• By: Keith Whittier

Animation Festival takes over the Capital

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Photos by Andre Gagne

For several years I have been told about how amazing the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is. It is, after all, the largest and oldest animation event in North America. If you are thinking, ‘Oh, it’s just some cartoons’ think again. This event brings together some of the brightest people in the animation industry. During the five-day event attendees are able to network, learn and absorb so much in this rapidly changing industry.

And wouldn’t you know when I finally get the chance to attend, I come down with the flu.

While I didn’t get to attend as many events as I would have liked I saw enough to know the praise for this festival is not misplaced. As a newcomer, I was very impressed with the enthusiasm surrounding this event. I had the chance to observe people who were as excited as little kids on Christmas morning with what the festival had in store for them this year.

The schedule for the festival was jam-packed and there was something for everyone.  

Over the 5 days there seemed to be little room for rest as the organizers clearly wanted everyone to get the most of out the experience. There were workshops that included career fairs geared towards helping people pursue a career in the industry. There were opportunities to meet and network with people in the industry through a variety of workshops and panels. There were lectures and opportunities to meet filmmakers. There were parties because after a day of lectures and information who doesn’t want to let loose a little?

And let’s not forget the movies….many movies (shorts, student, experimental, features) that appealed to many tastes.

I just returned from the Toronto International Film Festival and one of the top movies at the fest, The Breadwinner, was screened at this years OIAF. Under normal circumstances, I would think that was a huge coup for the Animation Festival but once you have been around the festival for five minutes you realize it would be odd if The Breadwinner didn’t screen here.

The screening of the Angelina Jolie produced film included many dignitaries including MP Catherine McKenna, who introduced the film to a sold out audience at the Bytowne Theatre Friday night.

The festival capped off with an Awards gala.

Congratulations to all of those involved with this years Ottawa International Animation Festival. For those who have never gone before, put it on your list in 2018. I’ll be there for sure!