NFB Presents Impressive Selection of Films at the Ottawa International Animation Festival

Montreal, August 24, 2011 — The National Film Board of Canada heads to the 35th Ottawa International Animation Festival (September 21—25, 2011) with a dazzling array of international co-productions by world-renowned animators, and brand new shorts by established and up-and-coming Canadian talent. A leader in auteur animation for over 70 years, the NFB is proud to present nine new short films at the festival, including three in official competition: Paul Driessen’s Oedipus (NFB|il Luster Films); Georges Schwizgebel’s Romance (Studio GDS|NFB); and Koji Yamamura’s Muybridge’s Strings (NFB|NHK|Polygon Pictures). Co Hoedeman’s 55 Socks (Musivision|Coconino|NFB) and Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby’s Wild Life (NFB) are also on the roster. In addition to presenting these new films, the NFB will be awarding the festival’s Public Prize.

The OIAF will pay homage to veteran NFB animation producer David Verrall. As honorary president of this year’s edition of the festival, Verrall is programming a film series called “Ten Reasons to Love Animation.” David Verrall is retiring from the NFB this month after a remarkable 34-year career at Canada’s public producer (including 14 years as Executive Producer) during which he produced or executive produced more than 240 NFB films, including the Oscar-winners Bob’s Birthday (1993), Ryan (2004) and The Danish Poet (2006).

As the festival’s long-time collaborator, the NFB is the exclusive partner of the Meet the Filmmakers series, through which animation fans can meet filmmakers who have a film in competition. The NFB is also offering three master classes with outstanding animators Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby (Wild Life); Koji Yamamura (Muybridge’s Strings); and Gil Alkabetz. There will be lots of fun for everyone, including animation workshops for kids, teens and families at the National Gallery; and Animation Celebration– offered in partnership with the NFB–which provides Ottawa-area elementary school children an introduction to the art of animation. In addition, acclaimed NFB animator Claude Cloutier (Sleeping Betty, The Trenches) is part of the 2011 OIAF jury for animated feature films.

OFFICIAL COMPETITION (NARRATIVE CATEGORY)

Oedipus is Paul Driessen’s parody of the Greek myth, offering up a backwards tragicomic version of the classic tale with a bunch of well-known NFB animated characters thrown in for good measure. Driessen is a leader in the international animation scene and Oedipus, produced by Marcy Page for the NFB and Arnoud Rijken and Michiel J. Snijders for il Luster Films, is Driessen at his absurdist best.

In Romance, by virtuoso animator Georges Schwizgebel, a plane hits turbulence and a man’s spirit plunges into a different world. Here, his desires take control and the result is a grand romantic saga. Romance masterfully marries swirling movement with a Rachmaninoff scherzo, erasing the boundary between dreams and reality. Produced by Marc Bertrand for the NFB and Georges Schwizgebel for Studio GDS.

Muybridge’s Strings is animation master Koji Yamamura’s poetic clash of two worlds, exploring the irrepressible human desire to freeze our fleeting moments of happiness. The filmmaker moves between the lives of photographer Eadweard Muybridge and a Japanese mother, observing their attempts to suspend the course of life. Part reminiscence and part daydream, Muybridge’s Strings is produced by Michael Fukushima for the NFB, Keisuke Tsuchihashi for NHK and Shuzo John Shiota for Polygon Pictures.

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