The winners were announced last night at the 40th annual ASIFA-East Animation Festival. The top Best in Show prize was awarded to the short film Q&A by the Rauch Brothers, comprised of brothers Tim and Mike. The film, which also competes in Annecy next month, is a gentle, funny and touching real-life conversation between a child with Asperger’s Syndrome and his mother. The other prize-winning film that really stood out for me was the Nullsleep music video “Dirty Rom Dance” created by Plasticflesh (aka Stieg Retlin). The 8-bit artwork style is dime-a-dozen nowadays which makes it all the more rare to see somebody take that visual approach and do something truly original and inventive with it. The video won for Excellence in Soundtrack, a dubious compliment in my opinion; the video game-y music is fine but it was the filmmaker’s pitch-perfect melding of hyperkinetic imagery with sound that truly made this film stand out, not to mention the incredible design and storytelling delivered via a limited palette. Neither Q&A nor “Dirty Rom Dance” are available on-line but keep an eye out for both of them.