The SPARK ANIMATION 2019 FilmFestival shines the spotlight on an international line-up of acclaimed animated features and short films showcased from October 24 to 27 at Vancouver’s Scotiabank Theatre and Vancity Theatre.
Now in its 11th year, the animation film festival, presented by the Spark Computer Graphics Society (Spark CG) has attracted 695 entries from 48 countries on six continents. From computer graphics to stop-motion, from independent animation to major studio productions, the collection of films this year – 90 hours of film in total – brings together the finest animated content on the planet.
For the fourth year running, the film festival is again partnering with Covenant House Vancouver. Box office proceeds (excluding fees & GST) from each festival screening will be donated to Covenant House to aid in supporting at-risk and street youth in Downtown Vancouver.
Tickets are now on sale at sparkanimation.ca.
This year’s festival jury has now released its selections for 2019. Highlights include Sister by Siqi Song, whose poignant stop-motion story of familial love in 1990s China was a 2019 Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival and is named Best in Show by this year’s SPARK ANIMATION jury.
Zog, the animated short about an accident-prone dragon, produced by London-based Magic Light Pictures and directed by Daniel Snaddon and Max Lang, was named Best Children’s Film.
A Canadian entry, The Seahorse Trainer, about a lonely man’s passion for training seahorses, won the VFX category and also received “Rising Star in Visual Effects” accolades for its directors Babak Bina and Ricardo Bonisoli, awarded by the Visual Effects Society (VES) Vancouver Section.
In the animated commercial category, the viral Travel Oregon campaign beat out famed director Ridley Scott, whose Hennessy “The Seven Worlds” was the runner-up, while another U.S. entry, space flight simulation game Kerbal Space Program 2, took home the Best Cinematic award.
The 2019 festival features the closing night BC premiere of hand-painted feature Bombay Rose (India/France/U.K./Qatar) from award-winning animator Gitanjali Rao. The film is an exquisitely drawn and beautifully moving tale of the quest for love on the chaotic streets of Bombay. A Gold Hugo nominee at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, Bombay Rose screens on Sunday, October 27, 9:30 pm at Vancity Theatre.
Other celebrated feature films shown during the festival include Away (Latvia), Ride Your Wave (Japan), Tarzan (U.S.), Marona’s Fantastic Tale (France/Romania/Belgium) and Spike & Mike documentary Animation Outlaws (U.S.).
Five in Focus is an innovative program designed by Women in Animation Vancouver and Women in View to advance gender equity in the animation industry. Last year, five women were nominated who represent key creative positions in animation, positions in which women have been traditionally underrepresented and where WIA has sought to increase representation. Five in Focus aims to significantly advance these women’s careers through extensive mentorship from the WIA community, exposure to a wide range of industry activities, master classes, pitch training and more.
The year-long program provided financing to write, develop and produce an animated short film called The Butterfly Affect. The film’s world premiere will open the “Mothers of a Medium” program on October 27 and will be introduced by the five women selected to the inaugural program: director Stephanie Blakey, writer Jen Davreux, producer Amanda Konkin, animation director Kaitlin Sutherland and art director Maisha Moore.
Leading minds in animation ― from local Vancouver-based studio heads to international storytellers, directors, producers, and executives ― will share their expertise during presentations and workshops from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., October 26 and 27, at Emily Carr University’s Reliance Theatre and Rennie Hall. Don Iwerks and his daughter Leslie Iwerks will takes us back into the early years of Disney, delving deep into the life and work of Ub Iwerks, an extraordinary animator, the designer and co-creator of Mickey Mouse; while award-winning historian Mindy Johnson will explore the history of the women that shaped animation. Looking ahead, Florian Perinelle will present on the marriage of craft and technology in stop-motion, and Sepp Sonntag will delve into the latest state of the art technology used to shoot breathtaking landscapes, from epic volcanoes to cosmopolitan cities in Godzilla King of the Monsters.
On October 26 from 9:30 am to 5 pm, job-seeking animation professionals will have a chance to meet with representatives from 20 leading animation studios ― including CG pros, HR professionals, and executive decision-makers ― during the Career Fair at Hangar Warehouse, Centre for Digital Media. The Career Fair is free to attend. However, registering in advance online at sparkanimation.ca is highly recommended.
SPARK 2019 winners:
BEST IN SHOW – Sister | Siqi Song | China
DIRECTOR’S PRIZE – The Beauty | Pascal Schelbli | Germany
SPECIAL MENTION – Girl in the Hallway | Valerie Barnhart | Canada
TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE – Sous la glace | Ismaïl Berrahma, Flore Dupont, Laurie Estampes, Quentin Nory, Hugo Potin | France
BEST CHILDREN’S FILM – ZOG | Max Lang, Daniel Snaddon | U.K.
NARRATIVE SHORT FILM – Good Heart | Evgeniya Jirkova | Russia
COMMERCIAL – Travel Oregon: Only Slightly (More) Exaggerated | Todd Mueller, Kylie Matulick | U.S.A.
MUSIC VIDEO – Osirika “Black Champagne” | Jeremiah Williams | U.S.A.
CINEMATIC – Kerbal Space Program 2 | Ryan McCoy | U.S.A.
VFX – The Seahorse Trainer | Ricardo Bonisoli, Babak Bina | Canada
OVERALL STUDENT SHORT FILM – The Stained Club | Mélanie Lopez, Simon Boucly, Marie Ciesielski, Alice Jaunet, Chan Stéphie Peang, Béatrice Viguier | France
2D STUDENT SHORT FILM – The Bear Hunter | Sayaka Hara | U.K.
3D STUDENT SHORT FILM (tie) Oeil pour Oeil | Thomas Boileau, Alan Guimont, Robin Courtoise, Mathieu Lecroq, Malcolm Hunt, François Briantais | France
Pour une poignée de Caramels | Nghia Bui Trung, Clara Dulaut, Martin Fettuciari, Nikita Gavard Noyer, Bérenger Guilbault, Timothée Maron, Ugo Masutti | France
STOP MOTION STUDENT SHORT FILM – Love Me, Fear Me | Veronica Solomon | Germany