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Animation Film Festival Ready for Small Screen

Mobile phone technology is not just revolutionizing the way we communicate - it's also changing the way we are entertained. Take movies for example: once limited to the big screen, consumers can now watch movies on a laptop computer or a portable video player. Organizers of a new animated film festival have taken that concept a step further. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.

The future of animated films may be right at your fingertips - perhaps on something as small as a cell phone. Organizers of the first ever PLATFORM International Animation Festival call it a "film festival for the 21st century."

Irene Kotlarz is PLATFORM'S founding director. "It's multi-platform so we are showing films in theaters but we are also showing them on cell phones and outdoors in installations, in galleries, on the Internet," she says.

And with the explosion of media-capable devices such as Apple's iPhone, which can surf the Internet and play videos, the future of the big screen may actually be on the small screen.

Ross Cox, a senior director at Cartoon Network's New Media, one of the festival's major sponsors says the technology is changing so fast. "With the technology changing as rapidly as it has been we are finding out that screens aren't necessarily on the big screen or the television screen anymore. They're in the screen in the pocket and the phone is the screen that people have with them pretty much all the time."

Technology experts say with more than a billion cell phones on the planet, the market for mobile television content is huge. Animated films are particularly attractive because most are under 40 minutes in length and most are easily viewed on a two-inch screen.

Kotlarz adds, "There's a real revolution happening because of computers and because of the accessibility of making films for people. And so I was amazed by how many films we had entered for the festival."

Ross Cox says it's no surprise to marketers, who believe the cell phone is poised to become the portable media center of the future. "If you don't have your phone on you right now, you pretty much know where your phone is at any point in time. And we as content creators are aware of all these different screens of ways that animation can actually be delivered to an audience."

The festival attracted more than 2,000 submissions from independent animators, who competed for more than $50,000 dollars in cash prizes.