Arts film exhibition review

Inspirational, humorous, and touching

ICA screening presents the best of an animation festival

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A frame from the film Virtuoso Virtual, one of the films shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art’s screening of a selection from the Ottawa International Animation Film Festival.
Thomas Stellmach and Maja Oschmann

Best of the Ottawa International Animation Festival 2013

The Institute of Contemporary Art

Jan. 9 and 18–19, 2014

The Ottawa International Animation Festival is the largest of its kind in North America, bringing the talent, incredible dedication and patience of many crazy creative minds since the mid 70s.

The ICA screening, presenting the best of the festival was nothing short of a great time. Inspirational, soul satisfying, humorous, touching: the emotional range was wide, and so were the techniques; from computer generated to dripping ink, the selection had the audience on a delightful trip, jumping from one brilliant brain to another.

One of the great things about animation is the freedom it grants the creator to say, do, imagine and ultimately represent in any way whatsoever that he or she wants: from long narratives with funky turns to just simply fun; the selection included the winners for experimental, narrative, best short, best Canadian and the Walt Disney award for best graduation animation.

Among the favorites were Oh Willy... by Emma de Swaef and Marc James. Over 15 minutes long and created with nothing but textiles, wooly Willy returns to visit his dying mother to the nudist colony she lives in, whereupon going for a stroll in the forest, his fate changes completely upon finding motherly love in the strangest of creatures. Among its many accolades it took the prize for Best Narrative Short Animation.

The Best Experimental/Abstract Animation award went to Thomas Stellmach and Maya Oschmann’s Virtuoso Virtual. The Alchemist by German composer Louis Spohr is animated through the use of dripping, jetting, splashing and splattering ink, making a beautiful abstract choreography.

Ohayo Carotene by Saky Iyori perked us all up with its simplicity of drawings, repetitive actions, and colorful, playful dancing characters. “Wake up, it is morning! This is the beginning of a new day!” is the description, and I cannot do it better justice!

Surreal, dark, ominous Lonely Bones by Dutch artist Rosto, is a 2D, 3D and live action ménage, taking us to a dream-like experience, where time and space converge, trapping a one-eyed man in a lonely and hellish never-ending trip. It won the Nelvana Grand Prize for Best Short Animation.

This was one of the best uses of an hour of your time, guaranteed! Unfortunately, the exhibition is over, but the ICA offers a number of other short film screenings that may be worth checking out. Psychedelic Cinema, featuring footage that was projected during historic performances by Jimi Hendrix, Santana, The Who, and others, will be screened on Feb. 9 at 7–8 p.m., and there will be multiple screenings of Oscar-nominated short films on Feb. 13, 16, and 17.