The Ottawa International Animation Festival — North America’s leading animation fest — announced the official selections for the 2016 International Short Film Competition. The result is a range of films from 23 countries and six continents, ranging from experimental shorts to commercials, festival darlings and first-time competitors. This year’s event marks the 40th anniversary of OIAF and will take place September 21-25.
“This is my 25th year with the OIAF and I can’t recall a more challenging selection process,” says Chris Robinson, Artistic Director at OIAF. “Many good films – which in another year might have been selected – didn’t make the cut. That’s a great compliment to those that did and a greater one to the current state of international animation.”
Among the program highlights is Paul Johnson’s Begone Dull Care 2015, an ode to Norman McLaren’s classic 1949 short done in 8bit with a synth rendition of Oscar Peterson’s original soundtrack. Another revisionist mashup is Oscar nominee Janet Perlman’s Let’s Play Like It’s 1949, which mixes animation with live-action footage from the vintage educational video “Let’s Play Fair.”
OIAF will also premiere Diane Obomsawin’s J’aime Les Filles — a collage of female-centric stories about the self-discovery of homosexual desire. Theodore Ushev’s Blind Vaysha is another woman’s story that deals with issues of past, future and memory.
In addition to Ushev and Perlman, a number of Ottawa veterans return this year. Recent Academy inductee Koji Yamamura brings “Parade” de Satie — an animated re-creation of realist ballet images that go beyond reality; thee-time OIAF grand prize winner Igor Kovalyov returns with Before Love; and Phil Mulloy’s Endgame makes its North American premiere.
Further illuminating this year’s diversity, the programmers draw attention to American stop-motion legend PES and his Honda short Paper; the surreal dreamscapes of Marta Pajek’s Figury niemozliwe i inne historie II; and student shorts from Estonia (Sander Joon’s Velodrool), France (collaborative short Crabe-Phare), Czech Republic (Jan Saska’s black comedy Happy End), Germany, Japan, Russia, the U.S. and the U.K.
View the complete festival selections list on the OIAF website.