Festival draws many stars from animation
A still from hip-hop artist J Dilla’s video, Geekdown, featured in Don’t Stop: Animating Hip-Hop.
The Ottawa International Animation Festival is back for its 35th year, with a mix of work by veterans like Koji Yamamura, Paul Driessen, Bill Plympton, and entries from animation’s newest young rising stars.
Every year, said artistic director Christopher Robinson, the official competition event is the heart of the festival.
“That’s where everybody can come in and see the latest hot animation from around the world. Every year that’s always exciting,” he said. “You’re watching short films mixed with TV ads mixed with experimental films, so you really get the whole spectrum of animation in one go. Maybe you don’t like a couple of films, but you might love the next film.”
The festival’s programming, he said, also shows there’s more to animation than Hollywood’s computer-generated offerings.
“The feature competition is quite a mix,” Robinson said. “This isn’t going to be the latest Cars 2 or anything. This is a pretty eclectic mix of film, from France, from Estonia, from Wales and from Japan.”
Despite the international scope, two short films from Ottawa animators, Jessica Borutski’s The Good Little Bunny With The Big Bad Teeth, and Glebe Collegiate student David Borish’s The Paper Man, are local standouts in the program this year.
“That’s always refreshing for us,” Robinson said. “We have this big, international reputation, but we’ve always wanted to kind of encourage more animation being made around town.”
In addition to special themed screenings on food and hip hop this year, the festival also offers a retrospective, Cartoon Fight Club, which should appeal to any fan of sheer cartoon mayhem.
The Ottawa International Animation Festival runs Sept. 21-25 at the ByTowne Cinema, National Gallery of Canada, Empire Theatres Rideau Centre and Arts Court Theatre. Individual tickets ($12 for adults, $7 for children and seniors) are available at screenings 30 minutes before showtime. For information on passes and more, visit animationfestival.ca.