A&E announced it has greenlit production on a new original unscripted real-life series, Animation Festival Jury Wars, which follows an independent group of six animators assigned to the same pre-selection jury, who must live together for two weeks while they wade through more than 2,500 animated projects to reach consensus on a set of 100 for final jury consideration. The 12-episode half-hour series will be broadcast this coming fall.
Each episode of Animation Festival Jury Wars will dive into the vicious and cutthroat world of pre-selection jurying, where back-stabbing, chair throwing, hair pulling and name calling are common. No scripted dialogue is needed when artists from around the world are willing to physically and emotionally abuse each other in front of the camera.
Viewing and making decisions on the quality of animated features, shorts, commercials and television episodes is a time consuming and difficult task. Getting six angry artists to reach a consensus on the merits of several thousand animated submissions in the midst of alcohol-fueled shouting matches and fisticuffs is nearly impossible. Veteran reality show followers will be shocked by the cattiness and girl-on-girl violence as well as the ego-driven brooding and jealous male bravado that drives the ultra-competitive world of pre-selection juries. Viewers normally mesmerized by women fighting over a man will be caught off guard by the intensity of the conflict of artist-on-artist fighting over their love for a particular animated film.
A&E Unscripted Programming Development Director Gilles Bain-Marie described the buzz surrounding the show. “People normally turned off by the obvious contrived and scripted nature of other reality shows will get caught up in the drama. It’s an unprecedented look into the raw emotion and inherent conflict when a group of opinionated and passionate animators tear each other apart over their knowledge of art, design, storytelling and filmmaking sensibilities. They’re absolutely ruthless. Throw in some cheap wine and sketchpads, it’s riveting!”
Producer Charles Sharp-DeWitt described the show as, “One part Sister Wendy art history lesson, one part Snooki bitch-slap.” He went on to say, “While I can’t yet share with you the actual jury member names and affiliations, I can tell you we have six well known industry veterans from six different countries, who have all won major festival awards with their own work. They’re experts in traditional and CG animation. They’re also known to be obnoxious, demanding, opinionated and difficult to get along with. Many are socialists who bathe infrequently and smoke unfiltered cigarettes. All the ingredients needed for a tempestuous animation festival pre-selection process.” He then added, “I can tell you we have a French animator who is also a published film critic and historian. On his Facebook he lists his occupation as ‘artistic waste removal’ and his hobbies as ‘fine dining, fine wine and reducing animators to tears.’ He’s a complete ass. Put him in a room with others, while the camera rolls, it makes for fantastic television.”