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‘Breadwinner’ to Open SPARK ANIMATION 2017

Legendary Glen Keane to receive lifetime achievement award

VANCOUVER -- The Women in Animation Diversity Awards and a screening of Nora Twomey’s The Breadwinner will kick off SPARK ANIMATION 2017, running Oct. 26-29 at the VIFF Vancity Theatre, Scotiabank Theatre and Vancouver Convention Centre.

Established to celebrate outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion in the animation industry, the inaugural WIA Diversity Awards will be awarded in three categories: to an organization, to an individual and to a film. Winners will be announced soon.

The awards will be followed by the Western Canadian premiere of The Breadwinner, with Oscar-nominated director Nora Twomey (Secret of the Kells) in attendance. The Breadwinner is produced by Angelina Jolie and Vancouver actor Laara Sadiq voices one of the lead characters.

Opening night festivities will continue with the presentation of the SPARK Lifetime Achievement Award to legendary animator Glen Keane (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid). A 30-year veteran of Disney Animation, Mr. Keane will also present the Canadian Premiere of his latest short, Dear Basketball, a collaboration with NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and composer John Williams. The evening will conclude with the SPARK Animation Celebration where this year’s Jury winning shorts will be presented.

On Oct. 28, SPARK puts a spotlight on France, with the presentation of three new features and a shorts program: the Western Canadian premiere of Big Bad Fox & Other Tales, the latest project from Patrick Imbert and Benjamin Renner, who made the Oscar-nominated Ernest & Celestine; the France/Quebec co-production Mune: Guardian of the Moon, co-directed by Alexandre Heboyan and Benoît Philippon; and MUTAFUKAZ, originally a short film and comic book, co-directed and written by Guillaume Renard, the feature is a gritty, young adult allegory of a dystopian Los Angeles. Heboyan will be attending the festival and doing a Q&A after the Mune: Guardian of the Moon screening. Spotlight on France Short Films celebrates and features both professional, established artists, and up-and-coming talents.  

Other highlights include the Canadian Premiere of Big Fish & Begonia, a gorgeous animated feature from China 10 years in the making; and several shorts programs: Made in Canada; Find Me Unafraid; After Dark; Mothers of a Medium; Revolting Rhymes and Other Tales.

SPARK ANIMATION will close with the Canadian premiere of Mary and the Witch’s Flower. An adaptation of Mary Stewart’s classic story, directed by Studio Ghibli’s Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who previously made The Secret World of Arrietty and the Oscar-nominated When Marnie Was There.

Introduced last year, Animation for a Cause is an initiative in which net proceeds from festival screenings are donated to charity. SPARK CG have partnered with Covenant House Vancouver in its effort to help the more than 1,400 homeless youth.

The full festival schedule, info, and tickets are online.

The SPARK CG Career Fairs will take place Oct. 28-29 at the Vancouver Convention Centre East Building and is expected to attract hundreds of attendees scoping out Vancouver's talent pool, and connect with the film and television studios.

Meet decision makers from over 10 internationally acclaimed studios, including:

  • Animal Logic
  • Atomic Cartoons
  • Bardel Entertainment
  • Cinesite Studios
  • CoSA VFX
  • Darkhorse10 Pictures
  • DHX Studios
  • Digital Domain 3.0
  • Double Negative
  • EA Canada
  • Framestore Studios
  • Hydraulx VFX
  • Image Engine
  • Kickstart Entertainment Canada
  • Moving Picture Company (MPC)
  • ON Animation Studios
  • Slap Happy Cartoons
  • Sony Pictures Imageworks
  • Stargate Studios Vancouver
  • Stellar Creative Lab
  • Zoic Studios

The career fair is free, but registration required. Additional info and online registration available here.


Thomas J. McLean's picture

Tom McLean has been writing for years about animation from a secret base in Los Angeles.