The Ottawa International Animation Festival, the leading toon-centric fest in North America, announces its official selection for its Grand Prize for Best Animated Feature at this year’s event, running September 16-20. This year’s competition includes films made in the U.S., South Korea, Romania, France, Poland and Spain. All features will screen at the historic ByTowne Cinema. Tickets at animationfestival.ca.
“It’s fascinating to watch the continued evolution and maturity of feature animation,” says Chris Robinson, OIAF’s Artistic Director. “Not only are films like The Magic Mountain and Adama tackling difficult political and historical subjects, but they’re doing so using an intriguing mix of techniques. And even more conventional family fair like Possessed and Over the Garden Wall are approaching genres with an originality and diversity that is rarely seen in the feature world.”
The Magic Mountain directed by Anca Damian [Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.; encore Sept. 19]
An animated docudrama from Romania, France, and Poland. It tells the true story of Adam Jacek Winkler, a Polish refugee who fled to Paris in the 1960s and later finds himself heading to war in Afghanistan. Motivated by shifting political climates, Winkler’s adventurous life takes a radical turn in the 1980s as he leaves France to fight alongside Commander Massoud against the Soviets in the Afghani mountainside. Mountain is framed as a final conversation between Winkler and his daughter, Ania, and is told over 87-restless minutes of technique and style.
Possessed directed by Sam Orti [Sept. 17, 11 a.m.; enc. Sept. 19]
Part The Excorcist, part Ghostbusters, clay animated comedy/horror Possessed follows a depressed Trini, the world famous flamenco dancer who has abandoned the stage after the passing of her husband and whose 8-year-old son, Damian, spirals into rebellious behaviour no doctor can explain. The only possible explanation is he is possessed by a malicious devil that makes him do the most bloody and cruel misdeeds. From Spain, Possessed runs just over 82-minutes. It is an Ontario premiere. Orti will attend the screening.
Adama directed by Simon Rouby [Sept. 17, 7 p.m.; enc. Sept. 19]
Audiences can see for the first time in North America the innovative, dream-like visual stylings of Adama, the debut feature-length film from French writer/director Simon Rouby. Connecting themes of spirituality and community with the political and personal realities of war, Adama is a powerful story about a 12-year old eponymous hero and his decision to leave the remote West African village in which he grew up to find his missing older brother Samba. Beyond the village, Adama travels through war-torn Europe to the hell of the front-lines to free Samba, his love for whom takes him down unexpected paths on this life-changing journey away from home.
Over the Garden Wall directed by Patrick McHale [Sept. 18, 7 p.m.; enc. Sept. 19]
Cartoon Network’s critically-acclaimed miniseries Over The Garden Wall (U.S.A, South Korea), features the voices of Elijah Wood, Christopher Lloyd, Shirley Jones, John Cleese, and Tim Curry. It is a classic adventure tale about two young brothers, Wirt and Greg, who find themselves lost in a strange forest. With the help of a bluebird named Beatrice and a nameless frog, Bret and Wirt travel through a magical land of clothed animals and dancing pumpkins on their way home before a mysterious beast catches up with them. Earlier this year, Over The Garden Wall received an Emmy®-nomination for “Outstanding Animated Program.” Patrick McHale will attend the screening.