Ottawa on a Budget Ottawa on a Budget

Ottawa on a Budget

Among the many benefits of living on the East Coast is that it’s a fairly close haul up to the Ottawa International Animation Festival, at least relative to when I lived on the West Coast. It can be a cheap trip too if planned right. NY filmmaker Fran Krause (recently interviewed on the Brew) encourages his students to attend every year, and he thinks it’s such a professionally valuable event that he puts together a guide for his students on how to experience the festival on a budget. This year he’s decided to share his Ottawa guide with the entire world, and he has good advice for anybody who needs to travel up there frugally. (A word of caution though: I heard some folks got bedbugs at the “jail” hostel last year. Personally I’d go with the hotel-split option. Just make sure to reserve early.)

  • I strongly recommend the annual Ottawa fest to any and all who are interested in animation. Students, ad people, even sound designers. I think it’s the best annual fest on this continent – Platform was wonderful too, but it doesn’t have the heritage of Ottawa yet. The screenings, the panels, the workshops – Ottawa’a great !

  • And the best way to do the festival on the cheap: Get your film accepted. I was a guest of the festival twice, and it was a great experience both times. The hospitality of the festival combined with the great setting and solid cross section of films makes the Ottawa Festival the one to go to.

  • Andrew

    I slept over at a hostel for the entire event in 2005- no bedbug reports! Huh.

  • Went this Ottawa last year and it was a blast! The city’s beautiful and all the venue’s were literally walking distance. Hosteling is fine if you’re alone, but if you’ve got friends w/you share a hotel its waaay better. Looking forward to Ottawa again this year!

  • chris robinson

    i think there are ghosts in the hostel too…at least at the jail hostel near our office. In da olden days a lot of folks were apparently murdered and executed there. Since then there have been reports of odd sightings etc… Before I took over the festival I used spend a lot of time in the office basement going through old 16mm films. I never experienced any weirdness beyond the Nazi bldg super.

    ‘Course, this has nothing to do with saving money.

    There’s a mission right near us too. Take some crack and seek shelter for the week. Free food, lots of friendly neighbours (likely no worse than most animators anyway). Yeah! Plus, there’s a hobo park right across the street and next to the Arts Court parking lot. Delightful place to snack, rest or take a dump (bring your own tp, tissue or newspapers).

    Oh…and if you’re at a party, avoid Amid Amidi. Contact can only lead to turmoil.

    Thank you and god bless.

  • Last year, a bunch of us NYC animators carpooled up in two cars and all crashed in the same set of hotel rooms. I gathered about 100 bucks from each of the three folks I had in my car for gas, tolls and hotel parking. Not as great as the $86 bus ticket but awesome music, fun rest-stop adventures and good friends! How can you put a price on that? Not to mention getting searched twice by border patrol! Hmm… wait a minute… maybe I’ll bus it this year, too.

  • If you room with Amid (as I did one year), expect to wake up at 2am by the sound of him typing on his laptop. The dude’s a definite night owl. I thought I was a decent night owl, but apparently not at the level as Amid, though.

  • Theodore Ushev

    Also, I’ve heard rumors that this Year the festival will turn into a kind of rock fest. No animation, Yea! Only You Too, and Me3!
    (Those are paid rumors, though…) Those with guitars will be allowed for free VIP admissions at the Friday evening projections.

  • Katie Cropper

    I will so totally be there this year ruining everyone’s screening experiences with my obnoxious laughter. sorry in advance.

  • I must go. It is my religious pilgrimage.
    I must find someway to annoy Chris and make myself look like an idiot every year. Something will come to mind before I get there I am sure.


    Also, as a student, the Ottawa fest was the best place to start out if you’ve never been to one. Saved lots of monies going with tons of pals, plus a good group makes for an even better experience. Ottawa is always packed with things to do, screenings to attend, and always had at least two workshops that I was very interested in. Not to mention quite a beautiful city…even when it rained a bit, it was somehow always nice.

    Mad props to the Days Inn there putting up with our huge groups.

  • Thanks for the shout-out, Amid.

    Don’t even get me started on the maple-leaf candy.