We heard that last years AIB trip to the 2008 Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) was a definite good time. The AIB blog recently had a chance to ask Tim Finn a few questions about the event, animation scene, and a night in jail (well, a hostel that was converted from a jail- close enough!)... read for yourself and enjoy:
What animation festival did you attend in Ottawa?
The festival is five full days of screenings and retrospectives. It's an event where the business, education, and the artform converge. You can walk up to a filmmaker and ask "How did you do that?" or simply say "I really like your film." Cartoon Network sponsors the big picnic, and the company's Development VP is handing out business cards. There are Q&As and demos where you can learn how techniques work. And yet it's all in a relaxed atmosphere. The biggest stress for me is not skipping lunch because there's so much to do. To be fair, though, I'm sure seniors have an added stress of bringing portfolios or business cards and worrying about how to turn this into a networking opportunity.
Ottawa just a bit outside of Boston, How is the animation scene there?
How did the students respond to the event?, any memorable highlights you would like to share?
Then there's the festival content itself -- films old and new, foreign and domestic, made by a studio or an individual. Some are funny, some are sad. It's a reminder that animation, seen in America as kids' stuff, is a technique, not a genre.
A highlight for me was getting a DVD compilation for Filmtecknarna, a studio in Sweden. I saw a life-changing short in college called "Revolver," but I'd never seen it on DVD until a year ago. But that disc was only available from one Swedish website. I was nervous about typing my credit card into fields I couldn't understand, so I approached Jonas Odell, one of the directors, who was a jury member at this year's festival. Not only did he have a copy of the disc, he gave it to me. I didn't have anything to trade, so as a "thanks" I'm going to mail him a DVD of my own.
In terms of student highlights, I heard Mark Mullaney makes some mean pancakes. You probably meant films, though. If memory serves, Justin King was wowed by the Richard Williams Q&A. Williams, best known for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," is a humble guy, but has actually earned that "living legend" status that gets tossed around.
What other animation festivals do you recommend checking out?
In terms of site-specific festivals, it depends on how far one can travel and when one has time off. Annecy in France is the big one. It's so big you cannot do everything. It takes over the city in a way that would surprise us Americans who are used to animation being the ugly stepchild of film. I've heard good things about the Animation Block Party and ASIFA-East, both in New York City.
Some students are hesitant to submit works to festivals or other events. Do you have any advice on where to start when trying to get animations out to a new audiences?
Unfortunately domestic festivals tend to have entry fees, and though international ones often don't (because of corporate sponsorship or governement funding), shipping can be pricey. It's a little like a job interview. Know the company beforehand so you don't go in cold. Your film may not fit the character of a certain festival, but may be a great match for another. Start with the big festivals, and look for some smaller, younger ones that may not have the largest applicant pool. The paperwork is easier now that more festivals want you to apply online through withoutabox.com.
Are there any animation(s) that we should look forward to seeing?
When's the next AIB Animation road trip?
Keep your eyes peeled for a gallery of snapshots from the Animation trip to OIAF on the AIB Flickr page, to be updated soon! Let us know how OIAF 2009 turns out. For more information regarding the next AIB road trip, email Tim Finn (inanimate.com) of the AIB Animation Department. Thanks Tim!