Ok, so think of the first episode as your "pilot." It can be longer than the other episodes (think: "The LOST 2-Hour Season Premier Event" so it fits better into the Short-Film Category and feels less like TV. 20 minutes would be great.
I'm curious about the timing of the Film Festival. When do you submit the film? When do you find out if its accepted? I'm assuming its not a guarantee. There's a jury? Do you know what percentage of submitted films get screened? And when is the actual event?
I'd suggest trying to talk to faculty in KI and Cinema about the permissions question at the very beginning of next semester. I spoke last night about it with my contact who knows a little about this issue, but she was unsure. You should have a list of which artists/works you would want use, and how you want to use them. Try to figure this out between now and when we meet next.
Here's a link to my friend's project that you might find interesting:
http://www.vibrantfuturesmovie.com/ The website component itself is worth considering.
Also, look at the early works of Tony Oursler.
You can get these from the VCU Library:
Cabell Media and Reserves DVDs PN1995.9.E96 O853 2007 DVD Loan
Cabell Media and Reserves DVDs PN1995.9.E96 O855 2007 DVD Loan
plus any books on him.
And here is a fun animation link that Liz King just sent me:
Also, look at old episodes of:
Land of the Lost