OIAF 2020 selections OIAF 2020 selections

The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is going virtual this year, like so many other events on the circuit. North America’s most venerable animation festival has announced the competition selections for its 2020 edition, which will be held online from September 23 to October 4.

The programmers have pruned a list of 1,950 entries — a slight drop on last year — down to 92 short films, series, and vr works. A further six features and 16 Canadian student films were selected. Explore the list here (the vr program will be unveiled in August).

Among the features are Mosley, the family feature from New Zealand that took 20 years to complete, and Circumstantial Pleasures, the latest from New York’s veteran collagist Lewis Klahr. There are also two striking autobiographical films, Mariusz Wilczyński’s macabre Kill It and Leave This Town and Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen’s My Favorite War, which took the Contrechamp prize at Annecy.

The shorts line-up features some enticing world premieres, such as Polka-Dot-Boy (by 2015 OIAF Grand Prize winner Sarina Nihei) and KKUM (by the L.A.-based Korean animator Kangmin Kim). There are several new films from festival heavyweights, such as Alberto Vázquez’s Homeless Home, Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s Something to Remember, and Theodore Ushev’s Living in a Box, which Cartoon Brew exclusively premiered last month.

OIAF remains a major showcase for North American indie animation. The best-represented countries in the competition programs are the U.S. (23 entries), France (15), Canada (12), Japan (9), and Russia (6). In addition, the festival will bring back its annual panoramas showcasing the best of Canadian and world animation, including student work.

Chris Robinson, OIAF artistic director (and Cartoon Brew contributor), said:

The pandemic certainly hasn’t slowed animators down. This year’s crop of films are as solid, inspired, bizarre, and diverse as any other. There’s sexual silliness (Peter Millard’s Cumcumcumcumcum Everybody and Ivan Li’s sure-to-be-heatedly-discussed short, Fruit), indie rock icons (new music videos for Sparks and The Breeders), boozy preachers (I, Barnabé), love affairs with a convict (Shoko Hara’s stop-motion documentary Just a Guy), and some rather timely films that deal with those pandemic words we all now know so well: face touching (Leah Shore’s Don’t Touch Your Face), masks (Patrick Smith’s Beyond Noh), elderly (mis)care (Kaspar Jancis’s funny and poignant Kosmonaut), and isolation (the playful Living in a Box by Oscar nominee Theodore Ushev).

The festival previously unveiled this year’s poster by Christy Karacas, who created Superjail! and Ballmastrz:9009 for Adult Swim:

OIAF 2020 poster

(Image at top, left to right: “I, Barnabé,” “Polka-Dot-Boy,” “Beyond Noh.”)