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Animated Travels

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Immersed in Norway's Fredrikstad Animation Festival

By Dan Sarto | Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 12:23pm

Nancy Denney-Phelps travels to Norway to take part in the Fredrikstad Animation Festival. The event has an emphasis on screening Nordic animation but offers so much more. Along with Nordic short film and student competitions and screenings of animation aimed at the family audience, two days were devoted to seminars with international guest speakers from all branches of the animation world.

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KLIK 2010: 5 Non-Stop Days of The Best of Animation

By Dan Sarto | Monday, November 29, 2010 at 5:40pm

I first met the organizers of the KLIK Animation Festival at the Annecy Animation Festival a couple of years ago and they assured me that their festival is fun, fun, fun. When they invited me to Amsterdam to be on the Short Films and Political Animation jury, I jumped at the opportunity and it did turn out to be some serious fun.

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CTN Expo 2.0: Day 1

By Dan Sarto | Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 5:02pm

The CTN Expo has returned to Burbank for the second year. The conference has expanded a great deal from last year's event. It also has seen an explosion of attendees, which pushed off the scheduled start times of all the events as the eager guest were being registered. This created some bumps along the road for the two-year old event, which is again valiantly put together by Tina Price and her tiny staff with help from a host of volunteers.

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Final Thoughts on the Films at Ottawa

By Dan Sarto | Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 5:22pm

No other festival I’m aware of consistently generates as much controversy as does the Ottawa Festival. People may scratch their heads at the judging decisions in Annecy (insert favorite French joke here), but in Ottawa, beer-fueled grumbling and incessant whining are as much a part of the annual festivities as head-scratching competition screening introductions and the cavalcade of toothless panhandlers lining Rue Rideau.

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Red Stick 2010: A Glass of Lilac Wine

By Dan Sarto | Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 12:08pm

Saturday morning. Sitting in P.J.’s, the coffee shop around the corner from the Shaw Center. Except for a handful of sessions today, Red Stick ended Friday night with the awarding of the Golden Baton. The winner (of the three candidates discussed yesterday) was Chris O’Neill’s elegiac (how many times to you get a chance to use that word?) Lilac Wine. Earlier in the fest O’Neill had described his video as the remembrance of loved one who was no longer around, whether via the end of a love affair, or death.

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Red Stick 2010: Golden Baton and More

By Dan Sarto | Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 11:50am

Whoops, my bad: what I called Red Stick’s ‘Best of the Fest’ award yesterday is actually their “Golden Baton” prize, and I saw all three films last night. In addition to the music video Lilac Wine, the two other contenders were a Hitchcockian spy spoof (Pigeon: Impossible) and the student effort Blackface, a mystical jungle tale.

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Red Stick 2010: Tangled Up in Baton Rouge

By Dan Sarto | Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 11:40am

I arrive at Baton Rouge’s Belle Hotel, which until April was the Sheraton Baton Rouge. (BR from here on, saves space.) The hotel’s terrible online reviews don’t seem to apply, as the place is actually quite nice. (Wish the internet service was a little more steady, but I’m online now – for the moment…)

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Ottawa 2010 - Scenes from the Awards Ceremony

By Dan Sarto | Monday, October 25, 2010 at 11:14am

The closing ceremonies bring an end to another Ottawa International Animation Festival. And while I await my connecting flight in Newark for the final leg of my journey home, I linger just a bit longer on the images in my mind of all the wonderous activities of the past week. Though I was constantly too warm or utterly frozen and could never get comfortable wearing layers and a heavy jacket, I was able to stop griping often enough to have a thoroughly great time. Here are some images from the closing.

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Ottawa 2010 - Just the right note with Lou

By Dan Sarto | Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 9:44am

I spoke with Lou Pomanti to get his take on music for animation. Lou Pomanti is an award-winning, performer, arranger, and producer. He’s a keyboard wizard, and worked with Blood Sweat and Tears, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, and Michael Buble. He even was the arranger for the finalists for the Hockey Night in Canada Anthem Challenge, which, in Canada, is pretty much the national anthem.

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Ottawa Day 3: Faces, Places, Pumpkin Carving and Snow

By Dan Sarto | Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 6:02am

Take a quick glance at some of the people I met up with yesterday while stumbling around the annual Animator's Picnic and later, while trying to get warm at the Arts Court cafe and Aniboutique. Old friends, new friends, a pretty uninspired procession of eviscerated gourds. Oh, and have I told you, it's cold here? Aye?

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Ottawa Day 2: Jan Pinkava is Utterly Charming and It's Really Cold

By Dan Sarto | Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 11:35pm

The highlight of my second day in Ottawa was finding a working ATM. But the “treat” of the day was sitting in on an intimate discussion with former Oscar-winning Pixar and current Laika writer/director Jan Pinkava. Friendly, engaging, entertaining and brilliant – utterly charming. Made me feel like audience extra at a taping of “Regis and Kelly.” And it’s really, really cold here.

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Ottawa Day 1: Please Move Out of My Way!

By Dan Sarto | Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 11:20pm

Is it just me, or do Canadians like to congregate and talk hockey while blocking the entrance to every elevator, hallway, doorway and turnstile in the vicinity? It seemed every single path I took yesterday was impeded by some throng completely oblivious to those trying to navigate past them. Oh, plus I saw some good films!

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Ottawa - And then things got ugly

By Dan Sarto | Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 11:01am

I met with Linda Simensky, the Vice-President for Children’s Programming at PBS. We had strawberries and tea as she graciously shared her 20-years experience on the international scene in public broadcasting, what produced locally stays local and what gets to go international. (More about that later). But things got ugly when I asked her to define “edutainment”. Here was her response:

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Ottawa – Time for Moose and Animation

By Dan Sarto | Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 5:43am

It's a two hour train ride from Montreal, Canada's cosmopolitan capital to Ottawa, the national capital. Forget the stock images of the Parliament buildings, the Mounties, or the concrete barriers in front of the block long US embassy. What makes Ottawa unique are the furry critters. There are more beavers, squirrels, bunnies and ground hogs than in any urban capital on the planet. Not to mention the moose!

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None Of Us Were Drafted

By Dan Sarto | Monday, October 18, 2010 at 3:25pm

So here I am in Ottawa, and the film I submitted this year to the festival was rejected. Not only this year but none of my films have made competition here. Not only that, but I'm blogging on the festival and my blogs are really positive. So I'm thinking, maybe I should put in some heavy doses of criticism so the folks at the OIAF won't think I'm kissing their royal Canadian asses. But I don't care if they think that. Let them. I'll blog what I want.

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