Spark fes­ti­val puts fo­cus on fe­male an­i­ma­tors

The Georgia Straight - - MOVIES - By Adrian Mack

In­stantly win­ning the hearts of at­ten­dees at this year’s Spark An­i­ma­tion 2019 con­fer­ence, film fes­ti­val, and ca­reer fair, “The But­ter­fly Af­fect” opens with an im­age of a Main Street sign and then cuts to a city block lined with Van­cou­ver Spe­cials. The rest of direc­tor Stephanie Blakey’s al­most five-minute short—about 23-year-old Jesse, a worm “liv­ing in a world built for but­ter­flies”—charms on its own con­sid­er­able, pas­tel-coloured mer­its.

Be­cause it’s the in­au­gu­ral an­i­ma­tion project of the Five in Fo­cus ini­tia­tive—a team ef­fort de­signed by Women in An­i­ma­tion and Women in View to sup­port gen­der equal­ity in the in­dus­try—the film’s themes of in­clu­sion and self-ac­cep­tance feel es­pe­cially apt. View­ers can learn more when “The But­ter­fly Af­fect” gets its world pre­miere at the top of Spark’s Mothers of a Medium shorts pro­gram at the Vancity Theatre next Sun­day (Oc­to­ber 27), with Blakey in at­ten­dance along with her part­ners, Jen Davreux (writer), Amanda Konkin (pro­ducer), Kaitlin Suther­land (an­i­ma­tion direc­tor), and Maisha Moore (art direc­tor).

As ever, Spark of­fers a feast of view­ing, learn­ing, and net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the city’s ev­er­grow­ing com­mu­nity of an­i­ma­tors and VFX pro­fes­sion­als, and the em­pha­sis on women in the field is felt across the board. For Thurs­day’s gala open­ing (Oc­to­ber 24), first on the docket is a life­time-achieve­ment award pre­sented to Os­car-nom­i­nated pro­ducer Bon­nie Arnold, whose cred­its in­clude Toy Story, Tarzan, and the How to Train Your Dragon fran­chise. (A 20th-an­niver­sary screen­ing of Tarzan fol­lows on Oc­to­ber 26 at the Vancity Theatre, with di­rec­tors Chris Buck and Kevin Lima in at­ten­dance.)

Among the other high­lights of the four-day fes­ti­val: the Cana­dian pre­miere of Anca Damian’s Marona’s Fan­tas­tic Tale (Oc­to­ber 26) and Kat Alioshin’s pro­file of fes­ti­val pioneers Spike and Mike, An­i­ma­tion Out­laws (Oc­to­ber 27), both screen­ing at the Vancity Theatre. The cre­ator of De­spi­ca­ble Me, Ser­gio Pab­los, will also be on hand to dis­cuss his buzzy Net­flix project, Klaus, with “Dear Bas­ket­ball” direc­tor Glen Keane on Oc­to­ber 24 at the Sco­tia­bank Theatre. Clos­ing the film fes­ti­val at the Vancity Theatre on Oc­to­ber 27 is the Hindi­lan­guage Bom­bay Rose—a hand­painted fea­ture from yet an­other woman, ac­tor Gi­tan­jali Rao.

Pre­sented by Spark CG So­ci­ety, Spark An­i­ma­tion 2019 runs at var­i­ous venues from Oc­to­ber 24 to 27. More in­for­ma­tion is at www.sparkfx.ca/.

“The But­ter­fly Af­fect” ar­rives courtesy of B.C.’s Five in Fo­cus: An­i­ma­tion ini­tia­tive.

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