From the new Wallace and Gromit movie to a new film by The Cat Came Back creator Cordell Barker and appearances by The Simpsons Movie director David Silverman, Up’s Ronnie del Carmen and Coraline director Henry Selick, the Ottawa International Animation Festival has “some pretty heavy stars in animation” here this year, said artistic director Chris Robinson.
The 33rd annual festival, which kicked off Wednesday and runs through Sunday, has “taken over downtown” with screenings at the Bytown, the Arts Court, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the National Gallery of Canada and the Empire Theatre, said Robinson.
With so many film choices — 99 in competition and 40 in the international showcase — and lectures, workshops and networking opportunities for those in the industry, Ottawans have a lot to choose from.
So what’s a time-strapped animation enthusiast to do?
Take it from the man who screened all 2,185 entries earlier this year.
“The short competition programs are always good — it’s like a buffet,” said Robinson, who looks “for stuff made by human beings that has something real to say. I’m looking for something innovative, striking and original.”
The OIAF is unique in that it has offerings from many film categories, Robinson said. “We’ve always been up there in the most prestigious festivals and Ottawa is one of the only ones that attracts industry and students,” he said. More than 25,000 people are expected to attend.