Hair, Frogs, Days, Pinocchio Compete at Ottawa

Official selections have been made for the 2004 Ottawa Int’l Animation Festival. In competition in the feature category are Bill Plympton’s highly anticipated Hair High, Jacques-Rémy Girerd’s sweetly apocalyptic Raining Cats and Frogs (La prophétie des grenouilles), Kihachiro Kawamoto’s Winter Days and Daniel Robichaud’s P3K: Pinocchio 3000. The fest will be held Sept. 22-26.

Hair High, Plympton’s follow-up to the wonderfully absurd and entertaining Mutant Aliens, is described as a gothic high school comedy with shades of Stephen King’s Carrie. Rod and Cherri are king and queen of Echo Lake High, but all that changes when Spud, the new kid in town, is forced to be Cherri’s slave. The two fall in love and secretly decide to go to the prom together. On the way, a rejected Rod forces them off the road and into a lake. A year later, Rod is about to crown himself prom king again when Cherri and Spud return from their watery grave. The film screened out of competition at this year’s Annecy Int’l Festival of Animation.

Produced by Folimage, the hand-drawn French flick Raining Cats and Frogs debuted in France in December and also screened at Annecy this year. It’s Noah’s Ark all over again as frogs spread word of another great flood and a family of zookeepers must build a boat to save themselves and their animals.

Winter Days (Fuyunochi) is produced by Imagica Ent. Inc. To create the film, animators from around the world have interpreted the 36 linked verses (renku) contained in Matsuo Basho’s poem Fuyu No Hi.

The Canadian, French and Spanish co-production P3K: Pinocchio 3000 employs 3D computer animation to retell the classic story of a puppet who longs to become a real boy. In this futuristic updating, Pinocchio is a super robot who is tricked into helping the evil Scamboli (Malcolm MacDowell) turn all children into robots. With the help of friends Geppetto, Spencer (Howie Mandel) and Cyberina (Whoopi Goldberg), Pinocchio must challenge Scamboli and learn valuable lessons about what it means to be real. Cinégroupe, Animakids, France 2Cinema, Filmax and Castelao shared production duties.

Among the shorts in competition are Virgil Widrich’s fascinating cut-out opus, Fast Film; Adam Elliot’s Oscar-winning, stop-motion character piece, Harvie Krumpet; Michael Gabriel’s Disney-produced. Annecy Grand Prix-winning fat cat tale, Lorenzo; Chris Hinton’s Oscar-nominated pen-and-ink comedy, Nibbles; and Chris Landreth’s Annecy Special Jury Award-winning psuedo-documentary about the life of animator Ryan Larkin, Ryan.

To see the full 2004 Ottawa Int’l Animation Festival program, visit www.awn.com/ottawa/selections.html.