A few animated favourites from the National Film Board of Canada are making its way to the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF)! There’s something old and something new in what’s coming. Five animated shorts—including the world premiere of a Poland/Canada co-production from an acclaimed animation trilogy–will be gracing the screen far and wide. This event will be offering a streaming/digital component alongside its in-person screenings, and the best part of it all is that it’s not geo-locked!
Also, this show is running longer than usual. It’ll take place from September 22 to October 3.
The shorts that will be playing from theNFB are:
Narrative Short Animation (Official Competition)
Impossible Figures and other stories I by Marta Pajek (16 min)
Co-produced by Animoon and NFB
An ominous ticking sound triggers a massive explosion. A swarm of objects and figures scatters unforgivably. In the aftermath, only a few souls remain, including an elegant elderly woman. Wandering deserted city streets, the tired, stoic woman painfully recalls what was and what could have been. As a flood slowly swallows the city, she shares a final moment of grieving beauty.
The final film (and first part) of Polish animator Marta Pajek’s multi-award-winning trilogy, Impossible Figures and other stories I was created by Marta working with a strong team of Canadian animators, including Alex Boya, Eva Cvijanović, Parissa Mohit and Brandon Blommaert.
Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics by Terril Calder (19 min 22 s)
Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics dives deeply into the innate contrast between the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Sacred Teachings, as embodied in the life of a precocious Métis baby. Convinced she’s soiled and destined for Hell, Baby Girl receives teachings that fill her with strength and pride, and affirm a path towards healing.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario, and now based in Toronto, Métis artist Terril Calder returns to Ottawa following the OIAF 2020 retrospective of her work. Meneath (“island” in Anishinaabemowin), a darkly beautiful stop-motion tour de force, unearths a hauntingly familiar world that illuminates the bias of colonial systems.
Affairs of the Art by Joanna Quinn and Les Mills (16 min)
Co-produced by Beryl Productions International and NFB
The first co-production between Beryl Productions International and the NFB, Affairs of the Art features Quinn’s signature hand-drawn animation with attitude and Mills’ raucously humorous scenarios, in an endearing romp through one family’s eccentric addictions.
The film comes to Ottawa after a tour of some of the world’s major festivals, garnering distinguished honours: Special Jury Distinction for Direction – Short Film, 2021 Annecy International Animation Film Festival; Award for Best Animation – International Competition, 2021 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival; Jury Award in the Comedy category, 2021 Aspen Shortsfest; Award for Best Short Film, 2021 Kaboom Animation Festival, Amsterdam.
Bad Seeds (Mauvaises herbes) by Claude Cloutier (6 min 22 s)
Co-produced by L’Unité centrale and the NFB
Winner of Canadian Film Institute Award for Best Canadian Animation and the NFB Public Prize at OIAF for Sleeping Betty (2007), and director of the acclaimed Carface (2015), veteran animator Claude Cloutier deftly connects growth with rivalry and evolution with competition, crafting an increasingly shocking duel that’s peppered with allusions to the western, the Cold War, board games, and much more.
Award: Prix du public de la compétition internationale, 2021 Les Sommets du cinéma d’animation, Montreal
June Night by Mike Maryniuk (4 min)
As part of the tribute “Flannel Fever Dream: The Films of Mike Maryniuk” to this Winnipeg animator and OIAF jury member, the festival is presenting his 2020 NFB short. A surreal ode to rebirth and reinvention. June Night juxtaposes archival imagery with handcrafted animation, conjuring up a shimmering utopian dreamscape, a post-COVID world shaped by the primordial forces of nature—haunted by the genial spectre of Buster Keaton.