November 7, 2007
The Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema is a small festival in the quiet town of Waterloo, Ontario, dedicated to long-form animation. WFAC's lineup has grown at a reasonable pace, from three anime films each for its first and second editions to a dozen or more selections since from all over the world, including independent features from North America.
The website is live and all the films are listed here.
"The World Cinema programme includes Oscar-nominated Leslie Iwerks’ The Pixar Story, a chronicle of the history, the challenges, the triumphs, and the people of Pixar Animation Studios and the art they pioneered: computer animation; the charming re-imagined fairytale The Ugly Duckling and Me, the hilarious and completely outrageous Aachi and Ssipak, master Czech stop-motion animator Jan Balej's incredible horror film One Night In The City, the infamous hilarious Norwegian romp Free Jimmy, Shinkai Makoto's heart-wrenching anime drama 5 Centimeters Per Second, vampire action RH+, and the edgy hard-boiled Film Noir, and Otto Guerra's irreverent hippie satire Wood & Stock: Sex, Oregano and Rock 'n Roll."Balej's Fimfarum 2 was one of my personal favourites from last year's festival, but One Night In The City seems to be in a whole other league. On Saturday at 6:30 p.m. EST, Ladd Ehrlinger's adaptation of Flatland will be screened and the director will be present for a Q&A afterward, both of which will be broadcast live online. As if that weren't enough, Katsuhiro Otomo's latest short project is screening in the timeslot just before it.
The festival is about 90 minutes from Toronto, ON, 3 hours from Rochester, NY or Detroit, MI. I'd say it's definitely worth at least a day trip for animation fans in search of more than the slim pickings at the cineplex.