This summer, do yourself a favour and break away from the Pixar craze by taking in one of the many animated events designed to change the way you look at cartoons.
Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema’s Film Festival
Cinema du Parc is the place to be from May 4 to the 10 for the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema’s Film Festival. Showcasing student films, both live action and animated, the works will be grouped by themes, leading into the “Best of the Fest” screening on the closing night. If the promise of seeing up and coming talent doesn’t tickle you, the prices will. And yes, yours truly will be presenting his latest masterpiece, Lullaby, bringing to a close four years of study at Concordia.
Disney aficionados will have already checked out the exhibition currently at our own Museum of Fine Arts. On its only stop in North American, Once Upon a Time Walt Disney, running until June 24, takes a look at the artistic influences on some of the studio’s most beloved animated features. A variety of pieces, including models, paintings and layout artwork explore the lengthy evolution from idea to final film. It’s worth mentioning, however, that given the plethora of information on this subject currently available both online and in print, this exhibition only covers the tip of the iceberg.
Fantasia Film Festival
July sees the Fantasia Film Festival take over the city in a conglomeration of art house genre and experimental films. Last year’s fest was housed in the Concordia Hall and Library buildings and screened feature length flicks and shorts. If you’ve got a project you’re dying to see screened, you’ve got until May 7 to get your entry in. Fantasia runs from July 5 to 23.
International Animation Festival
Finally, on September 19 to 23, Ottawa hosts its annual International Animation Festival. Renowned for its casual atmosphere and high attendance, this year’s fest features an up-close look at the UPA Studios. To most, that name means nothing, but rest assured – their work is as respected in the field as anything ever turned out by Warner or Disney. Their flat, graphic aesthetics were so revolutionary in the 50s that they were honoured with 12 Academy Award nominations. You’ll quickly notice connections between their works and those of modern animator Genndy Tartakowski, creator of Samurai Jack, The Powerpuff Girls and Clone Wars. Those with portfolios to show off or pilots to pitch can hob-knob with the professionals in person. It may not be in-town, but it’s certainly worth the trip.
And so ends my final column. I thank you for reading, and hope you always remember the benefits of re-adjusting your focus, or cleaning your glasses. I’ve had mine since grade nine. They’ve been stepped on, crushed and re-set as many times as my perspective.
It may be high time for a new pair, but you’d better believe I’m holding onto these, in case I ever need to see the world again through the hopeful eyes of a student about to embark on the journey that is adulthood.