The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF), the granddaddy of North American animation festivals, has announced its shorts selections for its 34th edition, which will take place September 25–29. Its programmers have whittled the list of over 2,200 submissions — a slight drop on last year’s 2,469 — down to 54 shorts, spread across four competitions: narrative, non-narrative, student, and commissioned.

The program features a few enticing premieres, such as Theodore Ushev’s Physique de la tristesse (The Physics of Sorrow) and Chris Dainty’s Shannon Amen, both National Film Board of Canada productions. It also contains some high-profile prizewinners, including Bruno Collet’s Memorable (recipient of Annecy’s Cristal and audience award) and Tomek Popakul’s Acid Rain (which won the grand prize and audience award at Animafest Zagreb). Overall, the films come chiefly from Europe, North America, and East Asia, with one Argentinian and one Australian entry. Check out the full list here.

Chris Robinson, the festival’s artistic director (and a Cartoon Brew contributor), notes the prevalence of a few themes and motifs: social media, “the chaos of the world,” female sexuality, fish. “I get a real sense of people being a bit lost…trying to get a grip on identity, home etc,” he told Cartoon Brew. “Acid Rain, Kids, The Physics of Sorrow, The Levers, I’m Not a Robot, Deszcz (Rain)… [there’s] lots of stuff that speaks almost about a generation more than just individuals.”

The festival has already announced its picks for the feature, series, and young audience competitions. The last contains Pete Browngardt’s The Curse of the Monkey Bird, one of the installments in the rebooted Looney Tunes franchise that premiered at Annecy last month. Among the features is Away, which was essentially made by one person, the 25-year-old Latvian filmmaker Gints Zilbalodis; the film took the prize in Annecy’s Contrechamp competition. OIAF’s selections for these categories can be found on the same page. Its virtual reality, Canadian student, and panorama programs will be announced next week.

Outside the competitions, the festival will also host an array of special screenings, including retrospectives of Elizabeth Hobbs, Kathy Rose, and Lei Lei, and a look back at how the automobile has been depicted in animation through the ages.

(Image: “The Flounder” by Elizabeth Hobbs.)

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