Search form

Ottawa Fest Day 1: OIAF 2017 Signal Film, Short Film Competition, and More!

This year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival kicks off with a bang with a new Signal Film by Peter Millard and a surprise visit by animation legend Norman McLaren in 3D hologram form.

OIAF 2017 Signal Film directed by Peter Millard.

This year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival is now in full swing, and Day 1 kicked off with a bang.

The day started with an early yoga session at the Fairmont Château Laurier to help travel-weary animators and other attendees work out the kinks and prepare for five full days and nights of screenings, panels, talks and exhibits.

At TAC (The Animation Conference), the OIAF industry conference that runs alongside the festival, 10 pre-selected contestants pitched their concepts in the PITCH THIS! competition, vying for a development deal with Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana in addition to Toon Boom animation software.

With opening night screenings still ahead, the Day 1 of TAC was capped by the Toon Boom boat cruise sailing from the picturesque Rideau Locks located next to the Château.

Festival attendees were delighted by this year’s Signal Film, which was directed and produced by U.K. animator Peter Millard. The short film hasn’t made its way online yet, but we’ll be sure to share it as soon as it does. In the meantime, here’s another look at the festival trailer Check it out in the player below:

There's also a bouncy, slickly produced sponsor reel, created for the festival for the 10th year in a row by Ottawa-based animation studio Dainty Productions:

The feature competition began with Night Is Short, Walk On Girl, one of two animated features from Japanese director Masaaki Yuasa, while the short film competition gala comprised 16 shorts in the narrative, non-narrative, student and commissioned categories. Kirsten Lepore’s stop-motion short for Late Night Work Club, Hi Stranger, got things rolling, and then it got weirder and wilder from there. Maybe it’s just the jet lag talking, but director Nikita Diakur’s Ugly made our eyes water, and Beautiful Like Elsewhere by Elise Simard completely took our breath away.

In an interactive component, animation legend Norman McLaren made a surprise appearance at the opening night screenings as a fully-realized 3D hologram that finally fulfilled the promises of the 2016 edition. Holographic McLaren served as Master of Ceremonies, making introductions and taking questions from OIAF artistic director Chris Robinson and the audience alike. Putting everyone’s mind to rest once and for all, McLaren insisted that using computers to create animation is “good and proper,” adding that he would have done the same had they been available during his lifetime. 

Animation legend Norman McLaren takes the stage at OIAF 2017 in 3D hologram form.

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.