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Emerging Talent: Student & Graduate Animation at OIAF 2016

Standout shorts range from surreal, hand-drawn interpretations of a bicycle race to painstakingly crafted 3D animation showcasing a formidable range of CG expertise and artistry.

'Fields of Rape'

The Ottawa International Film Festival had a slew of visual treats for attendees of this year’s 40th anniversary edition, including five undergraduate and eight graduate films from emerging talents working out of educational institutions located all around the globe.

Foreign Body (Cialo Obce), the 2016 film by Polish National Film School Lodz undergrad Marta Magnuska, won the award for Best Undergraduate Animation, with the jury commenting, “A unique story. A mesmerizing metaphor for self-acceptance. Raw sound design was delightfully disturbing.” The 2D animated film, employing ink on paper, explores the odd parts of our bodies that seem unwanted but are actually essential to our being:

'Foreign Body'

-- READ: Narrative Shorts We Watched and Loved at OIAF 2016 --

The award for Best Graduation Animation was given to Germany’s 99a, Frankfurt Street (Frankfurter Str. 99a, directed by School of Art and Design Kassel alum Evgenia Gostrer, which the jury called “Subtle but very beautiful. Surprising narrative and emotional impact was achieved by minimalist technique...a touching story about everyday life of a member of society that is often invisible.” Employing paint on glass, the animated short follows a garbage man on his daily routine and a stray cat in the streets who develop an unlikely friendship:

'Frankfurter Str. 99a'

Other standout shorts ranged from surreal, hand-drawn interpretations of a bicycle race to painstakingly crafted 3D animation showcasing a formidable range of CG expertise and artistry. Here are three short films (and one honorable mention) we couldn’t forget weeks after the end of OIAF 2016:

Le Crabe-Phare (2016)
Gaetan Borde, Benjamin Lebourgeois, Claire Vandermeesh, Alexandre Veaux & Mengjing Yang Supinfocom, France

A winner of the SIGGRAPH 2016 Computer Animation Festival, this cheeky 3D animated short is centered around the Crabe-Phare, a legendary crustacean who captures the boats of lost sailors to add to his collection. But the crab is getting old, and it is becoming more and more difficult for him to build his collection:

-- READ: A Kick in the Head: OIAF Artistic Director Chris Robinson Reflects on 40 Years of Ottawa --

Fields of Rape (2016)
Anselm Pyta
Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Running a little under 11 minutes, this 2D computer animated short from Studio Seufz is the first episode of an “ultra-sad animated web series” created under the auspices of Filmakademie professor and animator Andreas Hykade. About “a waxen youth and iron age, loneliness and might, death and dreams,” Fields of Rape follows the life of Prechtel, who grows up in a secluded environment and slowly transforms into a hermit over the course of many years. Currently in development, the first, self-titled episode has also screened the International Festival of Animated Film Stuttgart and Cartoon Club Rimini.

Velodrool (2015)
Sander Joon
Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia

The winner of award for Best Animation Technique at OIAF 2016, Velodrool employs pencil on paper to depict a nicotine-addicted bicycle racer who runs out of cigarettes. The rider joins a race to get more, but peculiar characters, deadly starter pistols and a transforming track all push him past his limits in his desperate search for a pack of his favorite smokes.

Created as his graduation film at the Estonian Academy of Arts, where Joon studied under Estonian animation legend Priit Pärn, the inspiration for the film began with a sketch of a cyclist and the discovery of an article about an athlete who started hallucinating after using performance enhancing drugs. A Vimeo staff pick, Velodrool also won the Grand Prix at the 2015 Fredikstad Animation Festival and has screened at numerous other festivals including Annecy, HAFF and Zagreb.

To Rouse the Wolf (Razbudit volka) (2016)
Liza Astretsova
School-Studio “SHAR,” Russia

There’s no trailer available, and just one measly image, but this hand-drawn eight-minute short employing ink on paper is as lovely as it is disturbing. Here’s the story: One day the tired wolf returns home from a long day at work and falls into a deep sleep. But just then the wolf’s neighbors start to make a terrible racket! The wolf loves his dreams, however. Why should he wake up?

-- READ: On the Edge: Experimental Shorts at OIAF 2016 --

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.