Home Arts It’s time to animate yourself, buddy

It’s time to animate yourself, buddy

by The Concordian November 15, 2011
It’s time to animate yourself, buddy
A passion for animated films and Red Bull on an intravenous drip would explain how Concordia alumnus Michael Dahan, founder of the upcoming Animaze Film Festival, was able to co-ordinate such an ambitious weekend of events.
Animaze will feature new international animated films, old classics, a documentary about legendary Warner Bros. director Friz Freleng, an ‘80s cartoon charity show, an anniversary screening of Heavy Metal, and a student animated film night where the title of “Top Animation School in Montreal” will be awarded.
Dahan’s motivation for starting the Animaze Festival was the vacuum he saw in North America’s feature-length animated film industry.
“I saw the movie Free Jimmy and it just blew me away,” said Dahan. “Then it made me realize that the only [animated] movies that make it to North America are family films. It’s Disney and Pixar. That’s it. No animated dramas, comedies, horror or action are on the big screen here.”
Free Jimmy is from Norway and will be appearing at Animaze on Saturday. Dahan praised Europe for its interesting and well-written animated films.
“They do not hold back. They don’t know the meaning of the words ‘politically correct’ which is amazing,” he said. “And their style of animation is all unique. When you say ‘European animation’ you can’t pick out one style.”
The festival features five full-length movies from Europe, and three from both Japan and North America, along with a cartoon charity show and the student animation competition. But Dahan had initially wanted to branch out even further.
“I actually got a movie from India and I was very excited to see what animation from India would be like,” he said. “It was unwatchable. It was all singing and dancing.”
Besides exposing Montreal audiences to movies they would never normally get the chance to see, Dahan is helping Montreal’s animation students get exposure. The festival’s Sunday night slot is dedicated to student short films. The films will compete against each other as collections from each participating school and be scored by a panel of judges.
Helping charity is also an important goal to Dahan. The Saturday Morning Cartoon charity show will run CBS’s 1986 Saturday morning lineup, and proceeds from the event will go to local charity Sun Youth.
“This is a chance for me to finally use my passion to do something for Sun Youth. […] They do a lot of good in the community and I want to help them out,” said Dahan.
There’s also a charity screening of the documentary Freleng: Frame by Frame. Its focus is famed Looney Tunes director Friz Freleng, as it explores the process and personalities behind the golden age of cartoons. Dahan said that the documentary “isn’t allowed to be released commercially until 2024” but that he will be able to show it exceptionally for charity. The doc’s director, Greg Ford, will deliver a master class following the screening.
Dahan, who usually works as an accountant, said that the inaugural edition of Animaze took a year and a half to put together. He joked that it felt like a hundred and thanked Concordia volunteers for helping him have everything ready in time.
With its premiere at Cinéma du Parc on Friday night, a packed schedule of weekend shows at Concordia, and an impressive list of sponsors, Animaze looks ready to become a fixture on the Montreal festival calendar.
The Animaze Film Festival runs Nov. 18 to 20 at Cinéma du Parc and the Concordia Hall building auditorium. For more information, check out animazefestival.com.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment