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Can you do that with Bunnies?

By Sarah Cordingley

Monday February 12, 2007

The latest and greatest in cartoons for the masses are churned out by big studios in 3D with star voice talent and typical, predictable story lines for the whole family. With all the prime time and late night cartoons out there you’d think there’d be room for some international shorts. Since the death of Zed, it’s been hard to come by animation that pushes boundaries ‘round these parts. Luckily the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) brought us a little taste.

This year the OIAF celebrates its 30th Anniversary. Festival director Chris Robinson has been fighting the good fight to keep it alive and it’s recently become annual instead of biennale.

Animation students of Emily Carr were allowed to hold a screening to raise money for a scholarship to send a student to the OIAF. A great turnout yielded a grip of cash for the ECI animators and the whole crowd was in stitches…most of the time. The trailer for the ‘Best of Ottawa’ is available on the OIAF website . The content was all geared toward 18+ but didn’t resort to dick, fart or bad race jokes like the usual late night animation for “adults”. The festival included Canadian submissions but the only one present during the “Best of…” was by resident animation house Global Mechanic. It was a 30 second signal film that ran before each screening during the festival.

The closest to a traditional animation was Dreams & Desires: Family Ties by Joanna Quinna: loose pencil animation drawn from the perspective of a handicam, held by a 50 something drunken mother during her daughters wedding in working class Britain. One of the more uncanny films was Tyger, which you can watch online.

The film that everyone adored and roared about was The Carnival of the Animals ( Karneval Zvirat , 2006) by Michaela Pavlátová. Give it up to the Czech’s, they always make good cartoons. A funny, clever, illustrated version of present day sexuality in a Bosch-like “Garden of Earthly Delights”.

Oh yeah Bunny’s…I almost forgot. In The Runt by Andreas Hykade bunnies get slaughtered, and in The Carnival of the Animals they have an orgy, but my favorite was the bunny caught and killed by two little children to reveal a hungry, magical idol in Rabbit by Run Wrake.