Topic: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

The theme of’s 2015 contest is Darkness and Light.

The contest will run from June 1st to September 1st, and we have an exciting collection of prizes thanks to our contest sponsors: Dragonframe, Brickstuff, and an anonymous donor. We hope you’ll join us for this competition. If you’d like to do so, the rest of the details are as follows.

‘Darkness and Light’ can be interpreted a variety of ways, and we hope that entrants will take advantage of that.

Story is the most important building block of nearly any film, and it will be a vital consideration in this animation contest. Light and dark have various potential implications for story, from metaphors of good and evil, to philosophical ideas like Plato’s allegory of the cave, to any number of other possibilities we won’t try to spell out here.

This theme also has implications for style in a film. Many brickfilms are shot with flat, even lighting and while this is fine for some kinds of stories, it limits the potential for visual drama that is possible with more artistically designed cinematography that makes use of shadow just as much as light. We want entrants to explore new avenues in stop motion cinematography and create films that are as compelling to look at as the stories they tell.

In order not to shape how entrants approach their story ideas too heavily, we’ll refrain from providing story examples that fall along the lines of this theme. Visually, there are clear examples. Many of them come from film noir, or other visual art that makes use of chiaroscuro lighting techniques, but you need not limit yourself to the film noir genre. Any kind of story can make use of the motif of light and dark.

There are great visual examples of using dark and light to dramatic effect from art throughout history. We’ve compiled a few examples, but please don’t feel like you must limit your inspiration to this small number of works!

The Night Watch
The Calling of St. Matthew

Feature Films:
Double Indemnity
Blade Runner

The River
Robota (requires download to view.)

Prizes for this year’s competition are provided in part by this year’s sponsors: Dragonframe and Brickstuff!

For this contest, we are offering a prize pool of four prize bundles. This means that 1st place gets to choose which of the four  bundles they want, 2nd place chooses from the remaining three, 3rd selects from the remaining two, and 4th place receives whichever prize bundle remains.

Dragonframe - Software License and Controller
Plus #60066 Swamp Police Starter Set
Dragonframe is the premium stop motion animation software that captured Laika's ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and Disney's Frankenweenie. This software is easy enough for a beginner to learn, but offers a wealth of advanced features sure to meet the needs of any stop motion animator. Software and controller included. For Mac OSX and Windows.

Brickstuff Lighting Effect Starter Kit
Plus #60077 Space Starter Set
This versatile kit includes 6 light boards and a controller that will allow you to create a wide variety of effects with the lights. Based in Minnesota, Brickstuff custom manufactures a full line of lighting and automation products for LEGO builders. Brickstuff lights are the smallest commercially available lights for LEGO bricks, so you can put them right inside your bricks, and the wires are thin enough that  you can snap your bricks, plates, and tiles right on top of the wires-- no need to modify your bricks or builds!  Best of all, you don’t need to know electronics to use this system—everything fits together (just like LEGO bricks!), and you can start small and add lights and effects as your collection of creations and MOCs grows. The lights are perfect for use in brickfilms to create just the mood or effect you need.

Blue Snowball Microphone
Plus #60091 Deep Sea Starter Set
A quality and versatile USB-based condenser microphone, the Blue Snowball makes an excellent choice for animators looking to improve the quality of sound, music and voice recordings compared to more basic microphone options. Compatible with Mac and Windows.

Filmmaking Kit
Plus #60072 Demolition Starter Set
This kit includes a bundle of useful tools for improving the lighting and rigging in your films. Lee filters' Master Location Pack is included: these are high quality colored gels that can be attached to nearly any light (with the help of c-47s) to create a wide variety of colorful light effects in your sets. This is complemented by a roll of cinefoil, sometimes called black wrap, a flexible, poseable aluminum wrap that blocks and absorbs light and is very helpful for directing light and shadow in your shots to create more artful, controlled results. Finally, this kit includes a set of helping hands, which are ideal for rigging black wrap, gels, or even LEGO minifigures and pieces to position them exactly how you want.

Entries will be judged on criteria including originality, production values (animation, set design, cinematography, sound, etc.), story, and creative interpretation of the theme by the 5 judges. Rather than judging on categories individually, judges will examine how all these elements work together to create a complete film. Films will be discussed and ranked collectively by the judges until a consensus is reached. The top 4 films will eligible for the prize pool. Entries below 10th place will not be publicly ranked.

We’ve assembled a panel of judges for this year’s competition with a wide range of filmmaking experience and achievements. Here’s a look at each of them (listed alphabetically):

Philip Heinrich
Philip is an American director and producer and has worked on films and videos at a professional level for eight years. He currently is directing the feature length documentary Bricks in Motion, and has served as the owner and administrator of for the past seven years. His brickfilm work includes Unrenewable and The Oven.

Maxime Marion
Maxime is a French documentary filmmaker who has studied video and communication and worked in a production agency. He’s also a stop motion enthusiast who began making animated films for fun in 2007; in the brickfilming community, he is known for his Henri and Edmond series of films. He loves film scores, and is currently directing a documentary about Hans Zimmer, for which he interviewed the composer.

Maverick Moore
Maverick Moore is an award-winning live action filmmaker from Texas. After directing and editing narrative films as a graduate student at Baylor University, Maverick headed to Dallas where he is based today. His most recent short film, Shotgun, has screened at nearly 30 national and international film festivals, including Palm Springs International Short Fest, the Short Film Corner at Festival de Cannes, and the Nashville Film Festival, where Shotgun opened for master filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard’s newest film, Goodbye to Language. Currently, Maverick remains a self-confessed cinephile who continues to nurture his passion for making films.

Nathan Wells
Nathan is an American graphic designer and stop-motion filmmaker. He is currently running the BiM Awards with Zach Macias, producing the Bricks in Motion documentary, serves as a moderator on, and ran the 12th Twenty-four Hour Animation Contest. He also founded the Brickfilm Archive and helped create the Brickfilms Wiki. His brickfilm work includes Alex and Derrick: Five Years Later and 30 Years: The Story of the Minifigure.

Dylan Woodley
Dylan is a Canadian filmmaker who has has been brickfilming for eight years. He has hosted numerous events including the BiM Awards and THAC, and has made brickfilms for Ed Sheeran and The LEGO Group. He won "Best Animation" at the Tongies for his film Unto the Breach. Dylan is currently studying film production at university.

  • All entries must be primarily composed of stop-motion animation. 3D, Flash, or other animation techniques may be used to in addition to stop-motion as long as the finished product is at least roughly 70% stop-motion animation.

  • Entries should use LEGO or similar building toys as primary elements.

  • No mature/explicit content is allowed. This includes, but is not limited to: swearing, excessive/gory violence, overt sexual content, and blatant drug references.

  • Minimum runtime is 1 minute, including any titles and credits. There is no maximum runtime. Remember, it is better to focus on quality and attention to detail than to make a very long and ambitious film, but let the quality suffer. A highly-polished three-minute movie is better than a ten-minute movie that falls apart because the director ran out of time to do it the right way. The judging system won't favor a film for simply being longer, but low production values will hurt a longer film when competing against a shorter film that is better made.

  • Submitted films must be new films, created specifically for this contest.

  • Entrants may only submit one entry per person.

  • Films may not be posted publicly until after the contest deadline has passed.

  • The entry you submit to the judges must be the entry made publicly available to everyone else.

  • Entries must contain only images, sounds, music, and story material which you have the rights to distribute -- no copyrighted content to which you do not have the rights may be used. No trademarked properties which might be confused with commercial enterprises may be used. This means you can not use storylines based on characters from Star Wars, Marvel, Ninjago, or other trademarked series. You cannot base your work on copyrighted material; however, old works that are now in the public domain are acceptable source material. All material included in films submitted must be original, or content that you have expressed permission to use. If you use content that is not your own, you must be able to provide proof that you have received permission to include it in your film.  All music must be credited, even if you made it yourself.

The deadline for submissions will be Tuesday, September 1st 2015 at 12 am GMT.
Films may be submitted as early as the beginning of July 1st 2015, though they cannot be made public until after the deadline has passed.

To submit your film, send a link to your entry to our Darkness and Light forum account by private message.
Our preferred method of submission is unlisted YouTube links. If you do not have a YouTube account, we also accept password-protected Vimeo uploads.

Q: Are we allowed to use the contest logo in our entry? In the credits of our film, for example?
A: Yes, although this is not required. If you want a high-resolution version of the logo to use for this purpose, here's a link to the logo on a transparent background for that purpose.

Q: May we ask contest judges to voice act for our entries?
A: Because of the limited number of people on this site with experience in voice acting and access to recording equipment, we've decided to allow it. Please refrain from involving them in creative roles beyond this, however.

Q: Should entries focus on a particular genre?
A: Your film can fall into any story genre you like, as its story ultimately fits the criteria laid out in the theme section. The examples are just examples; there's no need to stick to film noir, science fiction, or any other particular genre.

Q: Can we collaborate with others to create an entry?
A: Yes! Collaboration is encouraged. However, we won't be able to divide up the prizes evenly for you, so you'll have to determine who receives the prizes in the case of a win. Entries may be submitted on the basis of one entry per director, so you can help with someone else's entry and still enter a film you've directed.

Q: May we post trailers, images, or other work-in-progress elements of our film publicly on the forum?
A: This is encouraged! Feel free to post about the progress on your film in the forums. You can even make a thread devoted to your progress on a film if you like.

Q: Can we use some non-LEGO elements in building our sets and characters?
A: Yes. The intention of the rule is to put the focus of films made for the competition on LEGO animation.

Q: Are we allowed to release alternate versions of our films at the same time as the version submitted to the contest? (for instance, a version with profanity or other restricted content)
A: In order to maintain the integrity of the judging process, please only release the version you are submitting to the contest publicly at the time the deadline passes. Entrants who violate this rule may be disqualified. If you want to re-release a revised version of your film, you may do so after contest judging is completed and results have been announced.

Q: Are we required to include any "mod elements" like BiM's THAC contest?
A: No. Those are used in THAC to ensure films are created in the 24-hour period. You have three months this time. Even if you did submit a film you began working on before this competition was announced, that would be fine as long as you haven't released it anywhere before this contest, and it fits the theme of this contest.

Q: How fast and loose should I play with the content restriction rules?
A: Ultimately, we want winning entries that won't earn us angry emails from parents, or concern from contest sponsors (present and future) if they win and are celebrated throughout and our social media postings. This community has members of a diverse variety of ages and backgrounds in it, so for a competition we want to be respectful of that. These rules are undoubtedly going to be limitations for some filmmakers, but we believe it's still possible to make compelling, even dramatic stories within these limitations. Potentially, one could approach them as creative limitations that empower the filmmaker to find more original, inventive ways of conveying ideas in a story.

Q: When can we share our films publicly?
A: As soon as the contest deadline passes; here's a countdown clock.

We'll continue to expand this section as we receive questions. If you have a question, feel free to reply in this thread to ask. Nathan Wells and Philip Heinrich will be running the contest.

Entries Received

A final list of qualifying submitted entries:

Brick Block Animations
William Osborne
Armadilo Studios
Undershadow Productions
Pritchard Studios
Infinity Prime Studios
pumkin muffin productions
Sergey's Studio

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light


My old YouTube is since long ago defunct - now even removed.
Here is my new one.

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

Im intrigued. The theme is a very good choice, one that will no doubt spark amazing entires!

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

I was always fascinated by film noir, this should be a fantastic contest! mini/smile
YouTube Channel : All My Links ↑Click for newest animation!↑

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

This is a great contest idea! So many different ideas! Definitely gonna try and enter.
Youtube @TheRealSonjira I consider it a personal defeat if my pee is not perfectly clear every time.]

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

Sick!! This summer's gonna be epic.

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

Hype! Will be procrastinating for a while mini/tongue I am very willing to help with others films as well, if they would like some help (such as voice acting, writing, sound/foley, coloring, etc.). Best of luck to everyone!

Twitter | Instagram | YouTube Channel | Tumblr | My Weekly Film Podcast!
"For I am NOT ashamed of the Gospel of Christ" - Romans 1:16

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

Looks very interesting, can't wait to see what people come up with.
I was looking for an excuse to get some lighting gels, and this may just do the trick.

But now I have to think of a good story... mini/eek

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

This is really awesome! Thank you for hosting such a contest!
One thing I find funny, is the fact that the theme is very similar to the one from this years "Steinerei": "Light and Shadow" … &view=
That's just a coincidence, right?  mini/tongue

At the moment I'm not sure if I'll have enough time to enter - although I really want to!

Last edited by Legostudio01 (June 1, 2015 (06:41am))

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

Sweet! My next project fits this theme perfectly.

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

Hopefully I can finally clean my table from thac (yeah, I've been lazy) and start animating again.

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

Fantastic, can't wait to begin. Ideas are already cooking up in my head right now.

Nice illustration, btw! mini/wink

"Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31b

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

Oh boy, my idea fits perfectly.

Though to find the time to make it...

"Bless you for making this." -Sloth 2016 * on "Chicken Shaped Lighthouse Attacks Police"
Ephesians 4:29 -"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

Just as I dust off my Lego collection, this is announced! mini/smile

I'm sure to enter! But, now I've just got to think of a story. mini/tongue

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

This is my first animation contest. I've only been animating for about three years, really exited. mini/bigsmile

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

If anyone wants an idea, send me a PM.

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

Oh, wow.  This looks fantastic.  An impressive judging panel, some great prizes, and a really nice theme!  It feels somewhat reminiscent of the "Contrast" contest a while back.  I'm also really glad this contest focuses on lighting (and references chiaroscuro and classical painting); it's probably one of the most under-rated part of Brickfilming and definitely deserves more attention. 

I would really love to enter if I can, but as it is I'm still in the middle of production of Seven Assassins (which is taking a long time), and between that and having a summer job I'm not sure I'll be able to make something in time.  I'll have to see if I can get a good idea out.  I'm also willing to help other people with ideas if they want them!

In the meantime, I cannot wait to see all the amazing entries that will come of this!  It looks like this contest is really going to raise the bar, and it's great to see a new BiM summer contest after several years' hiatus.  (Also, is it just me or does the one minifig in the logo bear a remarkable resemblance to Jack Darter from Unrenewable?)

Also, in case anyone needs musical inspiration, you could do a lot worse than listen to this.

Last edited by Mr Vertigo (June 1, 2015 (11:00am))

Retribution (3rd place in BRAWL 2015)

&Smeagol      make the most of being surrounded by single, educated women your own age on a regular basis in college
AquaMorph    I dunno women are expensive

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

This is so exciting I can't wait! If I have enough time to make a entry well making my current project I may give it a go!

Real Love is Sacrifice, a choice to Love others more then yourself and to put their needs before yours.

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light


Shall. We. Begin?
Into the darkness once more. I walk into the unknown. To a far better life than I've ever known.

Re: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light

Hmmm... This may just be enough to make me break my year and a half long silence on this forum, drag myself down into my basement, pick up my Lego and start animating them.


Powerful stuff.