May 21, 2009
The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is reminding everyone that there are only a few days left to submit films for the 2009 Festival taking place October 14 to 18 in Canada’s capital.

Animators are invited to submit their recent work in six major categories including Independent Short films, Feature films, New Media, Commissioned films (TV series, commercials, music videos etc), Student films and Work Made for Children.

The OIAF 09 entry deadline is June 1, 2009 and preview DVDs must be received by June 15. Entry forms are available on the Festival’s website at

Further information about this year’s Festival, as well as online entry forms, are available on the OIAF website at If you have questions about submitting a film, send an e-mail to or call 613-232-8769.

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January 28, 2009

For those who missed last year's Ottawa International Animation Festival or who simply can't wait for this year's edition, the Best of the Ottawa 2008 is coming soon to Montreal's Cinema du Parc as well as other selected venues.

Films included in the program include A Letter to Colleen and the Mixy Tapes, The Comic that Frenches your Mind, Run Wrake's The Control Master and OIAF Grand Prize winner Chainsaw.

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November 13, 2008
(photo courtesy of Stephanie Yuhas)

The founding editor of fps passed away peacefully in the presence of his family on November 11, shortly before 10 p.m.

You may have noticed this year, we tried to keep up with news in the animation industry but Emru wasn't posting as often. He was having difficulty wrapping up our annual animation charity auction at the end of last year because of a mystery ailment, which turned out to be an aggressive form of leukemia. Ironically, last year's auction proceeds went to the Cancer Research Society.

Emru is also my big brother.

On January 30, he found out that I was not a compatible match for him as a bone marrow donor, something neither he nor I knew anything about until I began to research it. We talked and messaged about it that day. The next morning, he asked me remember to post about the early Japanese animation retrospective at the Cinematheque Quebecoise because he had another checkup, since he found out he was also not in remission. Even though we were trying to save his life and help other people, animation was still an important part of our lives. When we would talk on the phone we would discuss the day's accomplishments in terms of donor recruitment and awareness, and what news was interesting in the animation world.

Truthfully, Emru treated his relationship to animation and stem cell awareness in a similar fashion: People over things. When he was passionate about an idea or a movement, he would reach out to people and try to bring people together to create something bigger than the sum of its parts. He encouraged others to believe in their abilities and aim high.

Vicky Tamaru of Plexipixel encouraged people to attend bone marrow drives around the US to help Emru, and provided an exhaustive list to make it easier for people to get involved. This was crucial, as Canadians cannot run bone marrow drives and Emru and I had to rely on other ways to educate people in our country.

When the Cinematheque's retrospective began in February, I was incredibly touched by the outpouring of support from the local animation community, and animation curator Marco de Blois mentioning Emru's need for a donor during such an important occasion.

The day after the retrospective began, Toon Boom Animation added a new page to save the Toon Boom Voice: Emru had provided the voice for the company's tutorials. After Emru found a match in early June, they understood many other people needed to find donors, and decided to keep the page running so the information would be available.

We created flyers and other promotional materials, and it was no surprise that one of the biggest attention grabbers was a portrait of the anime version of Emru, designed by local artist Veronique Thibault. Young people especially were drawn to the image, then paid attention to the important information that was included. At Anime North this year, I ran into old friends of Emru who remembered how he was present when anime was an inchoate "trend" and how he championed the works that he felt deserved more attention. At Otakuthon, it was similar.

Emru was notified in June of a potential match the day before he was set to travel to a planning meeting for the annual ACM SIGGRAPH conference. He was co-chair of the Computer Animation Festival until he fell ill, but the SIGGRAPH organizers refused to let him resign and insisted he stay on as a consultant even if he was only able to help in a limited capacity. He was thrilled at the idea of being cleared to travel, seeing fellow volunteers again, and being able to help out.

Just as I was gearing up for the Fantasia film festival, I was also preparing an ad for the Rock The Bells concert tour with the help of two friends. One was Ward Jenkins, who provided this beautiful illustration of Emru. Two of the films Emru especially enjoyed this year before he really had to stay away from crowds were Genius Party and Fear(s) of the Dark at the Fantasia Film Festival and he registered his enjoyment of them days before his death. Fantasia organizers donated the proceeds from one of their films to Emru, and this helped his family enormously, as neither he nor his wife could work much in 2008.

In September, I gave him the run-down of all the happenings at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, which began the day after Emru's received his bone marrow transplant. He received it at the Ottawa Hospital, and he joked about the timing of the transplant being perfect, because he was planning since the previous year's festival to be in Ottawa anyway. I hardly reported on the festival this year, as I was busy campaigning for stem cell donor registration with Emru leading up to it, and I was more exhausted than I thought I would be when I got to the festival. Once there, I received an astonishing outpouring of support for Emru, a festival regular for 19 years - this would have been his 20th year, and I think his presence was still felt despite his physical abscence. It was actually an extension of the support he had received in the form of calls, emails, blog postings, articles, letters, and events that had been occurring to help him. He cherished the sketchbooks he received full of sketches from festivalgoers.

He was happy to hear about the great films at the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema, a small festival with a big lineup. He and I always looked forward to it, whether we could attend or not. In the last few years we made a point of it and enjoyed ourselves tremendously. It starts today and I wish I could be blogging about that and heading there tomorrow as I had originally planned, instead of writing about this. Joseph Chen, the WFAC curator, just sent me an email saying he wished he could be in Montreal for Emru's visitation.

No matter where you are, if you love Emru or love animation, he loves you too.

Visitation Information

Learn more about becoming a stem cell or bone marrow donor.
It starts with a cheek swab (Canada, US) or blood sample (Quebec, UK).
If you match, you do not put your own life at risk to potentially save another.

UK - Anthony Nolan Trust, African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust
US - National Marrow Donor Program, DKMS Americas
Canada - Hema Quebec Stem Cell Registry, OneMatch Stem Cell Network

Other Countries

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September 17, 2008

It's been a crazy year, but I have been looking forward to the Ottawa International Animation Festival, well.. since the last one ended. This is always the case.

Emru will miss his first festival since 1988, but Brenden Fletcher, Rene Walling and I will be taking in the fest, and we'll try to bring some of it back to you, too.

As usual, there lineup is exceptional. I don't know how I am going to make to all of the special screenings and retrospectives. Just a few of my must-see list items include the Michael Sporn and Jonas Odell retrospectives, Brainwashed! Cartoons That Tell Us What To Think, and The New Wave of Japanese Animation.

Richard Williams' presentation (in interview with John Canemaker) would be in my list, but it's sold already out, which is altogether unsurprising considering the circumstances. If there are any seats left 15 minutes before the event, rush tickets will be sold, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I will have to satisfy myself with a special screening of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? instead. I'm also looking forward to the Yo Gabba Gabba! presentation on Saturday.

I haven't even gotten into the masterclasses, workshops and panels. Honestly, it's like trying to bail out the ocean with a bucket. I'm going to enjoy trying!

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July 10, 2008

Hot damn! Looks like we might be in for the keynote equivalent of a stop-motion pie in the face at this year's beloved Ottawa International Animation Festival. Seth Green and Matt Senreich, co-executive producers, writers, and directors of Cartoon Network’s Emmy award-winning Robot Chicken will be taking the stage to show us how to have a good time while delivering a speech. Hilarity will no doubt ensue.

On the corporate-but-cool side of things and providing this year's opening keynote speech is the President of Animation for Nickelodeon, MTVN Kids and Family Group, Brown Johnson. Ms. Johnson is responsible for some of my niece's favourite programs, from the Dora and Diego series all the way to the mighty Squarepanted one himself!

From the press release,

“Johnson, Green and Senreich are leaders in the industry,” says TAC Director Azarin Sohrabkhani, “We are excited and honoured to have them offering the keynote speeches this year, which will set the tone of the conference, giving insight and inspiration on how to create a quality product and achieve great commercial success.”

All three guest speakers will give their keynote speeches at the Television Animation Conference, complement to the OIAF on September 17th & 18th, 2008 in Ottawa, Ontario.

Previously on fps:
OIAF 2006: The Television Animation Conference, Part 1

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July 1, 2008

It's a week of firsts for this blogger - this is my first post on fps and my first experience with Montreal's famous genre spectacle, the Fantasia Film Festival. Illustrator and fellow fps blogger Matt Forsythe and I attended the press symposium and were treated to a preview of what we can expect from July 3rd-21st.

This year's animated offerings feature an unusual and unintentional focus on collaborative efforts and collections of short films, from DC Comics' Batman: Gotham Knight, Studio 4C's aptly named anime extravaganza, Genius Party, and the cutting-edge showcase, Best of Ottawa Animation Festival 2007. There are only two single-narrative feature-length animated presentations in the entire fest - Bill Plympton's poetic, pencil-scratch surrealist vision, Idiots and Angels and John Bergin's bleak, post-apocalyptic fable, From Inside. We'll cover each entry in more detail throughout the festival.

Continue past the jump for a full schedule of the animated films screening at Fantasia 2008:

July 4th - 7:30PM - Hall Theatre - Genius Party
July 5th - 12:00PM - Hall Theatre - Batman: Gotham Knight
July 5th - 1:00PM - J.A. De Seve - Best of Ottawa Animation Festival 2007
July 6th - 1:00PM - Hall Theatre - Genius Party
July 7th - 9:45PM - Hall Theatre - Peur (s) Du Noir
July 9th - 3:00PM - J.A. De Seve - Peur (s) Du Noir
July 9th - 7:30PM - Hall Theatre - Idiots and Angels (Hosted by creator, Bill Plympton)
July 12th - 2:40PM - J.A. De Seve - Outer Limits Of Animation 2008 (Shorts from around the globe)
July 13th - 9:40PM - J.A. De Seve - From Inside
July 14th - 3:00PM - J.A. De Seve - From Inside

(Okay, who's the putz that programmed Batman: Gotham Knight to screen at the same time as the Ottawa Festival shorts?! ...sigh... guess I'll have to watch you at home on Blu-ray, Batman...)

Tickets go on sale July 2nd at 2PM at the Concordia Hall Theatre (Guy-Concordia Metro) and throughout the Admission Network at $7.50 each.

Directions:Hall Theatre - 1455 Maisonneuve O. (Guy Metro) Map and Directions
DB Clarke Theatre - 1455 Maisonneuve O. (Guy Metro) Map and Directions
J.A. De Seve - 1400 Maisonneuve O. (Guy Metro) Map and Directions

Previously on fps:
2007 Fantasia Line-Up
Batman: Gotham Knight Online
Genius Party Trailers
Plymptoons: The Complete Early Works of Bill Plympton

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December 7, 2007

At last year's Ottawa International Animation Festival, I met with I.Toon founder and president Yuichi Ito; at this year's festival, we—along with his manager Hiroko Kamata—sat down to talk about his series of short stop-motion films, Norabbits' Minutes. Created for Shochiku's 110th anniversary, Norabbits' Minutes features two young rabbit brothers who live together in the forest and have endearing adventures together... though not without some absurd twists. As a bonus, we are also presenting the first episode of Norabbits' Minutes in its entirety.

Ottawa International Animation Festival
Buy the Norabbits' Minutes series on DVD (Region 2)

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At last year's Ottawa International Animation Festival, I met with I.Toon founder and president Yuichi Ito; at this year's festival, we—along with his manager Hiroko Kamata—sat down to talk about his series of short stop-motion films, Norabbits' Minutes.

Listen to the interview and see the short

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October 11, 2007

When I sat down to watch Persepolis, the opening film at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, I was already a fan of the comics it was based on—even though I'd never read them. A year ago Kino Kid introduced me to Marjane Satrapi's work via Poulet aux prunes (Chicken with Plums), another comic set in her native Iran, and it quietly blew me away with its lyrical storytelling. Like Charles M. Schulz's work, Satrapi's style is deceptive: It would be easy to look at its simplicity and starkness (like most of Schulz's work, her comics are in black and white, with no greys) and declare it childish or naïve. It would also be an injustice. With heavy-lidded eyes, wide-open mouths or rubber-hosey limbs, Satrapi's characters convey everything from gleeful, kinetic action to stark terror to heart-rending anguish—which is perfectly fitting for the autobiographical Persepolis.

The movie opens in Tehran, just a few years before the Iranian Revolution. Marjane's educated, progressive and politically aware parents are anticipating the fall of the Shah, and when the demonstrations start they're out on the streets protesting. In the middle of all this upheaval Marjane is starting to piece together her world view in that broad, semi-understanding, somewhat egocentric way that only a child can. As the situation becomes more dangerous (the protests turn violent), then hopeful (the Shah goes into exile, political prisoners are freed), then horribly awry (the rise of Islamic fundamentalism) she's forced to learn complicated, terrible lessons in a very short time.

One of the hardest lessons for Marjane to learn is to temper her smart mouth. A bright child raised by socially conscious parents, she had long been encouraged to question and to speak her mind—not an especially bad thing during the Shah's last days in power, but a dangerous trait in an increasingly restrictive society, and especially in one that devalues its women. When she's fourteen, her parents realize that Marjane can't thrive in Iran, so they send her to a French school in Vienna. It's there that Marjane suffers the trials and confusion of culture shock, racism and adolescence, sometimes separately, often all at once.

I ended up reading the first two collected Persepolis volumes after seeing the movie, and was struck by how w
ell they complement each other. Because of the way comics telescope time, there are some things that the movie compresses, and others it extends. In some cases, it's a mix of both: A scene in which the Guardians of the Revolution, Iran's militia and moral police, break up an illicit party is given more play in the movie, but Marjane's emotional aftermath is reduced to mere moments—and the result is that much more powerful.

The movie, which is co-written and co-directed by Satrapi (along with Vincent Paronnaud), is extremely faithful to her style; though it includes more grey tones to provide some texture, there are only slight concessions to the animated medium. (Again, a comparison to Schulz's Peanuts is apt here). Faithful, however, doesn't mean slavish: rather than using the comics as a literal storyboard, the movie uses them as springboard. As loose as the comics' style is, the movie takes advantage of animation's possibilities, especially with regards to the chadors and habits of the strictly religious Iranian women and nuns who have the misfortune to cross Marjane's path. Bodies bend, curve and coil; rarely to extreme, but often with a liveliness that's just a step above Satrapi's more contemplative comics. Several one- or two-panel elements (or even just speech balloons) from the comic get extended, sometimes hilarious play in the movie, including a whimsical take on the Shah's father's installation by the British, and the best rendition of "Eye of the Tiger" ever.

Persepolis is the cinematic sibling of other autobiographical films that encompass cultures and experiences that most in the West have heard or read of, but only really know superficially, like Barefoot Gen and Grave of the Fireflies; but it's also quite different. There's no singular, epic tragic moment as in Barefoot Gen, nor is there the shadow of death that hangs over Grave of the Fireflies. What we do have is several decades of a life, rather than a tiny sliver; and by observing the growth of that life, we're given a nuanced look at the culture and the people that shaped it. Satrapi's gaze is unflinching as she exposes everyone's good and bad sides; she not only reveals her own failings and hypocrisies, she exposes the good in people it would be easy to write off. When two militia members stop her family late one evening, she and her grandmother try to get to the apartment quickly so they can ditch her father's supply of alcohol. When the grandmother plays at being hypoglycemic for their excuse, one of the guardsmen softens for a moment and says, "Just like my mother. Go on."

This is Persepolis's magic. It presents a complex, layered, compassionate and often humorous look at the people of a country that has been presented only superficially to Westerners, most recently as a member of the "axis of evil" with a lunatic as a leader. It's a shame that the people who most need to see Persepolis likely won't, but in the meantime we can experience the joys and sadness of a life that is at once alien and familiar, in glorious black and white.

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October 10, 2007
Since Persepolis and Madame Tutli-Putli each screened at Cannes and won awards this year in May, they have appeared at animation and mainstream film festivals to acclaim. Montrealers can now finally see both films by attending the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, which begins today.

Animation seems to have taken on a more important role in the festival with more shorts than ever. However, a few might slip through the cracks if you aren't careful. The visceral Face lies in wait in Competition 1, on Thursday, October 11 and Wednesday, October 17th. Madame Tutli-Putli is showing during Competition 2 this Friday, October 12 and Tuesday, October 16. Selina Cobley's Crow Moon screens in Competition 3 next week on the 17th and 18th.

The National Film Board of Canada Stereo Lab is screening four stereoscopic shorts, which 2004 OIAF attendees might have seen, but this screening includes the premiere of a stereoscopic version of Theodor Ushev's phenomenal Tower Bawher.

Previously on fps
Festival du Nouveau Cinéma coverage
Persepolis coverage
Two Podcasts for Madame Tutli-Putli

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October 2, 2007
Didn't go to Ottawa this year? Even if you went, you might not have been able to see the special screenings on poetry and animation, Poetry in Motion. If you live in Montreal, you can see both programs this week on Thursday and Saturday at the Cinémathèque Québécoise. The programmer is the National Film Board producer and author Marcel Jean, and he has selected shorts that span decades and geographical boundaries (although the first screening is half Canadian, including Québécois, in its content).

From Words to Images
Thursday, October 4, 6:30 p.m.
Primiti Too Taa, Ed Akerman, Colin Morton
Essere morti o essere vivi è la stessa cosa, Gianluigi Toccafondo
Forgetfulness, Julian Grey
Rain, Michael Sewnarain
Espolio, Sidney Goldsmith
Aloud/Bagatelle, Don McWilliams
6 haïku, Éric Ledune
A Said Poem, Veronika Soul
Tengo la posizione, Simone Massi
The Old Fools, Ruth Lingford
Poetry is Child’s Play, Bouwine Pool
Sandburg’s Arithmetic, Lynn Smith
Tread Softly, Heebok Lee
At the Quinte Hotel, Bruce Alcock (click the image above for an excerpt.)

The Film as Poetry Itself
Saturday, October 6, 5:00 p.m.
Accordion, Michèle Cournoyer
Stones (Sten), Lejf Marcussen
Beginnings, Clorinda Warny, Suzanne Gervais, Lina Gagnon
As people, Ursula Ferrara
Kaiten Mokuba, Thomas Hicks
9 in a Chimney 10 in a Bed or Hates A Strong Word, Jean-Jacques Villard
Renaissance, Walerian Borowczyk
Night on Bald Mountain, Alexandre Alexeïeff, Claire Parker
Grace, Lorelei Pepi
Mr. Pascal, Alison de Vere
Repete, Michaela Pavlátová

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September 28, 2007

(Pika Pika 2007)

I hope your weekend is full of eye-opening creativity and spontaneity, with flashes of pure joy, whimsy and possibly genius. Here's something to get you started.

Previously on fps:

OIAF 2006: PikaPika Lightning Doodle Project

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September 24, 2007
Persepolis [2007] Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi, France

Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor [2007] Koji Yamamura, Japan

Milk Teeth [2007] Tibor Banoczki, National Film and Television School, UK

Golden Age [2007] Aaron Augenblick, Augenblick Studios, USA

Sleeping Betty (Isabelle au bois dormant) [2007] Claude Cloutier, National Film Board of Canada, Canada
Honourable Mention: I Met The Walrus (2007) Josh Raskin, I Met the Walrus Inc., Canada

Bezalel Academy for Art and Design (Israel)

Narrative Short Animation under 35 minutes: Madame Tutli-Putli [2007] Chris Lavis & Maciek Szczerbowski, National Film Board of Canada, Canada

Experimental / Abstract Animation under 35 minutes: Framing (Bildfenster / Fensterbilder) [2007] Bert Gottschalk, Germany

Honourable Mention: Teat Beat of Sex [2007] Signe Baumane, USA

Adobe Prize for Best High School Animation: Herbert [2007] Aven Fisher, King’s View Academy, Canada

Undergraduate Animation: Doxology [2007] Michael Langan, Rhode Island School of Design, USA

Graduate Animation: t.o.m. [2006] Tom Brown & Daniel Gray, International Film School of Wales, UK

Promotional Animation: National Lottery ‘The Big Win’ [2006] Marc Craste, Studio AKA, UK

Music Video: OOIOO ‘UMO’ [2007] Shoji Goto, Japan

Television Animation for Adults: John and Karen [2007] Matthew Walker, Arthur Cox Ltd., UK

AniBoom Prize for Animation Short Made for the Internet: L’eau Life [2007] Jeff Scher, Fez Films, USA

Best Short Animation: Zhiharka [2006] Oleg Uzhinov, “Pilot” Moscow Animation Studio, Russian Federation
Honourable Mention: Nightmare at School [2007] Catherine Arcand, National Film Board of Canada, Canada
Honourable Mention: Aston's Stones (Astons stenar) [2007] Uzi Geffenblad & Lotta Geffenblad, Sweden

Television Animation for Children: Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends 'Squeeze the Day' [2006] Craig McCracken, Cartoon Network Studios, USA
Honourable Mention: Pocoyo 'Dance Off' [2007] Guillermo Garcia & Alfonso Rodriguez, Zinkia Entertainment & Granada International, Spain & UK

Sleeping Betty (Isabelle au bois dormant) [2007] Claude Cloutier, National Film Board of Canada, Canada

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September 22, 2007
The Animator's Picnic in Strathcona Park was plenty of fun. Lots of people were glad to see familiar faces and make new connections. This was my chance to see Martine Chartrand and Pilar Newton again. Pilar was one of the winners in the annual pumpkin carving contest again this year.Her pumpkin toaster was a hit with the crowd, along with many others. Another prizewinner was a pumpkin inspired by Luis Cook's Aardman Animation short, The Pearce Sisters.

It was also a chance for the animation community to come together to help the family of the late Helen Hill. During the picnic, donations were contributed to an education fund for her son, the Francis Pop Education Fund.

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People often forget that not every event at the Ottawa International Animation Festival requires that you get a babysitter before you leave home. There are many opportunities to take the kids with you. Here's a list of family friendly events.

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September 21, 2007
(click to enlarge.)

The single largest digital animation-related event in Montreal this year is the ADAPT conference, which began last year with a bang. The conference (Monday, September 24 to Friday, September 28) focuses on digital art production techniques, including animation and game development. Some highlights this year include keynote speaker Phil Tippett, returning guest Syd Mead, and speakers from Pixar, Sony Imageworks, Dreamworks and Industrial Light and Magic, among others.

Those looking for work in concept design and animation will want to attend the ADAPT job fair and master classes.

If you're in Ottawa this year for the Ottawa International Animation Festival, you can get a reciprocal discount for each event. Check their sites for details.

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September 18, 2007
Another nice byproduct of the Ottawa International Animation Festival is the host of ancillary events that occur in nearby cities. Animators want to make the most of their trip, especially if they are from abroad, and end up dropping into other cities for smaller events. Last year, after the festival I had the chance to see Kihachiro Kawamoto's Book of the Dead a second time, because of a special trip he made to Montreal. It's a nice consolation for people who can't experience the sheer awesomeness of the actual festival, and a great teaser or way to come down from the fest.

The Toronto Animated Image Society will be hosting Joanna Quinn (barely or not safe for work web link, depending on the sense of humour of the people where you work!), in conversation with the NFB's Michael Fukushima on Tuesday, September 18 (tonight!). You'll recognize her commercial work in her demo reel and get an idea of the antics of her endearing but oh-so-wrong recurring character, Beryl. Click the flyer for details.

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September 13, 2007
If you're an animator looking for work, you need to get yourself over to the Ottawa International Animation Festival if you can humanly manage it. For a number of reasons, but one is the Animators For Hire event featuring companies like Blue Sky, Nelvana and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

It's simple, just go to the OIAF website, check out the list of interviewees, and follow the steps (but do it all by this Friday, September 14):

1. Review what each company is looking for to make sure you would be a good fit. Take note of what countries they can take applicants from, and the level of experience they are looking for.

2. Once you have decided on a company you'd like to meet with, follow that studio's information on our website to the correct email link. Include your name and contact information. Please paste your resume into the body of the email. Do not send attachments. We will be doing a quick look at your application to ensure that you meet the basic job requirements.

3. We will let you know on Saturday, September 15 what meeting times you have been assigned.
Forget speed-dating. Clean up your portfolio, and get ready for the speed-meeting that could really change your life.

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September 12, 2007
There's just a week to go before the Ottawa International Animation Festival opens, and the lineup is impressive. If you'll be in Ottawa for the first day, Wednesday, September 19, then you will be among the first to see the film adaptation of Persepolis, adapted by the author Marjane Satrapi. It won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes earlier this year and screened recently at the Toronto International Film Festival. Unless you will be at the VFF in October, you won't want to miss it in Ottawa with a crowd that can't be beat for enthusiasm when the film is deserving.

Following the opening feature, Short Competition 1 also features a notable selection including instant personal classic, UMO, the visceral J-Pop video directed by Shoji Goto. The video melds multiple techniques, including stop-motion, CG and 2D, and effectively makes you want more when it ends. It won't be the first or last animation short that you will see over the course of the festival the latches onto you.

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June 29, 2007
Our pals at the Fantasia film festival have unleashed this year's lineup, and as always, animation fans are well served—but they have to do a little more work to get their fix.

Features seem a little diminished, but not so much as last year. The fest starts and ends strong—Tekkon Kinkreet is the opening film, and the Korean Yobi the Five-Tailed Fox is the last animated screening, on the second-to-last day of the festival—but those are the only two features on 35mm film. The odd-looking stopmo film We Are the Strange is in high-definition video, but the other features (the Flash-animated Minushi, Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow and Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society) are all projected, standard-definition video. Previous Fantasia fests prove that watching projected video can still be enjoyable, but spending four days at the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema watching nothing but 35mm reminds you of the kind of difference the medium makes.

There are also two short feature documentaries that are about animation, and they're screening together. Animania is about Canadian anime fandom, which appears to focus on how the current generation of teen fans relate to anime. I've seen and heard so many reports on teen fandom I'd be inclined to give it a pass, but last year—back when the movie's focus was less on the teens—I was interviewed extensively for Animania, and I was asked some very interesting questions. I'm hoping they applied the same kind of thoughtfulness to their adolescent subjects. (And no, I'm not in the actual Animania movie, but apparently I'll appear in the DVD extras.) The other documentary is the French Ghibli et le mystère Miyazaki (Ghibli and the Mystery of Miyazaki), which needs little explaining but which is definitely a must-see, especially with interviewees like Isao Takahata, Moebius and Takashi Murakami.

Fantasia's real source of pleasure for animation fans comes from the animated shorts, but that's also its real source of pain. For years I've been preaching that animation shouldn't be ghettoized, that it should be treated like "regular" film. The problem is that Fantasia gives me just what I ask for, scattering its animated shorts among omnibus films (Ten Nights of Dreams) and over a dozen collections of shorts, only two of which are animation-specific (a best-of compilation from last year's Ottawa fest, plus the latest edition of The Outer Limits of Animation, which inexplicably includes the two-year-old, almost overexposed, not-terribly-out-there In the Rough). Miraculously, it's possible to see all of the animated shorts with only one schedule conflict: The one screening of The Outer Limits of Animation is at the same time as Watch Out! Beyond the Genres of Korean Short Films, which includes the 34-minute The Hell (Two Kinds of Life).

And really, that's the most amazing thing about Fantasia this year. They've added a third cinema to their venues, but in three weeks of screenings there appear to be fewer repeats than ever before. It's a testament to the passion of their crew that they're still going so strong.

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May 9, 2007
A special tribute to animation stalwart Helene Tanguay will be held on Thursday, May 10 at La Cinematheque Quebecoise.

After several months of preparation by the National Film Board of Canada and La Cinematheque Quebecoise, a selection of films by ten Canadian filmmakers have been hand-picked just for her in the utmost secrecy.

Attend the screening to find out the 10 films that have been dedicated to her (and who did the dedicating) on the brink of her retirement from the NFB.

Helene has also been named Honorary President of the Ottawa International Animation Festival for 2007.

May at La Cinematheque Quebecoise

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March 21, 2007
The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) today announced its worldwide call for entries for the 2007 Festival taking place September 19 to 23 in Canada’s capital.

Animators are invited to submit their recent work in six major categories including Independent Short films, Feature films, New Media, Commissioned films, Student films and Films made for children.

The OIAF 07 entry deadline is June 1, 2007 and preview DVDs must be received by June 15. Entry forms are available on the Festival’s website at

Further information about this year’s Festival, as well as online entry forms, are available on the OIAF website at Questions about submitting a film? Inquiries may be sent to entries [at] or by telephone at 613-232-8769.

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October 27, 2006
Karl Cohen at ASIFA San Francisco (ASIFA-SF) wrote about International Animation Day, and made a list of International Animation Day events. This is a long read—it covers every continent that has at least one cinema—so you'd better sit down.

[Source: Maureen Furniss's Animation Journal mailing list.]

In 2002, ASIFA (, the International Animated Film Association, launched a global event to celebrate the art of animation. October 28th was proclaimed as International Animation Day, commemorating the first public performance of Emile Reynaud's Theatre Optique at the Grevin Museum in Paris in 1892.

Beyond the several national ASIFA national Chapters (more than 30 different countries) which celebrate the International Animation Day, ASIFA invites you to join in by screening animated films, organizing workshops, exhibiting artwork and stills, providing technical demonstrations, and helping to promote the art of animation.

Such a celebration is an outstanding opportunity of putting the animated film in the limelight, and making this art more accessible to the public.

This year International Animation Day will be observed in 49 different countries all over the world. For the first time, countries as culturally diverse as Columbia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Turkey, Lebanon, Greece, Cuba, Estonia, Italy, China and even Russia will participate.

In Brazil, Canada, Finland, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Portugal, Spain and USA, there will be several days of celebration in different places, two weeks in France and a whole month in Beijing China (French Institute).

In 2006, a system of program exchanges has been created to help participants put together culturally diverse animation programs from around the world. Some ASIFA chapters have planned free programs on DVD (Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Israel, Japan and USA Atlanta) and some programs have also been proposed from countries without ASIFA chapters (Argentina, Brazil and Portugal). This will definitely be a great benefit for the development of International Animation Day.

List of the countries participating, by continents:

Africa - Algeria, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal.
America - Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Paraguay, Uruguay, USA.
Asia - China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, Taiwan.
Europe - Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom.
Oceania - Australia.


The 6th and 7th of November, the association Patrimoine and the French Institute will organize a lecture with Mr Jean-Pierre Pagliano about Paul Grimault and the French Animation Graduation Showcase will be screen in four different cities.

Between the 21th and the 27th of October, in Accra, The NAFTI (The National Film and Television Institute) will organize the second edition of the African animation celebration.

The 28th and the 30th of October, the French Institute of Meknès, organizer of the Intenational Animation Cinema Festival (FICAM), will organize several screenings of the French feature films It's Raining Cats and Dogs by Jacques-Rémy Girerd and Kaena, the Prophecy by Chris Delaporte and Pascal Pinon and will organize a workshop with the Moroccan animation director and teacher Said Bouftass.

The Neighbourhood Film Festival of Dakar, will present the French animation graduation film showcase.


The 27th of October, at the Spanish Cultural Center, the Cordoba International Animation Festival "Anima", will screen a selection of animations from its three first editions as well as the French animation graduation showcase.

At Villa Maria (Cordoba state), in collaboration with the collective of artists DestilArte Project, Anima festival will also organize the screening of a selection of animation schools from the UNC and the UNVM.

At the Demiurgo Animation Workshop, screening of a selection of student works, a Nicobis Showcase (a production company that developped animation in Bolivia) for its 25th birthday, the feature Emeterio (1965), first animation film in Bolivia. The celebration will end by the screening of two features from Ghibli studios with the collaboration of the Japanese embassy.

Coordinate by the ABCA (Brazilian Animation Cinema Association), The International animation day will be celebrate in 19 different cities all over the country, with many screenings of the ABCA programme, the House of Animation of Portugal's programme, the French Graduation Film Showcase's programme and differentworkshops and lectures.

The 28th of October, the Canadian Film Institute in Ottawa, in collaboration with the Ottawa International Animation Festival will screen a special program of ten short films, from Fantasmagorie by Emile Cohl, 1908 to Red Buffalo Skydive by Jude Norris, 2005.

The 17th of November, The Emily Carr Institute of Vancouver will present the French Animation Graduation Showcase.

The 28th of October, à the CinéRobothèque, the NFB (National Film Board of Canada) will organise a master workshop « Animation witloof préméditation » with Jean Detheux.

The same day, will begin the animation contest « Animate your clicks ! »

The 27th at the Musée de la civilisation in Québec, will held a live performance by Frédéric Alouf, inspired by Norman McLaren's work and the 28th and 29th, workshops witloof camera will be directed by Geneviève Roy and Karl Lemieux, and the 29th, a program of McLaren's classiques will be screen

The 28th of October, The Cinematheque québécoise will screen the 10 films selected for the Animation Celebration Contest organized by the AFCA and Toonboom.

The 24th of October, the Cinetheque of the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso, will organise two lectures, one with Jaime Cañas Lemesch and the other with Carlos Sespedes Aravena and will screen the French animation graduation showcase, the student films of Cordoba university, two short films programs and the documentary Magia Russica.

At the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano and the Universidad Los Libertadores, ASIFA Colombia will organize several screenings (including French animation graduation showcase), speeches and a forum.

The International School of Film and TV of Havana will organize a whole week of exhibition of contemporary animation in the school and in San Antonio de los Baños. Besides, there will be a workshop and a special lecture of the greatest collector of animated films in the country.

The 15th Asunción International Film Festival (5th to 26th of October) celebrated animation in screening 7 animated features : Waking Life, Howl´s Moving Castle, The Dog, the General and the Birds, The King and the Monckinbir, It's Raining Cats and Dogs, Black Mor's Island, The Triplettes of Belleville and over 30 animated shorts from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Czech Republic and the United States.

The 26th of October, Lourdes Villagomez will give a presentation of Mexican Animation and a talk on independent animated shorts production in her country

From the 9th to the 14th of November the Cinemateca Uruguaya will present 5 days of animation, on the topic proposed by the French Foreign Office : « Le Long s'anime », with 7 French feature films, from The King and theMockinbird by Paul Grimault to Black Mor's Island by Jean-François Laguionie.

ASIFA Central will organize screenings in several schools in Michigan, including Grand Valley State University, Kellogg Community College, and Kendall College of Art and Design.

Baltimore University will screen the French animation graduation showcase.

ASIFA Hollywood will do a setting entitled "Smokin' Toons"

ASIFA San Francisco
ASIFA-San Francisco asked David Andrews, a former director at ILM, to present an illustrated talk on creating animated characters in features. He discussed various acting styles to a large audience of students, professionals and the general public at San Francisco State University. He showed clips that included Snow White and Dobby, the character he directed in the second Harry Potter feature.

ASIFA Atlanta
The 4th of November, in the Atlanta Relapse Theatre, ASIFA Atlanta will screen several animation programs, including the French Animation Graduation Showcase, ASIFA Japan program and ASIFA Hungary program


The French Cultural Center of Beijing will present during the whole month of October a large panorama of French contemporary animation, with Christian Volckman - who directed the feature Renaissance- as a special guest. Three short films programs and six features will be screened (Renaissance, Kirikou and the Sorceress, It's Raining Cats and Dogs, The Triplets of Beleville, Kaena the Prophecy), with a special non stop day screening, the 28th of Octobre at the Chinese Cinematheque.

The 28th of October, in Tata Theatre, National Centre for the Performing Arts at Mumbai (Bombay), ASIFA India and TASI (The Animation Society of India), will organize several events.

Kicking off the celebration will be the Arts Mela, a 3 hour long free flow banquet of screenings, interactive sessions and animation art. The screenings will take place in multiple mini theatre settings, highlighting the finest of Indian and international animation from studios and students. In addition, the best animation from the Gaming industry and the best Indian ad films will be screened. A special showing of the award winning short film, Ryan, from the National Film Board of Canada, will also be screened. Interactive sessions will include Indian Puppet Shows, Claymation/Stop Motion, 3D Animation and 2D Animation.

The main auditorium activities will include the world premiere of Maaa, a short film by Animagic for the Children's Film Society of India. This will be followed by the ASIFA Awards of Excellence for the best films in Indian animation for 2006. After dinner will be a special sneak screening of a new animated feature film… surprise!

Smaller regional celebrations are planned to be held in other cities around the country including Delhi and Bangalore.

L'ASIFA Iran celebrates the day in Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts, a bit in advance this year, from October 6th to 8th. It will include screenings of French new animated films, with the co-operation of the French Embassy, two workshops on traditional and new technology in 2D, 3D computer animation, two meetings of three generations of animators, an exhibition of drawing and design for animation from 30 artists, a Media Art non stop screening, a tribute to Mr. N. Karimi one of the pioneers in Animation art and a closing ceremony including awarding Plate of Honor to top artists in different professions of animation.

There are some parallel activities in animation held in the provinces as well.

From 27th of October to 28th of November, Co-ordinated by ASIFA Israel, nine different places will celebrate International Animation Day, in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, in screening 19 different programs including Among the Thorns, Lotta and Uzi Geffenblad, the documentary Pace of Peace, the French animation graduation showcase, The Moon and the Sun by John Canemaker, the Portuguese House of Animation's Program and an International selection of short films.

ASIFA Japan will organize screenings at Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto.

On the 28th of October at Aman, the Abu Mahjoob Studios will screen several Jordanian short films from Hadi and Hajjawari Productions, Jordan Pioneers Productions, Tharamedia, Saba & Younis E-Solutions, and animation independant directors Abtal Al Mahaba, Mahmmoud Hindawi, Mohammad Hushki, Lama Al Johary, Tarek Al Khateeb and Anas Balawi.

Three days of célébration will be organized between the 17th and 19th of November, at the Seoul Animation Center Theatre, by the ASIFA Korea, in association with Korean Animation Artists Association, Korean Society of Cartoon & Animation Studies and Korean Independant Animation.

On the 28th of October, the French Institute of Beyruth will screen the French animation graduation showcase and a selection of Lebanese short films.

From the 27th to the 31th of October, in the Digital Content Institute and Dun-Nan Eslite Bookshop in Taipei and Tunghai University in Taichung, the Taiwan Animation Association (TAA) will organize the screening of "Taiwan New Talents", « Welcome Taiwan-2004 Annecy », "ASIFA Japan program ", "French animation graduation showcase from AFCA" and films from the Russian " Pilot Animation Studio". There will also be two master classes, the first with the French director and producer Georges Lacroix, and the second with the English director Joanna Quinn and the producer and scripwriter Les Mills.

From the 28th to the 30th of October, at Tashkent, the Uzbekfilm studios will screen the French animation graduation showcase, the Portuguese program of the House of Animation, the documentary about Russian animation Magia Russica, a program of Argentinean University of Cordoba graduation films and will propose a meeting with the Uzbek director Sergey Alibekov, with a retrospective of his short films. There will also be a meeting with the pupils of Children's Art Studio.

International Animation Day will also be celebrated in Indonesia.


ASIFA Austria will present "Mozart Animations" - animated films connected with Mozart, "YEAH ! - Vol. 01", Yearly European Animation Highlights, A programme from the Crossing Europe Filmfestival.

From 26th of October to the 7th of November, the Folioscope Association will present the Best of Anima 2006 in 14 movie theatres of Wallonie, Brussels and Flanders.

The High School of Visual Arts of La Cambre of Bruxelles and The Jacques Franck Cultural Center will present the 2005/2006 promotion of the school.

The 21th of October, the Hogeschool in Gent (K.A.S.K.) had screened a selection of films from around the world, collected by Nancy Phelps, the French animation graduation showcase, a reel from students at the K.A.S.K. and a history of music through animation which Nancy and Terry Phelps originally created for the Film, Television and Animation Museum in Bradford, England.

At the cinema of the Bulgarian Films Archives, ASIFA Bulgaria will screen different animation programs, including the French animation graduation showcase.

On the 29th of October, ASIFA Croatia will present "The Day of Croatian Animation", with the screening of animation works from Croatian children workshops 2005/2006, animation works by students of animation at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb (Animation Department) and professional Croatian animation 2005/2006. Three awards (one by category) will be attributed on this occasion.

Czech Republic
On the 24th and 25th of October at the Ponrepo Cinema, in Prague, the National Film Archive of Prague will present two programs : at first, a Russian program nammed Russian Impression, composed by films from the beginning of Russian animation, with also some Alexandre Alexeieff and Youri Norstein's short films. The second program is a VSMU (the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts of Bratislava) selection, presented in co-operation with the Biennial of Animation of Bratislava.

On the 28th of October, the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival's animation sub-festival "Animated Dreams" will organise a special screening with some of the short animations from their archives.

The ASIFA Finland and The Finnish Animation Association will co-ordinate different events in the whole country. On the 28th of October, The Finnish Film Archive, will offer a tribute to Walerian Borowczyk. The Animatricks festival held on the same week end with several programs. The Art House Cinema in Tampere and the Turku Art Academy will screen the French animation graduation showcase. Sininen Verstas (workshop for educating unemployed youth) will screen their own animations in one of Helsinki's shopping centers.

Two full weeks on célébrations in France (October 18-31).

Our guest of honor this year is filmmaker Florence Miailhe. During the fifteen days, she will present her films in different cities throughout the country. We will have an exhibition of her work in Paris where, on October 28th, Miailhe will have carte blanche to present, along with her work, her own special selection of films by her favorite artists.

Thanks to the organized efforts of our regional co-ordinators throughout France, we have succeeded in planning almot 300 events. These include, of course, screenings: powder animation in Beaubourg - Paris (with artists Nag Ansorge and Alexandra Korejwo attending); a night of animation in Lille; tributes to Frederic Back, Jean-François Laguionie, Jérôme Boulbes, Norman McLaren, and the Ghibli Studio; exhibitions (including Alexandre Alexeieff, Philippe Jullien, Michel Ocelot, and Norman McLaren; workshops; conferences (including animation creation in France in the Grand Palais, Paris) and The Internet « Animation Celebration Contest » in association with Toonboom.

On the 28th of October, the House of France (French Institute) of Mains will present the French animation graduation showcase.

On the 27th of October in Ianos Bookshop in Athens, will held a presentation about the art of caricature, with the presentation of Aristarchos Papadaniel's book Greek Political Caricature -The Serious side of a Funny Art and Dutse Recalls, the first Greek animation movie (1945), directed by the famous caricaturist Stamatis Polenakis. Several personalities and specialists will give some lectures about this subject.

On the 28th of October, ASIFA Hungary will organize at the Uránia National Motion Picture Theatre and the Toldi Arts Cinema in Budapest several screenings of the ASIFA Hungary, France, Japan, Atlanta programs, House of Animation Portuguese program, Argentinian Cordoba Uiversity's films, ABCA's Brazilian programs, the selection of Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Best of Anifest, Best animation of Mediawave, Best of Kecskemétfilm Ltd, features A Monkey's Castle, Asterix and the Vikings, Cars, the documentary Magia Russica...

There will be also a children animation workshop and a one for comics development with the collaboration of the association of "Hungarian Comics Academy" at the Uránia National Motion Picture Theatre, different exhibitions, performances and chats about animation and comics.

On the 27th and 28th, at the Grand Café, Szeged, screening of Animated Tales, Howl's Moving Castle, Pal Toth's 3D animation short films (meeting with the author), Youri Norstein's short films, Cat Tales' serie (meeting with Béla Ternovszky), Cat's City's serial, Istvan Orosz's short films (meeting with the author) and French animation graduation showcase.

On the 28th and 29th of October, the International Festival of Animation Cinema and Comics "Cartoon Club" of Rimini, will screen the feature Curious George, and a selection of short films.

In Animation Museum in Riga will be celebrated the 80th anniversary of the first European feature film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, and the 40th anniversary of Latvian animation. The famous Lotte Reiniger's film will then be screened, with the live accompaniment performed by the Orchestra of Academy of Music, as welle as two Latvian films programs.

From the 23th to the 29th of October, the House of Animation of Porto, will organise several projections of the Brazilian Animation Cinema Association (ABCA) programme, the Moholy-Nagy Fine Arts Academy of Budapest, the French animation graduation showcase, the Bezalel Academy of Jerusalem, the 2006 Golden Cartoons, the new Aardman feature Flushed Away's making of and a children's programme.

Several events will also be held in about 15 different cities, including Lisbon, Coimbra, Espinho, Vila do Conde…

From 26th to 28th of Octobre, at the Filmmakers' Union's head, ASIFA Romania will organize, with the British Council's collaboration, a screening of a Czech "best of 2002-2006" and a selection of films awarded in the most important animation festivals.

On the 28th of October, the International Festival of Animation Arts "Multivision" of St-Petersburg will screen the French animation graduation showcase, the ASIFA Japan program and documentary Magia Russica.

Several screenings will organize different screenings in Belgrade, Vranye, Nis, Cacak, etc.

During The Biennial of Animation of Bratislava (17th to 20th of October), to celebrate International Animation Day, the festival has screened the "Celebrity of Czech animated film" in collaboration with the National Films Archives of Prague, as well as the French animation graduation showcase.

On the 28th of October, Izolanima Festival (26-28th of October) will organise two special screenings, the first will be dedicated to Norman McLaren and the second will present the French animation graduation showcase.

The 30th of October, Animadrid Festival will present at the Capitol Theater in Madrid a short films program with a selection of awarded films of Animadrid 2005 and 2006 and other shorts including Vincent by Tim Burton and Guide Dog by Bill Plympton.

The 4th and the 5th of November, Cinetic association will organize different exhibitions, a presentation of Alfons Moliné's book "The Great Book of Mangas" and will Screen film of Jan Baca, "Film Film Film" and "The Island" by Fiodor Khitruk and the feature "It's Raining Cats and Dogs" by Jacques-Rémy Girerd.

On the 28th and 29th of October, during the festival Cinematou for children, at the Grottes Cinema, the GSFA (Swiss Animated Films Group) will screen a special selection of Swiss films, presented to the Soleure Animated Film Festival.

On the 28th of October, at Zoo, Istanbul, the Kolektif Produksiyon will organize three screenings of the French animation graduation showcase.

United Kingdom
On the 28th of October, at the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, The Bradford Animation Festival will present screenings of My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke by Hayao Miyazaki, a BAF06 Selection Preview, a Bradford Big Screen Festival Preview and will offer a free workshop.

On the same day, the Barbican Centre in London will screen the Taiwanaise feature Grandma and her Ghosts and throughout the day will be screened a short animation before each of the new releases : Rabbit by Run Wrake, Know Your Europeans UK by Bob Godfrey and Love Then First Fight by Tim Hope.


On the 28th of October, The Queensland animators Group will organize the screening of Queensland Animation Show and French animation graduation showcase at the Globe, Fortitute Valley.

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Tomorrow is International Animation Day, an event started by ASIFA in 2002 to celebrate the art we all love. (Why today? It commemorates the first public screening of Emile Reynaud's Théâtre optique in Paris in 1892. Animation has many parents.)

How does one celebrate a day like this? Easy—by watching, creating, and discussing animation and its creation. The ASIFA website lists events 11 events happening in Bulgaria, Brazil, the US, Portugal, Canada, Israel, Hungary, Argentina, France, and Japan, but there's a lot more happening. Here are just four examples from our neck of the woods:

As part of the National Film Board of Canada's 65 Years of Animation at the NFB, the CinéRobothèque in downtown Montreal is presenting Animation Without Premeditation at 1:00 p.m., a workshop on music and abstract animation. At 7:00 p.m., the Cinémathèque Québécoise presents La Fête du Cinéma d'Animation, the results of a joint venture by Toon Boom Animation and l'Association française du cinéma d'animation (AFCA), in which films were submitted, screened and subsequently voted on via the Internet. The theme for the films was "An Unusual Encounter." Admission to both events is free.

In nearby Quebec City, the Musée de la Civilisation presents a special program on 65 years of animation at the NFB, a Best of Norman McLaren program, and Paris's VJ Oof doing a live remix of McLaren's music and animation. These events start today and end on October 29.

And finally, in Ottawa, the Canadian Film Institute and the Ottawa International Animation Festival are screening ten short films from France, the US, the UK, Canada and Japan at Library and Archives Canada at 2:00 p.m., from Emile Cohl's 1908 Fantasmagorie to 2005's Great Emarican Music.

How is International Animation Day being celebrated in your neighbourhood? Find out and let us know.

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October 2, 2006
As brilliant as the films were, the Ottawa International Animation Festival was, as always, as much about the people as anything else. And, of course, deranged pumpkins. Check out our photo gallery and see for yourself.

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September 29, 2006
One of the pleasures of the Ottawa International Animation Festival is that you often get to see people use existing techniques in new ways. One of my favourite examples is Busby, a 1997 short that composited black-and-white images of hands and arms that paid tribute to the movie choreography of Busby Berkeley; another is last year's Fliegenpflicht für Quadratköpfe (Bow-tie Duty for Square Heads), in which the director played with props, perspective and considerable animation to present an interesting view of Berlin.

This year, that film would be pikapika, also referred to as Lightning Doodle Project. Animators Takeshi Nagata and Kazue Monno, operating under the name Tochka, gathered teams of volunteers from Mixi (Japan's answer to MySpace) and took long-exposure photographs of them making shapes in the air with cell phones, PDAs, and other light-emitting gadgets, moved them over a little, and then repeated the process. The end result resembles scratch-film work (the clickety-click soundtrack makes the whole thing evocative of some of Norman McLaren's experiments), but with a strange kind of intensity. It's also interesting that the nature of the technique allows you to see the forms of the people making the images. Most mind-bending is the thought that each image, which is the result of an extended period of time, then becomes a fraction of a second as an animated frame.

You can see a QuickTime of pikapika on Tochka's website.

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