The 45th edition of the Ottawa International Animation Festival will be held entirely online for the second year in a row. The event will take place from September 22 to October 3, which is twice as long as the usual in-person event.
How come: Organizers said that they did not think it would be possible to host a “safe and enjoyable” event based on the current pandemic forecasts, with Covid raging globally and Canada’s own vaccination rollout significantly lagging the United States, in part due to its inability to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines domestically. “Having to run online again is not what we had envisioned this year,” says artistic director Chris Robinson. “But so be it. We’re up for the challenge again and we will still give audiences the usual OIAF mix of entertaining, hilarious, inspiring, infuriating, and pleasantly bizarre as we all eagerly await a return to being in person again in 2022.”
Why it matters: Ottawa is North America’s largest animation festival and considered one of the most prestigious global animation events. The other major North American animation festival, GLAS in Berkeley, California, also had an online edition earlier this month, which means that there will be no significant in-person animation festivals in the U.S. or Canada this year. This impacts short filmmakers who attend festivals to see the public’s reaction to their work, as well as find distribution/funding opportunities.