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2013 Ottawa Animation Festival Day 4 - I've Seen Sunshine and I've Seen Rain

It’s Day Four and, as I’m told is the norm in Ottawa, the weather here has changed completely. The city is now dotted with umbrellas and bathed in a beautiful sheen of water.

By Lia Abbate

Greetings from rainy Ottawa, cyber-festers ~

It’s Day Four and, as I’m told is the norm in Ottawa, the weather here has changed completely. The city is now dotted with umbrellas and bathed in a beautiful sheen of water. Humor me, we don’t get days like this in L.A. too often.

Aaron Fryer, Kimbery Luu, and Li Jian Li, Mercury Filmworks artists and Sheridan College grads, humor me by posing as the Animation Faithful. Canadians are so nice.

St. Brigid’s

Lucky for us, today’s highlights were scheduled in the shelter of a former and quite grand Catholic church, St. Brigid’s, which has now been repurposed as a community arts center. Needless to say the environment inspired moments of wits and mystification from those onstage and off.

Welcome to St. Brigid's, a new venue for OAIF. The Iron Developer challenge has taken the stage.

Iron Developer

When I joined the proceedings, the Iron Developer was mid-challenge (I grabbed the first open spot I could find. And wouldn’t you know it, my “festival friend” Ron Kilbride was sitting right in front of me). The point of the exercise was to have two teams of one artist and one writer each pitch a story and address multiple iterations of notes from seasoned creatives and executives. As they were wrapping up, the judges reiterated these words of advice: address the note (sounds obvious but you’d be surprised), know when to put it down (sometimes you have to acknowledge that an idea just needs time to gestate), know your audience, and trends change (so remember to pick up the ideas you put down).

The Iron Developer judges weigh in: Dave Skwarczek, Chris Prynoski (I'm going to steal that hat), Sander Schwartz, and Matthew Wexler.

Eric Goldberg Masterclass

This second day of watching Eric discuss his craft did not disappoint. Downshooter, paper, pegs, and pen at the ready, Eric launched into a light-hearted yet lucent exploration of “What is Disney Appeal?” He contends that the key elements are character conception, character design, and movement & acting. Walking us through snippets of Disney classics, he pointed out how these principles guide our experience of the characters and then went on to demonstrate how he applies that to his own work. And honestly, can you think of anything better to do on a rainy day than watching, really watching these engaging scenes: Meeting the Seven Dwarves, Stromboli imprisoning Pinocchio, Meeting Cruella, Playing croquet with the Queen of Hearts, Goofy in Clockcleaners?

Eric Goldberg gets some assistance in setting up for the Walt Disney Animation Studios Masterclass.

Ottawa-festers line up in the basement of St. Brigid's at Eric Goldberg's signing table after his masterclass.

Career Fair & Book Signing

After the class, I ducked down into the basement to check out the tables for schools, studios, and writers. I was very happy to see Tom Sito signing copies of his book, “Moving Innovation: A History of Computer Animation.” Tom brought his CG history presentation to Sony for a “Crossing the Line” talk last month and it was a revelation. Did you know that the first computer generated elements to appear in a feature film were in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo? He’ll be doing a one-on-one talk with Chris tomorrow.

Good friends and Disney alums, Scott Caple and Tom Sito greet fans at Tom's table. When Eric got downstairs to start his signing Tom yelled out to him, "Oh, it's you! I thought Justin Bieber was next door."

Awards Ceremony

Chris Robinson welcomed us to the Awards Ceremony with what else? more jokes. What goes sis boom bah? An exploding sheep. He then confessed that his jokes were not entirely of his own making and recognized Willem Dunham, Rebecca Fleming, and Dan Sarto as his joke writers. All of the names of the award categories and winners are available elsewhere on this website, so I’m not going to bore you with a laundry list. The bright spots were hearing that several of the awards were the first awards for the films and for the filmmakers themselves. They were so very appreciative of the recognition. Animated films that are experimental, that deal with deeper themes and the darker side of life are a struggle the entire way through. The duo from Norway who won for “But Milk is Important” didn’t even know if they were going to finish the film itself let alone think that there would be an international audience for it. Their joy and surprise were absolutely genuine.

Chris Robinson (Artistic Director) preps for the Awards Ceremony. I swear I could here him humming "This Little Light of Mine".

Yes! The women who make OIAF happen: Kelly Neall (Managing Director), Deanna McKay (Professionnal Development Assistant), Azarin Sohrabkhani (TAC Director), and Keri Mathews (TAC Assistant) in a brief moment of happy calm between programs.

After the Awards Ceremony, we were treated to a karaoke cabaret performance by Manabu Himeda from TAMA accompanied by his own animation...

...and himself apparently. He had a deal for his own variety show on Cartoon Network by the end of the evening. Well, he should have.

Nuit Blanche

Last night all of Ottawa, including St.Brigid’s, was abuzz with Nuit Blanche, a special night of the arts when all of the galleries stay open into the wee hours of the morning and the streets are full of life.

So here’s my confession: I ducked out of the rain to see a second screening of The Liar’s Autobiography and did not regret it.

Dan Sarto's picture

Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.