OIAF Announces Feature Film Selections

Window Horses. Courtesy of the NFB.
Festival season in the 613 is off! Today’s announcement of the feature film selections for this year’s Ottawa International AnimationFestival brings the first wave of fall festival premieres for the National Capital. OIAF looks strong on the feature film front as it heads into its 40th year as Ottawa’s biggest and most popular film festival and the largest showcase for animation in North America. OIAF ’16 boasts a whopping seven feature films, including Our Nixon director Penny Lane’s ridiculously brilliant NUTS!, which I caught back at Hot Docs and consider is an absolute must-see. (One of our freelancers at POV covered it then, but I’ll give it some ink here during OIAF.)

OIAF also features three Canadian titles, which is an impressive tally given that Canadian feature animation is pretty rare. The trio of Canuck cartoons hitting OIAF are the Quebecois box office smash La guerre des tuques, Window Horses featuring a vocal performance by Nepean homegirl Sandra Oh, and Louise en hiver from Jean-François Laguionie, who triumphed at OIAF 1978 with La traversée de l’Atlantique à la rame. OIAFfers can catch Laguionie’s prize-winner too, since the fest offers six screening programmes featuring every one of the festival’s past Grand Prize winners. Additional shorts will be announced leading up to the festival.

The feature films playing at OIAF this year are:


Dir. Jan Bultheel | Belgium/France/Netherlands
Synopsis: Cafard begins at the junction of the best and the worst moments of a man's life. The very second-best wrestler Jean Mordant wins the World Championship, his 15-year-old daughter becomes pregnant after being gang raped by German soldiers. Leaving everything behind, Jean returns to his daughter in Belgium, but because of his hostile feelings toward Germany he decides to go to war. He wants revenge, but war doesn't achieve anything for him; it leaves him devastated and traumatized, losing both his lovely daughter and himself.

La guerre des tuques (Snowtime!)

Dir. Jean-François Pouliot | Canada
Synopsis: To amuse themselves during the winter school break, the kids in a small village decide to have a massive snowball fight. Luke and Sophie, both 11 years old, become the leaders of the opposing sides. But what starts out as pure youthful fun and enthusiasm deteriorates into a more serious conflict. Joy is restored when all the children decide to attack the fort rather than each other and happily destroy every last bit of the snow fort.

Louise en Hiver

Dir. Jean-François Laguionie | Canada
Synopsis: At the end of summer, an old lady watches as the last train of the season leaves the small seaside station of Biligen without her. The town is deserted. The weather rapidly deteriorates and the arrival of high tides cuts electricity and all means of communication. Fragile and neat, not half as tough as Robinson, Louise may not survive winter.


Dir. Chris Prynoski | USA
Synopsis: Story of two best friends, aspiring screenwriter Elliot and aspiring actor John, whose dreams of super-stardom have fizzled. With their 30th birthdays looming and their desperation growing, John and Elliot decide that in this 24/7, celebrity-obsessed world of over-shared navel-gazing, there are more ways to become famous -- or infamous -- than ever before. Starring Patton Oswalt and Paul Rudd.


Dir. Penny Lane | USA
Synopsis: NUTS!  is a feature length documentary [directed by Penny Lane] about Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, an eccentric genius who built an empire in Depression-era America with a goat testicle impotence cure and a million watt radio station. Using animated reenactments, interviews, archival footage, and a hilariously unreliable narrator, NUTS!  traces Brinkley’s rise from poverty and obscurity to the heights of celebrity, wealth and influence in Depression-era America. Along the way, he transplants tens of thousands of goat testicles; amasses an enormous fortune; is (sort of) elected Governor of Kansas; builds the world’s most powerful radio station; invents junk mail, the infomercial, the sound-truck and Border Radio; hosts some epic parties; and annoys the heck out of the establishment, until finally his audacious actions force the federal government to create regulations to stop him. How he does it, and what happens when it all comes crashing down, is the story of NUTS!

Psiconautas: the forgotten children

Dir. Pedro Rivero, Alberto Vázquez
Synopsis: Psychonauts is an animated feature directed by Alberto Vazquez and Pedro Rivero, from the original graphic novel of the same title by Alberto Vazquez As a feature, is the culmination of a journey started with the short film 'Birdboy', also based on this graphic novel which was awarded with a Goya Award in 2012. 'Birdboy' was also shortlisted for the Oscar in its category and earned an extensive list of awards at national and international festivals. Aimed at young and adult audiences, Psychonauts is an atypical work that it served of the typical iconography of cartoons series to tell an intense poetic and social story. In it, the struggle of its main characters, DINKY and BIRDBOY, trying to escape of the suffocating atmosphere that is breathed in the island where they live. A place that lost its entire splendor because of a terrible industrial accident The lack of job prospects, the family and social control to whom are perceived as different from the norm, the fondness for addictive ...

Window Horses

Dir. Anne Marie Fleming | Canada
Synopsis: Window Horses is a feature-length animated film about a young Canadian poet who embarks on a whirlwind voyage of discovery—of herself, her family, love, history, and the nature of poetry. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming, and featuring the voices of Sandra Oh, Don McKellar, Nancy Kuan, and Shohreh Aghdashloo, the film is filled with poems and histories created by a variety of artists and animators, who set out to blend a vast myriad of differences between cultures, philosophies, arts, and time frames.

OIAF runs Sept. 21-25.
Please visit www.animationfestival.ca for more information.