Chicago Comedy Wins $70K Project Greenlight Contest

Chicago Comedy Wins $70K Project Greenlight Contest

Project Greenlight Digital Studios and crowdfunding site Tongal have announced the winner of their Next Great Animated Series Contest and standing in the victor's circle is Chicago filmmaker Alec Pinkston’s stop-motion adult comedy series SENATAUR.

Pinkston and his two collaborators — Gregory Hinchman and Peter Stepnoski — won the top prize of $70,000, from a field of more than 200 entries. Crowdsourcing content site Tongal and Project Greenlight Digital Studios, created by Adaptive Studios and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, launched the contest last fall.

Created for adults, SENATAUR is a political satire about a half-man/half-horse from the planet Beaurocratica who has come to Earth to save it from itself. "The Tongal contest was a great opportunity to further explore the character who essentially sees US politics as the easiest job in the galaxy," Pinkston told SCREEN. "The aesthetic strives to pay homage to the original Thunderbirds series that inspired TEAM AMERICA."

In the contest, SENATAUR and four other finalists were selected and received $5,000 to create their proof-of-concept animation, pilot script and series bible based on their original ideas. The other finalists were James Kwan for MOON RIDER; Doug Lieblich and Chris Cimino for JOURNEYUS & THE JOURNEYNAUTS; Addie Snider for THE WOODLAND POST; and Jared Hedges and Brandon Ray for KID ENGINE. Senataur began as a series of fake campaign commercials that we created as a cathartic release during the election.

So what's next for SENATAUR? The SENATAUR animators are receiving the funding to produce an 11-minute pilot episode based on the winning proof-of-concept, which was shot at Chicago’s Odd Machine production facility. Once the pilot is finished, Tongal and Project Greenlight will help Pinkston and his team market it for distribution and potential series pickup.

The SENATAUR short, which runs 3 minutes and 23 seconds, and the other finalists’ projects can be viewed at Tongal’s site at For more from Pinkston's collaborators at Odd Machine, please visit

Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival, Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at