Q&A with Chris Robin­son

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

OIAF’s artis­tic di­rec­tor talks the joy of pro­gram­ming, the 40th an­niver­sary and keep­ing things fun. By Tom McLean.

An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine: How is this year’s edi­tion go­ing to cel­e­brate the fes­ti­val’s 40th an­niver­sary?

Chris Robin­son: In­stead of do­ing your nor­mal ret­ro­spec­tive screen­ings, we de­cided to go back and screen ev­ery grand prize win­ner from ’76 to 2016. And then we went and com­mis­sioned a bunch of in­ter­na­tional writ­ers and his­to­ri­ans and what­not to each pick a film they liked from the grand prize list and write about them. We were for­tu­nate to get Caro­line Leaf, who won the first grand prize back in ’76. ... We have a big party go­ing on near the end of the fes­ti­val, but other than that we don’t re­ally like to dig into the past too much.

An­imag: You said in a press re­lease that this was one of the hard­est years to de­cide what was go­ing into com­pe­ti­tion.

Robin­son: Yeah. There re­ally are a lot of strong films, even in the fea­ture cat­e­gory. We usu­ally aim to show only about five fea­tures be­cause we don’t want to over­whelm the shorts and some­times just find­ing five de­cent fea­tures can be a has­sle. But this year we had seven. And then the short se­lec­tion, we were re­ally stress­ing by the end. So we have the Panorama out-of-com­pe­ti­tion pro­grams and I’m sure you’ll get a lot of peo­ple watch­ing those and think­ing, “These films should have been in com­pe­ti­tion.”

An­imag: What has made Ot­tawa a good fit This year, the Ot­tawa In­ter­na­tional An­i­ma­tion Fes­ti­val re­ceived a to­tal of 2,311 en­tries from 86 dif­fer­ent coun­tries. Of those, 80 short films and 7 fea­ture films were cho­sen for com­pe­ti­tion. In ad­di­tion, 73 panorama films were cho­sen to rep­re­sent the ef­forts of the Cana­dian, In­ter­na­tional and Stu­dent com­mu­ni­ties.

Run­ning Sept. 21-23, ever so slightly off­set from the main fes­ti­val in Ot­tawa, this year’s Tele­vi­sion An­i­ma­tion Con­fer­ence again brings a mix of es­tab­lished and new speak­ers to ad­dress long­stand­ing and emerg­ing in­dus­try is­sues.

More than four dozen ma­jor an­i­ma­tion pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies, dis­trib­u­tors and broad­cast­ers will at­tend the 13th edi­tion of TAC, again set in the his­toric Château Lau­rier, with high­lights in­clud­ing a one-on-one with Cana­dian an­i­ma­tion pioneer Michael Hirsh; a dive into the world of VR sto­ry­telling with Jan Pinkava from Google Spot­light Sto­ries; and a one-onone with Daron Ne­fcy, cre­ator and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of Disney TV An­i­ma­tion’s hit se­ries Star vs. The Forces of Evil. Snow­time! Atomic Pup­pet be cho­sen for Pitch THIS! and pre­sented live Sept. 21 at TAC.

And net­work­ing is al­ways a big el­e­ment of TAC, with lun­cheons, the del­e­gate lounge, af­ter­noon breaks and spe­cial events such as the Toon Boom Boat Cruise past many of Ot­tawa’s his­toric sites, TAC Happy Hour, the Art+Biz Day net­work­ing brunch, and the beloved An­i­ma­tor’s Picnic. [

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