Ottawa Boasts Controversial Toons

The Ottawa Int’l Animation Festival (OIAF), which kicks off next week, is promoting the fact that the three animated features in competition are sure to raise a bit of hullabaloo over content involving politics, drugs and, well, poop. The fest will officially open with a screening of Marjane Satrapi’s and Vincent Paronnaud’s much-talked-about Persepolis on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Based on Satrapi’s acclaimed graphic novel series chronicling her experiences growing up in Iran around the time of the revolution, the hand-drawn, black-and-white Persepolis caused a stir at Cannes after it won the Jury Prize. The Iranian government claimed it was an example of Islamophobia, and has pressured several film festivals to withdraw it from their schedules.

Christopher Nielsen’s Norway/U.K. co-production Free Jimmy may sound like an animated family film, but it actually revolves around a drug-addicted elephant and the various human characters that want to use and abuse him. Called an “unholy cross between Dumbo, Fritz the Cat and Requiem for a Dream,’ the dark comedy is based on a Norwegian comic book and has been dubbed into English by stars such as Woody Harrelson and Jim Broadbent. The CG-animated feature opens at the National Arts Centre on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.

On the heels of the 2003 South Korean feature Doggie Poo comes Bum-Jin Joe’s AAchi and Ssipak, another South Korean entry with excrement as a central element. The over-the-top toon tells the story of a society that lives on juicy bars, which people get every time they take a dump. Violence and chaos ensue when the “diaper gang” tries to gain control of the juicy bar supply. Despite its questionable subject matter, the film has been applauded for it’s impressive visuals.

OIAF 07 will be held Sept. 19’23 in Ottawa. Events include screenings, panels, workshops parties and the Television Animation Conference. For more information about the major competitive animation film festival and this year’s programming, go to www.animationfestival.ca.