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The Ottawa International Animation Festival: Where imaginations come out to play

By Yasmin Nissim on September 17, 2014



Cooler temps, crunchy leaves and greying skies mean only one thing…it’s time for the Ottawa International Animation Festival to descend on the nation’s capital once again! This is one of my favourite things about the fall in Ottawa. There’s nothing like escaping autumn’s chill by stepping into the warm dark of a theatre and settling into the exciting, engaging and sometimes disturbing, imaginations of animators from all over Canada and the world.

For those of you unfamiliar with this annual festival, I strongly encourage you to check it out. Even if you’re not necessarily a fan of animated works, if you enjoy a good story and having your mind engaged by the less-ordinary, have a look at what’s on offer at the OIAF’s screenings this year. You’ll find tales that touch on everything from subversive aunts and GMO crops to 8-bit wasp monsters.

Animation is a unique art form which, for me, has always represented an infinite medium limited only by what the animator themself chooses to express, and this festival is never short on imagination. I always find the Short Film Competitions, of which there are five this year, are a great way to experience a diverse amount of animation and short stories in one sitting. However, if you’re looking for a more singular, feature-length kind of experience, the Feature Competition pieces would definitely be worth checking out.

The Canadian Showcase is a favourite stop for me during this festival as it’s a wonderful spotlight on our own home-grown talent in the animated world. Monsieur Pug is definitely one feature I’d like to catch about a neurotic pug…who may not even be a pug.  Directed by Janet Perlman, this feature is having its world premier at the OIAF. Perlman earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short at the 54th Academy Awards for her piece The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin (pause at 7:27 to spot the Habs jersey!). She has an impressive portfolio of animation that began with her piece Lady Fishbourne’s Complete Guide to Better Table Manners, completed in 1976 when she was just 22 years old.

There are a number of other world premieres during the Canadian Showcase such as Itch, described as “an abstract expression of what it feels like to experience an eczema flare-up”, Observer, which plays with the sensory observations of our mobile devices and On the Subway, about a bear who decides to venture out on the subway.

Running from September 17th to 20th, there are dozens of screenings over the course of the festival. Always make sure to check for multiple screenings; if you’d like to watch a feature but can’t make one of the scheduled times, there is more than likely another showtime that you can attend.  You can choose to either buy one-off tickets, an Animation Six-Pack or check out one of the pass options. If you’re a casual attendee, be sure to avoid the TAC passes as they are for The Animation Conference, which is geared towards industry professionals.

Now to find some popcorn…






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