A day after the Webby’s Film and Video gala in downtown New York City, Channel Frederator announced the winners of its second annual Channel Frederator Awards without much hullabaloo. Due to some logistical snafus, an official ceremony for the winning animations from filmmakers around the globe never came together. So, instead, Justin Johnson and the Frederator team rented out all of NYC and used it as a backdrop to announce who won and to give viewers a taste of each short:

Channel Frederator will show the winning animations over the show’s next eight installments, a couple winners at a time.

It’s still too bad they didn’t have a party. The event last year in LA was a blast. Tilzy.TV was there to witness it, but we didn’t have this site up yet to post our findings.

Take a look below to see what the scene was like last year at an awards ceremony that wasn’t in any way about awards.

###On Wednesday evening, a day after the Oscar nominations were announced, an awards ceremony was held just a few blocks away from the Kodak theater. Yet despite its proximity, this award ceremony shared very little with the Oscars. First off, if you were familiar with the films honored that evening, it would have been by virtue of your I-Pod rather than the silver screen. Second, and perhaps most striking, while the Oscars enjoys extending its awards ceremony a couple of hours past the point of reason, this awards ceremony never actually got around to having the awards ceremony itself.

Channel Frederator is a site devoted to highlighting the talent of animated filmmakers from around the world. Each week, three or four short animation films are selected from a pool of submissions and are made available for pod casting. And on Wednesday evening, Channel Frederator attempted to hold it’s first annual Channel Frederator Awards, honoring the best of a year’s worth of films.

As I made my way down to the Cinespace in Hollywood, I was not entirely sure what to expect. I was reminded of the awkward clips shown during the Oscar telecast, when they announce that a ceremony for scientific and technical awards had been held earlier and at a different location. Images of Peter Jackson look-alikes clutching their awards and celebrating the one day a year they get to leave the house flashed through my mind.

When I arrived, however, there was not a single Peter Jackson in sight. Rather, an eclectic group of people dressed in everything from dinner jackets to cowboy hats waited to get in. Most people did not seem to know each other, and almost no one I spoke to had any idea what to expect.

Once inside, I was surprised by the ease in which the crowd of strangers managed to jell. Eavesdropping on a few conversations, I found that the vast majority of what was being discussed was completely incomprehensible to me: high tech animation shoptalk that I will spare my spell check from trying to discern. What stood out, however, was that every conversation started the same way. “So good to finally meet you. I loved your film!”

As it turns out, despite having never met each other, this was not a crowd made up of strangers. They had seen and admired each other’s work, knew each other’s animation style and story telling methods. The night was not about meeting people for the first time. It was about replacing the animated face of the creation with the human face of the creator.

Surprisingly, the night seemed also to not be about the films themselves. While the films were playing on screens in the background, they were doing so silently and without much attention. But these films truly demand attention. They range from the haunting and surreal (Bendito Machine), to the CGI action adventure (Rock Fish), to just plain fun (Everybody Else Has Had More Sex Then Me).

The budgets on these films ranged as well, from one dollar to one million. But they are all superbly crafted, delightful representations of what Channel Frederator, and the short animated film genre, has to offer. A link to the award winners can be found below. There is not wrong mouse click among them.

But as Wednesday night crept slowly towards Thursday morning, I began to wonder if perhaps the Channel Frederator Awards had forgotten it’s own awards ceremony. A large stage sat empty at the back of one of the rooms as people continued to mingle and drink freely. Had they all gotten so caught up in conversation that they forgot why they came together in the first place? So I went to find answers from the source. I went to look for Fred.

You are familiar with the work of Fred Seibert, the founder and namesake of Channel Frederator, even if you have never seen an animated short film. Close your eyes and try to conjure up the early-animated logos for MTV. That is Fred. He made Nickelodeon what it is, as well as establishing Nick-at Night. He is the reason cartoon network has shows like Dexter’s Laboratory and Powerpuff Girls. And he now oversees the most distributed pod cast in the world with channel Frederator. He is also very easy to spot in a crowd.

Wearing all white except for his iconic black-rimmed glasses, Fred was making the rounds, hugging filmmakers left and right. It is rare that a host of a party is the most excited one in the crowd, but Fred was absolutely glowing. “No one honors these people,” Fred told me. “I wanted to elevate and expose them.” The fact that interspersed in the crowd of animators were quite a few studio executives was testimony to his success.

Tilzy.TV: Why an awards show?
Fred: It’s what you do when you are successful.
Tilzy.TV: Then why no actual awards SHOW?
Fred: Because they are boring. 

Turns out, the winning filmmakers were notified before hand and had their awards sent in the mail. This party was not about honoring some of the filmmakers above the others. As Fred described it, this was a chance for people who aught to know each other to mingle. This party, Fred continued, was simply an extension of “what we do on our pod cast and bogs every week.”

And perhaps that is the greatest accomplishment of Channel Frederator. In the age of Youtube, we have learned to view the Internet as a disjointed arena of unlimited content, where trailers for hundred million dollar films bleed into clips of bored college kids punching each other in the stomach. But despite it’s size and all aboard attitude, the Internet has the unique ability to foster small, intimate communities that defy geography.

And as the palpable joy from the crowd that Wednesday evening attested to, that is what Channel Frederator, and by extension, the Channel Frederator awards, is all about.

This was not a night for separating one filmmaker from another, dividing between those who get to go on stage and those who get to clap politely from below. This was, quite simply, Channel Frederator’s First annual Family Reunion.

An awards ceremony would have missed the point entirely.

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