One unconsidered advantage of a pandemic is that film and theatre not normally available online becomes as close as your fingertips. The Ottawa International Animation Festival, among the top events of its kind, made available its visually resplendent and imaginative work, as well as panels and interviews.
Undone, Ep. 2 “The Hospital” (series, USA)
In series competition, the Amazon metaphysical brain teaser Undone, directed by Hisko Hulsing, takes you through a multiverse of possible realities inside the head of a young woman who was in a car accident and is (or isn’t) talking with her dad (Bob Oedenkirk) who didn’t survive the crash. Its rotoscoping and hyper-editing keeps the viewer on one’s toes in one’s head.
Urban Sphinx (non-narrative short, Spain)
Director Maria Lorenzo Hernández makes the most of a maelstrom of images of street art with the accompaniment of steel drum, which somehow perfectly accompanies the wild variety of images on the buildings she shot and overlayed over the course of a year of Valencia, Spain.
Doghead (student animation, Japan)
Momo Takenoshita does not have a normal head, and thank goodness for his dogs with multiple sets of eyes and startlingly fun transitions where a new planet and new lives come to fruition out of nowhere.
Just a Guy (narrative short, Germany)
Richard Ramirez, the California serial killer and rapist known as the Night Stalker, is the subject of director Shoko Hara, who stylishly investigates three young women fascinated by the infamous 1980s murderer for different reasons.
Shoom’s Odyssey (animation for young audiences, preschool, France/Belgium)
Julien Bisaro has a simply gorgeous palette of colors in this sweet tale of a baby owl separated from its sibling and searching among humans, animals and a varying, often dreamy seaside landscape. Its heart and subtlety support this magnificently made animation.
Matilda and the Spare Head (animation for young audiences, 6–12, Lithuania)
The humor is classic in Ignas Meiknas’s charming short, but it does not overwhelm the importance of the message, as the titular brainy girl has two separate heads to contain all of the information she recites at school, with undue pressure from her mother.
Kapaemahu (animation for young audiences, 6–12, USA)
Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson and Daniel Sousa all combine to make a stirring, elegant tribute to ancient Hawaiian culture and spirituality, embodied in four rocks on Waikiki Beach.
The Hotline (Canadian student competition, Seneca College)
Christina Taratufalo has both an outrageous sense of design and humor as she tells the story of Erika, stuck between two utterly disgusting employees in a telephone solicitation job that spirals delightfully out of control.