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Ottawa Fest Draws Top Animators to 2015 Edition

Bruce Bickford and Michèle Cournoyer set to present retrospective works at this year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival, running September 16-20.

A scene from ‘Prometheus’ Garden’ by Bruce Bickford. OTTAWA -- To complement its official competition and showcase screenings, the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF), North America’s leading animation film festival, is presenting a series of specially curated retrospectives and screenings at this year’s edition running September 16-20.

The retrospective works of Bruce Bickford (U.S.) and Michèle Cournoyer (Canada) are among the Festival’s highlight attractions this year. Both Bickford and Cournoyer will be in attendance to introduce and discuss their films with the audience.

Bickford, who achieved notoriety in the 1970s through his work with Frank Zappa, is best known for his bizarre and mesmerizing line and clay animations. The self-taught, enigmatic and esteemed animation pioneer -- once deemed “the world's greatest animator” -- has earned a worldwide following of animation aficionados enthralled by his ingenious, disturbing, lysergic, phantasmagorical, often violent, eye-popping, and mind-bogglingly unique work.

“Bickford's animations are incomparable and indescribable,” says Chris Robinson, the OIAF’s Artistic Director. “There is no one like him in animation.”

The presentation of Bruce Bickford: Wondering Boy Poet will take place on Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 p.m. and again on Friday, September 18, at 9:15 p.m. The retrospective includes the highly regarded and award-winning Prometheus’ Garden, which went on to be named the “Best Short Subject of 1988” by Seattle Times film critic John Hartl, and the decades-in-the-making CAS’L film of this year. Both presentations will be held at the National Gallery of Canada (380 Sussex Drive). Bickford will also lead an engaging masterclass on September 19 at 3:00 p.m. at the Arts Court Theatre (2 Daly Avenue).

The acclaimed work of Canadian filmmaker Michèle Cournoyer will also be featured as part of the OIAF’s special programming line-up.

“Personal conflict is often the central theme in the award-winning animator’s works,” says Robinson. “In her trademark black ink style and metamorphic choreography, Cournoyer’s surreal, tense and deeply personal films confront powerful subject matter ranging from alcoholism and sexual abuse to other violations of the mind and body.”

Isolation Drills: The Films of Michèle Cournoyer will take place on Friday, September 18 at 3:00 p.m. at the ByTowne Cinema (325 Rideau Street), and again on Saturday, September 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the National Gallery of Canada. Blow Up: Drawings By Michèle Cournoyer, an exhibition of a selection of drawings from Cournoyer’s films will be on display at the Arts Court Studio during the Festival.

Other Notable OIAF 2015 Special Screening Highlights

  • If It Ain’t Broke: Contemporary Applications of Traditional, Non-Digital Techniques pays homage to contemporary film directors who, despite advances in digital technology, use analog techniques to produce their works.
  • Motel of Fools: The Films of Kaspar Jancis features the work of the wild and wacky Estonian animator, musician, writer and bike designer, whose films include a memorable cast of oddball characters.
  • Everything by Everyone: The Newgrounds Revolution honors a community of professionals, amateurs, teenagers, trolls and early experiments from some of the biggest animators working today.
  • OIAF and Sony Pictures present a special sneak peak of the all new, monster-comedy Hotel Transylvania 2 in advance of its nationwide theatrical release.
  • Visionary Czech special effects wizard Karel Zeman is being celebrated with two special screenings: The documentary Film Adventurer Karel Zeman along with a restored version of his beloved Jules Verne adaptation, Invention for Destruction, demonstrate why Zeman was such an inspiration to future filmmakers such as Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton.

Tickets and festival passes are available online at Admission starts at $13 for the general public, or $9 for children, seniors and members of the Canadian Film Institute.

For a complete list of special screenings at this year’s OIAF, visit or download the official OIAF app for all the latest updates and information.

Source: Ottawa International Animation Festival

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.