GIRAF looks at vivid world of an­i­mated films

Calgary Herald - - NEWS -

The 14th edi­tion of the cut­ting edge Gi­ant In­can­des­cent Res­onat­ing An­i­ma­tion Fes­ti­val (GIRAF), pre­sented by the Quick­draw An­i­ma­tion So­ci­ety, will look at the past, present and fu­ture of the ever-widen­ing world of an­i­ma­tion. Run­ning Thurs­day to Sun­day at the Globe Cinema and Quick­draw Stu­dios, the fes­ti­val will fea­ture ev­ery­thing from de­but films to a ca­reer ret­ro­spec­tive on pi­o­neer­ing film­maker Suzan Pitt. Eric Volmers asked Peter Hem­minger, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Quick­draw, to help us nav­i­gate the 60-plus films that will be screened.


An un­of­fi­cial theme that emerged dur­ing pro­gram­ming this year is stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion, the la­bo­ri­ous (even by an­i­ma­tion stan­dards) process of ma­nip­u­lat­ing ob­jects in tiny in­cre­ments be­tween frames to give the im­pres­sion of move­ment. Much of that is thanks to Amanda Strong, this year’s vis­it­ing artist. The pro­lific Van­cou­ver Michif an­i­ma­tor uses 2-D and 3-D stop-mo­tion tech­niques to tell sto­ries that delve into In­dige­nous his­tory, cul­ture and lan­guage. She will be giv­ing work­shops on Satur­day from 1 to 6 p.m. and Sun­day from 1 to 4 p.m. and will screen a num­ber of her films Sun­day at 7 p.m., all at Quick­draw Stu­dios (2011 10th Ave. S.W.)

The fes­ti­val will also be screen­ing This Mag­nif­i­cent Cake, a 45-minute, felted-wool stop­mo­tion of­fer­ing from Bel­gium film­mak­ers Mark James Roels and Emma De Swaef set in colo­nial Africa in the late 19th cen­tury. It will screen as part of GIRAF’s seven-film Stop-Mo­tion Spot­light on Thurs­day at 7 p.m. at the Globe Cinema.


Amer­i­can un­der­ground an­i­ma­tor Suzan Pitt has been mak­ing sur­real shorts since 1971, but is per­haps best known for her 1979 short As­para­gus. This 18-minute film was con­sid­ered un­set­tling enough to pre­cede David Lynch’s hor­ri­fy­ing live-ac­tion de­but Eraser­head on the mid­night movie cir­cuit for years. The ret­ro­spec­tive will be held Sun­day at Quick­draw Stu­dios.

Jan Svankma­jer’s Al­ice found the Czech film­maker buck­ing cine­matic trends by leav­ing the dark, free-form weird­ness of Lewis Car­roll’s Al­ice in Won­der­land in­tact for his un­hinged 1988 adap­ta­tion. It will screen Fri­day at 11 p.m. at the Globe Cinema.

“Since Quick­draw ex­ists to ad­vo­cate for an­i­ma­tion as a medium, it’s im­por­tant for us to try and share the whole con­text of that with our au­di­ences,” Hem­minger says.

“You can’t re­ally fully un­der­stand where the medium is to­day with­out hav­ing the chance to step back and look at where it has come from.”


Since his stint as an in­struc­tor at Quick­draw in the 1990s, film­maker Richard Reeves has be­come known as one of the masters of scratch or di­rect-to-film an­i­ma­tion, where film­mak­ers draw or scratch di­rectly onto the 35mm film rather than pho­to­graph or paint orig­i­nal images. This rep­u­ta­tion is largely due to his 1997 film Lin­ear Dreams, but GIRAF will be screen­ing his 2018 film Twi­light as part of In­die An­i­ma­tion Mix­tape: Side B on Satur­day at 7 p.m. at the Globe.

Now based in Mon­treal, Bran­don Blom­maert founded GIRAF 14 years ago while a mem­ber of Quick­draw. His short, Alexis In­side, will be screened as part of An­i­ma­tion Mix­tape: Side A on Fri­day at 7 p.m.


The re­cip­i­ent of Quick­draw’s 2016-18 Chris J. Mel­ny­chuk Schol­ar­ship, Mi­haela Slabe’s film Tides will be a part of the fes­ti­val’s Late Night Vi­sions pack­age on Sun­day at 11 p.m. at the Globe Cinema.

Vic Some­day’s Chakra is the late Cal­gar­ian’s fi­nal film, made up of hand-drawn, Post-it note an­i­ma­tion. He passed away ear­lier this year. Chakra will screen as part of In­die An­i­ma­tion Mix­tape: Side B on Satur­day at 7 p.m.


Among the 17 coun­tries rep­re­sented at GIRAF this year is Iran with Ashkan Rah­gozar’s fea­ture­length film The Last Fic­tion, eas­ily the most am­bi­tious an­i­mated project to come out of the coun­try. It’s based on the 1,000-yearold Per­sian epic poem, The Shah­nameh by Fer­dowsi. It will screen Satur­day at 9 p.m. at the Globe Cinema.

Other fea­ture-length films be­ing screened this year in­clude Slove­nian film­maker Milo­rad Kris­tic’s Ruben Brant, Col­lec­tor, an “art heist” film with a sig­nif­i­cant twist. It screens Fri­day at 9 p.m. at the Globe Cinema.

A Man Is Dead is Olivier Cossu’s re­al­ist de­pic­tion of post Sec­ond World War labour strife in France and will screen Thurs­day at 7 p.m. at the Globe Cinema.

For a com­plete lineup visit gi­


This Mag­nif­i­cent Cake, a 45-minute felt stop-mo­tion film by Bel­gium film­mak­ers Mark James Roels and Emma De Swaef, plays Thurs­day at the Globe Cinema.

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