Montreal’s Sommets du cinéma d’animation kicked off today with a masterclass by former Disney producer Don Hahn and an opening night screening of the French animated feature The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales.

The festival continues through Sunday with dozens of screenings, as well as networking sessions, gallery exhibits, talks, masterclasses, and special events. (Read Cartoon Brew’s recap of the 2016 edition.) “We think that our International Competition is quite exciting with many new films,” the festival’s artistic director Marco de Blois told Cartoon Brew.

But beyond screenings, the festival has a quirky side. Explained de Blois: “Our festival also likes to take animation out of the cinemas and put them in stage events. This is why we will have a performance mixing circus numbers and animation with the circus company Cirquantique on Friday and a rock show with indie animator Joël Vaudreuil and the rock band Cheval fou on Saturday evening.”

Another highlight is a five-hour masterclass with Matthew Rankin, director of the mixed-media short The Tesla World Light, which premiered earlier this year at the International Critics’ Week section of the Cannes Film Festival.

Sommets also tries to keep up with the changing face of Montreal’s animation scene. The event, which started at the Cinémathèque québécoise a decade-and-a-half ago as just two screenings of short films, has evolved to include feature films and industry-related talks, including a vfx presentation by Framestore.

Montreal, which has possibly the fastest-growing animation scene in North America, needs meeting points like Sommets more than ever. “Everybody here knows that Montreal is an animation hub, but the public rarely has the occasion to see the films and meet the filmmakers,” says de Blois. “It’s essential for our artists to show the films to the Montreal audience. The Sommets also give the artists and professionals the opportunity to do networking, meet friends, and future partners from here and abroad.”

Sommets du cinéma d’animation takes place at the Cinémathèque québécoise and the nearby Phi Center. For event and ticket details, visit the Cinémathèque website.

The trailer and poster for this year’s Sommets festival were designed by Brandon Blommaert.

Latest News from Cartoon Brew