After years of Ottawa International Animation Festival attendance, I’d call myself something of a veteran. And in my time covering the event, I’d have to say that I get the most out of the short film competitions. Each competition feels meaty and substantial – a huge assortment of perspectives, backgrounds, storylines and animation styles crammed into a little more than an hour of screen time. I usually leave each competition mentally full to the brim, bursting with thoughts and reactions.
It was with this in mind that fellow Apt613 editor Yasmin Nissim and I decided to go for a Short Competition Grand Slam. That is, we’d take in each of the short competitions by festival’s end. And we did, indeed, manage to catch each short competition this year. And I’m glad we did, as this year had a lot of incredible material on offer. Here are some of my favourites, in no particular order:
Myself: Smoke and Myself: Universe Created by German animator Andreas Hykade, both of these fourth-wall-breaking short films quite literally ask the audience to participate in the main character’s physical and existential explorations, only for these journeys to fall flat on their faces with quick and witty punchlines. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lgjcu2TpBxg[/youtube] Stromae “Carmen” If you consider yourself a social media maven, but you haven’t searched out Sylvain Chomet’s animated diss track to Twitter, created for Belgian musician Stromae, you should probably do that right away. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKftOH54iNU[/youtube]
Ernie Biscuit Fans of animator Adam Elliot’s previous work, including 2009’s feature length Mary and Max, will find lots to like here. It’s a black and white clayographic film that follows the life of a deaf Parisian taxidermist who finds love and happiness during a mistaken trip to Australia.
DDWIWDD Dan Deacon conscripted nine animators (including Canadian musician/artist Chad VanGaalen), who each brought a segment of his song When I Was Done Dying to life in this music video.
A Single Life This funny piece by Dutch animators Job, Joris and Marieke depicts a woman who transports herself to her future life after discovering a mysterious vinyl single. But she quickly learns an important lesson about living in the moment. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMVdct8fhME[/youtube]
Toto’s Tusks Mehr Chatterjee depicts Toto the elephant, who wakes up without his tusks and embarks on a journey to find them. It’s equal parts ridiculous and hilarious.
Loop Ring Chop Drink Fans of old school video game music by new school artists will want to search out this piece, which includes sound from Disasterpiece, aka Rich Vreeland. Nicolas Ménard’s piece explores the lives of several people living in an apartment complex, all set against a sparse but awesome colour palette and aesthetic.
With Joy and Happiness In Belgian animator Jeanne Boukraa’s piece, society discovers a way to extend our lives indefinitely by infusing ourselves with aquatic DNA. But the consequences are dire and sadistic, and also ridiculously funny.
World of Tomorrow Remember the infamous and hilarious Rejected Cartoons? Animator Don Hertzfeld is still hard at work, and he’s getting better all the time. World of Tomorrow features a little girl who is taken on a mind-bending tour of her distant future, with side-splitting results.