Po­lit­i­cal Party

Ot­tawa In­ter­na­tional An­i­ma­tion Fes­ti­val mounts a pro­gram that does some se­ri­ous ex­plor­ing of the global state of the art. By Tom McLean

Animation Magazine - - Spotlight -

This fall, the cap­i­tal of Canada will once again trans­form for four days into the cap­i­tal of the an­i­ma­tion world with the run­ning of the 2014 Ot­tawa In­ter­na­tional An­i­ma­tion Fes­ti­val.

Set for Septem­ber 17-21 in the bustling city cen­ter area next to the Cana­dian Par­lia­ment, this year’s fes­ti­val delves into — ap­pro­pri­ately — po­lit­i­cal ter­ri­tory with a se­lec­tion of films that runs the en­tire gamut of an­i­ma­tion po­ten­tial.

Artis­tic di­rec­tor Chris Robin­son says the po­lit­i­cal themes were not in­ten­tional, though in ret­ro­spect it is a topic that is def­i­nitely present in many of the cho­sen films. “They all seem to have po­lit­i­cal is­sues and are tech­ni­cally am­bi­tious but also tech­ni­cally lo-fi,” he says.

The glam­our showcase of the event is for fea­ture films, a cat­e­gory that this year in­cludes:

* Es­to­nian di­rec­tor Mait Lass’s 3D stop-mo­tion take on Romeo and Juliet with fruit in Lisa Limone & Maroc Orange: A Rapid Love Story. It is, of course, a mu­si­cal.

* Prov­ing un­ex­pect­edly timely in its topic is Sheila M. Sofian’s Truth Has Fallen, which in­dicts the fail­ings of the United States’ crim­i­nal-jus­tice sys­tem by telling the sto­ries of peo­ple wrongly con­victed and im­pris­oned for crimes they did not com­mit. Told with thick brush strokes of acrylic paint, the film is stun­ning and im­pos­si­ble to for­get, says Robin­son.

* A more tra­di­tional movie, Aunt Hilda is a 2D an­i­mated fea­ture from ac­claimed an­i­ma­tors Jac­ques-Remy Gir­erd and Benoît Chieux. Gir­erd has said this will be his fi­nal film, cer­tainly un­happy news for fans of his fea­tures, which in­clude A Cat in Paris and Mia and the Mi­goo.

* Brazil once again shows its grow­ing stature in the an­i­ma­tion world by land­ing a spot for Un­til Sbor­nia Do Us Part, a sar­cas­tic send-up of pol­i­tics, business and cul­ture clashes from direc­tors Otto Guerra and En­nio Tor­re­son Jr.

* Lastly, there is the home­grown Seth’s Do­min­ion, a doc­u­men­tary pro­duced by the Na­tional Film Board of Canada and di­rected by Luc Cham­ber­lain about comics artist and car­toon­ist Seth. The film fea­tures ex­ten­sive se­quences an­i­mat­ing Seth’s art and comics sto­ries.

The shorts com­pe­ti­tion is en­joy­ably ex­pan­sive, with five pro­grams screen­ing the 110 films cho­sen from 2,033 en­tries re­ceived from 24 coun­tries.

Among this year’s com­peti­tors are four pre­vi­ous Ot­tawa grand prize win­ners: Priit Pärn ( The Night of the Car­rots), An­dreas Hykade ( Ring of Fire),

Shorts Con­tro­versy

This year’s com­pe­ti­tion is bound to gen­er­ate some con­tro­versy. Piotr Du­mala’s Hipopotamy –a hor­ror story/med­i­ta­tion on hu­man vi­o­lence – has sent shock­waves through an­i­ma­tion fes­ti­vals while Priit and Olga Pärn’s Pi­lots on the Way Home is a graphic, sex­u­ally charged satire on male fan­tasy.

There are also films deal­ing with other charged themes such as ad­dic­tion ( Soif by Michele Cournoyer, Nuggets by An­dreas Hykade), men­tal ill­ness ( Through the Hawthorn, Anna Brenner) and gun vi­o­lence ( Mon­ster in the Closet, Yves Ge­leyn).

An ad­di­tional 71 films were se­lected for the out-of-com­pe­ti­tion showcase screen­ings, 37 of which will be shown in the Stu­dent Showcase. The showcases break down into an “out-of-com­pe­ti­tion” com­pe­ti­tion for Cana­dian stu­dent films; a school com­pe­ti­tion fea­tur­ing the best stu­dent films from Italy’s Beza­lel Academy of Arts and De­sign, Gei­dai An­i­ma­tion in Ja­pan, France’s Ecole des Metiers du Cin­ema d’An­i­ma­tion and Rhode Is­land School of De­sign; a short films for kids com­peti-

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