Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ottawa International Animation Festival - Day One

Welcome to Canada.

First up, a few panels at the Television Animation Conference.

Apparently the Canadian government is falling over itself to give Canadian animation producers money.

Then, ran into Chris Robinson and some RISD students including Leah Shore who stopped by the studio a couple months back.
Two screenings for the opening night.

First the feature "Mary and Max".

It's beautiful story, but the picture is completely secondary.

The character design and art direction is pleasing, and there are occasional visual gags -but it would have been better suited as a radio piece.

In fact, several of the films are better suited to the radio. "Q&A" is also lovely and charming piece. The visuals are nice but it's driven purely by the soundtrack -which was originally a radio piece and is no more moving because of the film aspect.

Two student pieces -also strong showings -are in a similar boat. Ian Miller's "True Confessions" and Diego Maclean's "The Art of Drowning", both have strong animation. But is the animation stronger than voice track? "The Art of Drowning" is not only a based on a poem by Billy Collins, the poet himself delivers a powerful reading.

Still, better to have a great soundtrack and solid picture than great picture and lackluster (or simply solid) scripting.


Michael Sporn said...

Thanks for the Ottawa update.
I was looking forward to seeing MARY AND MAX but expected exactly the film you described. After all, HARVIE KRUMPET was little more than still pictures with a great voice over track.
However, most animated films these days don't have great tracks, they have screaming tracks.

I saw your fine animation in Rebecca Miller's THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE. Nice job, wish it had been longer or that they'd used more animation in spots. It woked, in an odd sort of way. The film, itself, was excellent thanks to the brilliant acting of Robin Wright.

roconnor said...

I haven't seen Pippa Lee yet, but the script was excellent. And the director and producers were delightful.

It was a very difficult piece, not just for financial constraints, but the original illustration was very complex and hard to reproduce. We spent weeks trying to clean up Robin Wright Penn's drawing and never got it right. Not until the end of the art production did we (actually Christina at the studio) really figure out how to do it at which point we couldn't go back and change everything.

Leah Tinari, the illustrator, does terrific work so I hope some of that came through.