amount of detail in the environments, lighting and character design. The music soundtrack is edgy and fits the mood of the film. The story is engaging with an unexpected ending.”
Although the festival is now over, you can still watch entries at Supernova.video, a streaming service (which costs just $1.99 per month, with a free 7 day trial) which includes also entries from previous years. I subscribed myself this week, and can attest to the rich and stimulating variety of work that can be found there.
And, of course, you can still see STÖMOL for free on its YouTube page here.
SUPERNOVA 2020 has been a fantastic few weeks. My entry into the festival was a bit last-minute, but I’m so glad I overcame the usual New Thing Anxiety and completed it on time. I’d like to thank Ivar for the personal relationship he created in his communication with me (which can’t have been easy, given the number of artists entering the festival), which made the whole experience so much easier. Through SUPERNOVA, I kind of feel like I’ve entered into a new, vibrant and forward-facing community – and that’s a good feeling to have, especially in 2020.