In February, and thanks to Jayjay Zifanwe, I carried an article about Project Homeless 2014, a Challenge run by Screen My Shorts Incorporated and the University of Western Australia in partnership with, and sponsored by, the Parramatta City Council.
As I went on to report at the start of the month, no fewer than four entries from noted Second Life film-makers had been selected as finalists in the competition, with a chance of winning in both the machinima and the overall film categories.
The selected SL finalists were: Rysan Fall, Tutsy Navarathna, Vilvi Rae and Secret Rage.
Project homeless invited film-makers of all ages cultures and ability were invited to submit original creative digital content (conventional film and / or machinima) of between 3 and 10 minutes in length, and based on one of 22 themes on the subject of homelessness. Entrants were asked to nominate two of the themes they would like to film, were then allocated one of their two choices and given 30 days in which to submit a completed film on their allocated theme, either as an individual or team entry. Prizes for the competition amount to $10,000 Aus (L$2.28 Million) cash and prizes, with at least $700 Aus reserved for Machinima.
The awards ceremony took place at the Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia, on Friday July 11th, and was attended by some 250 people. Three of the films submitted by the SL film-makers took the top three prizes in the machinima section of the competition, with one of them also awarded the 2nd Runner-up prize overall.
Rysan Fall’s Invisible City, a powerful mixed format piece, featuring homeless people discussing their situations, their lives and their history, and represented by Second Life avatars, took the Best Machinima prize and was awarded the 2nd Runner-up prize overall.
Taking the 1st Runner-up prize in the machinima section of the completion was Tutsy Navarathna’s Homeless. Combining footage shot in India and in Second Life, this film focuses on the growing disparities between the really poor of the world and the very small minority of the very rich, as well as touching on those who have made homelessness a spiritual choice.
Vilvi Rae took the 2nd Runner-up prize in the machinima section for Sun Dog, an examination of homelessness among young people as its theme, focusing on estimates that around one-quarter of homeless young people in Western countries identify as LGBT, and who cite conflict at home as the main reason for leaving and taking to the streets.
Commenting on the success of his film in both categories, Rysan Fall said:
I can’t express how overjoyed I am at how well this film was received. This is such a serious subject and I wanted to be respectful in the way I presented the message. The message I was trying to convey was that it can happen to anyone. Even through no fault of their own. I was extremely excited to hear that “Invisible City ” came in first in the machinima competition. But I was even more excited to hear that it placed 3rd in the mainstream film competition. It was great to see a machinima film judged alongside real life films. I am honored to be part of such a worthwhile and important film contest.
The overall winner of the competition was Peacekeeper by Joshua Hoareau, the reflections of a former Australian Peacekeeper on his time served in Africa during peacekeeping operations. This entry also took the North Bondi RSL Prize for best film on Returning Veterans.
Congratulations to Rysan for Invisible City in both winning the machinima section and being so highly placed in the mainstream competition, and also to both Tusty and Vilvi. The full awards list can be found on the Screen My Shorts website. A final set of congratulations of course go to the overall winner.
Second Life machinima makers should keep their eyes on the UWA Second Life Blog for upcoming news on the next UWA machinima competition – MachinimUWA VII: Transcending Borders, which is set to have a prize pool of at least L$500,000. I’ll also have the details of the competition available on these pages, once announced.
With thanks to Jayjay Zifanwe.