The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) will feature five National Film Board of Canada (NFB) animated shorts, including the world premiere of the final film in Marta Pajek’s acclaimed animation trilogy, Impossible Figures and other stories I, a Poland/Canada co-production. This year’s event has extended its run from September 22 to October 3, with an extensive set of screenings, presentations, and talks with animators, available online worldwide.
The five NFB films are:
Narrative Short Animation (Official Competition):
World Premiere – Impossible Figures and other Stories I by Marta Pajek (16 min); co-produced by Animoon and NFB
- An ominous ticking sound triggers a massive explosion. A swarm of objects and figures scatters unforgivably. In the aftermath, only a few souls remain, including an elegant elderly woman. Wandering deserted city streets, the tired, stoic woman painfully recalls what was and what could have been. As a flood slowly swallows the city, she shares a final moment of grieving beauty.
- The final film (and first part) of Polish animator Marta Pajek’s award-winning trilogy, was created by Marta working with a team of Canadian animators, including Alex Boya, Eva Cvijanović, Parissa Mohit and Brandon Blommaert.
Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics by Terril Calder (19 min 22 s)
- The film dives deeply into the innate contrast between the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Sacred Teachings, as embodied in the life of a precocious Métis baby. Convinced she’s soiled and destined for Hell; Baby Girl receives teachings that fill her with strength and pride and affirm a path towards healing.
- Born in Fort Frances, Ontario, and now based in Toronto, Calder returns to Ottawa following the OIAF 2020 retrospective of her work.
Affairs of the Art by Joanna Quinn and Les Mills (16 min); co-produced by Beryl Productions International and NFB
- Featuring Quinn’s signature hand-drawn animation with attitude and Mills’ raucously humorous scenarios, Affairs of the Art is a romp through one family’s eccentric addictions.
- The film comes to Ottawa after a tour of some of the world’s major festivals, garnering distinguished honors: Special Jury Distinction for Direction – Short Film, 2021 Annecy International Animation Film Festival; Award for Best Animation – International Competition, 2021 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival; Jury Award in the Comedy category, 2021 Aspen Shortsfest; Award for Best Short Film, 2021 Kaboom Animation Festival, Amsterdam.
Bad Seeds (Mauvaises herbes) by Claude Cloutier (6 min 22 s); co-produced by L’Unité centrale and the NFB
- Award-winning veteran animator Cloutier (Sleeping Betty -2007 and Carface – 2015), connects growth with rivalry and evolution with competition, crafting an increasingly shocking duel that’s peppered with allusions to the western, the Cold War, board games, and much more.
- Award: Prix du public de la compétition internationale, 2021 Les Sommets du cinéma d’animation, Montreal
- The director has also won the Canadian Film Institute Award for Best Canadian Animation and the NFB Public Prize at OIAF for Sleeping Betty (2007).
Flannel Fever Dream: The Films of Mike Maryniuk Tribute
June Night by Mike Maryniuk (4 min)
- As part of the tribute to this Winnipeg animator and OIAF jury member, the festival is presenting his 2020 NFB short. A surreal ode to rebirth and reinvention. June Night juxtaposes archival imagery with handcrafted animation, conjuring up a shimmering utopian dreamscape, a post-COVID world shaped by the primordial forces of nature—haunted by the genial specter of Buster Keaton.
Another OIAF 2021 jury member is Anne Koizumi, a Montreal filmmaker and Hothouse alumnus (Prairie Story, 2006). She also works as an advisor with the NFB’s education team, offering animation and documentary workshops.