Machinima Europe nominees - commentary

Whilst they aren’t up on the official festival page yet, the nominations for Machinima Europe, which is effectively the top Machinima film festival this year, have been announced over on the Machinima Europe Facebook group - you can also see them over at Machinima Premiere.

It’s a fairly broad list, with very few films receiving more than a few nominations. Four pictures/series have three nominations each - ‘Stolen Life’, ‘Faith, Hope and Charity’, ‘Pictures of War 2’, and the series ‘Blink’ (which I can’t find online anywhere - anyone?). A further four have two nominations apiece: ‘Instinct’, ‘Fallacies of a Stranger’, ‘The Ballad of Black Mesa’ and ‘BloodSpell’. Obviously we’re not unhappy with that last result - exactly the same nominations we got at the Machinima Film Festival last year, in fact!

The list is fairly heavy on new movies - I didn’t recognise about half the names of the films in the contest. And there are a few surprising names missing - no ‘Beast’, no ‘ Morning Run Amok’, no ‘Inventing Swear Words’, no “Snacky’s Journal”, and nothing from Blizzard. On the other hand, last year at the MFF the nominations were a big surprise, and two of those surprises (Edge of Remorse and Bill et John 2) are now firmly seated in the Machinima hall of fame.

I’m looking forward to seeing the surprise winners this year.

It’s hard to tell what the engine mix is, given that I don’t recognise all the films, but my initial impression is that there’s quite a strong lean away from game-based Machinima.

Moviestorm comes out of the gate swinging, with two nominations for “Break Your Concentration” and “Mum’s Been To Iceland”. Obviously, ‘Stolen Life’ isn’t game-based (it’s made with a game development tool), and neither’s ‘Cuckoo Clock’, by Tom Jantol. There’s also very heavy Second Life presence, with at least 6 SL films in the contest - ‘Comcast Island’, ‘When The Postman Spits Twice’, ‘Dreamed Up’, ‘Better Life’, ‘Machinima Island’, and ‘The Grid Review’. The Movies, which I think falls under “isn’t really a game”, has at least two more representatives - ‘Instinct’ and ‘Fallacies’.

There’s also one film that is going to attract heated discussion, particularly if it wins: “Kung-Fu Glitch”, made using a 2D Commodore 64 game. I’m not sure what to think about that myself.

There’s a very limited showing from the Usual Suspects, engine-wise, aside from Second Life: 1 Halo video( ‘Halo Unyielding’), 2 Half-Life 2 vids (‘Ballad of Black Mesa’ and ‘Machinima! With Officer Dan’), 2 Sims 2 videos (a surprising single nom for Snow Witch, plus “Domestic Violence” by Ricard Gras) and 3 World of Warcraft vids (‘Azerothian Supervillains’ and two from the ubiquitous Oxhorn, ‘MtvU Commercials’ and ‘Hark! Hear the Wails.’). There are nearly as many SL vids as all the ‘usual’ top engine vids combined.

Finally, it’s very noticable that flight simulators are still remarkably strong engines to use to make Machinima, at least as far as awards go. That’s now two years in a row that one of the front-running nominees in the big Machinima festivals has been made using a flight sim - Bill et John 2 last year, and this year ‘Faith, Hope and Charity’ as well as ‘Pictures of War 2’. Oddly, the original Bill et John and the original Pictures of War were both nominees at the 2005 Machinima Film Festival!

Overall, it’s an interesting line-up. We’ll try to track down links for as many of the front-runners as we can - they’re interesting watching.

Good luck to everyone in the contest!