Ottawa Int'l Animation Festival 2013

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(Parliament of Canada building in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

I just got back from this year's Ottawa International Animation Festival where my latest short animated film, Yellow Sticky Notes | Canadian Anijam was screening in the Canadian Showcase.  The OIAF, which ran this year from Sept. 17th to the 22nd, is one of the most important animation festivals in the world and it's great that it happens here in Canada in the nation's capital city, Ottawa, Ontario.

As part of OIAF, they also present the Television Animation Conference (TAC) where creators can meet up with distributors, producers, studios, and broadcasters to pitch new cartoon series.  This year, I was pitching a couple projects.  More details about that in a future blog post.  

Going to these kinds of markets is a really great way to network face to face and of course try to get something you've created produced.  This year's TAC hosted an event called Fast Tracks where you could book 10 minute meetings with attending delegates from producers, studios, and broadcasters.  It's kind of like speed dating for animation professionals. Needless to say, I took full advantage of this and decided to get all my meetings out of the way in one day.  Thus, I successfully pulled off over twenty, 10 minute meetings on the first day.  This was great because it left me the rest of the time at the festival to just enjoy watching films, attend some workshops and panels, promote my screening and meet up with old animator buddies.  

The great thing about specific festivals like animation festivals is that everyone there eats, sleeps and breathes animation.  Therefore, it's a great place to talk shop, discuss animation and see what everyone has been up to.  A great place to do this was at the Animators' Picnic.  Here animation students, producers, filmmakers, and animation buffs get to mingle over some lunch and beer.  At this year's picnic, I ran into some of the animators who worked on Yellow Sticky Notes | Canadian Anijam like Alison Snowden, David Fine, and Janet Perlman.  Half way through the picnic we all walked over the the first screening of the Canadian Showcase where our film was screening.  It was a packed house and from the laughs and applause we received, I felt our film was extremely well received! 

(From left to right: Me, Alison Snowden, Lily Snowden-Fine, David Fine, Judith Gruber-Stitzer, and Janet Perlman)

On the weekend, my animation buddy, fellow Film Annex filmmaker, and anijam animator, Jonathan Ng, came to hangout at the festival.  It's always great to catch up with Jonathan and see what's new in his animated world.  As it turns out, he had just found out that his latest short animation, Requiem for Romance, had been selected for Ron Diamond's Show of Shows.  He would be jumping in a plane directly after OIAF to head down to California to join the start of the tour.  

(From left to right: Jonathan Ng, Patrick Doyon, and me)

One workshop/master class I found really amazing and inspiring was hearing from legendary Disney classical animator, Eric Goldberg.  He spoke about creating appealing characters at Disney.  As he spoke, he drew examples of various characters and how he had made them more appealing through various changes in expression and design.  It's always inspiring to hear animators with his experience discuss tools of the trade and offer some animated advice.  

Overall, I had a great time at this year's OIAF.  I came back with over 100 business cards of new contacts and better yet, new animation friends.  Although the most important part of attending this year's OIAF is that after watching some amazing animated films from around the world, I'm animation inspired to start creating some new work!  

Check out this video of me talking about Yellow Sticky Notes | Canadian Anijam and please subscribe for updates on new blog posts and uploaded videos.  Thanks for reading and happy animating!

About the author


Jeff Chiba Stearns is an Emmy® nominated and Webby award winning animation and documentary filmmaker. Born in Kelowna, BC, of Japanese and European heritage, he graduated from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design with a degree in Film Animation in 2001. Soon after he founded Meditating Bunny Studio…

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