TAAFI 2014 – Day 1 (13th June)

The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International aka TAAFI kicked off its 3rd edition on 13th June 2014. Despite being one of the ‘youngest’ animation festivals on the block, TAAFI has so much to offer. Brilliantly planned and well organised, it is an interesting mix of screenings, panels discussions, talks, workshops and fun events.

The grand opening of TAAFI 2014 took place on 13th June, which I had to unfortunately miss because of a massive 15 hour flight delay courtesy of Air Canada. The inconvenience didn’t hurt as much as did the fact that I missed all the fantastic stuff lined up for the festival inauguration!

This is what I missed:

Gertie the Dinosaur – ‘100 Years Later’

A fitting tribute to Windsor McCay’s ground-breaking animated short – ‘Gertie the Dinosaur’ in the form of a 7 minute live + animated celebratory spoof of the 100 year old film. Hosted by actor and comedian Pat Thornton, and directed by TAAFI co-founder Barnabas Wornoff, the re-animated version of the film featured a cartoon version of the Pat Thornton in conversation with Gertie who spilled some beans on her personal life as well as the great Windsor McCay.
This special screening was presented by the iTristan Media Group.

Here’s the original Gertie the Dinosaur if you haven’t seen it already:

Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

The other highlight of the evening was the Canadian premiere of the beautifully animated 2013 film Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart directed by Stéphane Berla and Mathias Malzieu. Acclaimed for its art direction, this film was also screened on the same day at the Annecy 2014 festival in France.

Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Directed by Stéphane Berla & Mathias Malzieu
Edinburgh, 1874. Jack is born on the coldest day the world has ever seen and his heart remains frozen. Doctor Madeleine saves him by replacing his defective heart with a mechanical clock. He will survive with this magical contraption so long as he respects three rules: he must never touch the hands; he must control his anger; he must never, ever fall in love. His encounter with Miss Acacia, a little street singer, makes the clock’s hands turn more quickly. Jack is prepared to do anything to find her again and so, like a Don Quichotte, he sets out on a quest for love that will take him from the Scottish lochs to Paris, and from there to Andalusia.

Pitch-A-Palooza 2014

This year, Pitch-A-Palooza 2014, TAAFI’s highly anticipated animation pitching event had 80 lucky writers and artists ‘speed pitching’ their ‘next big idea’ to over 20 industry leading production and broadcast executives. on Friday June 13, 2014. The best 2 pitches were then invited to the BIG Pitch Monday afternoon. Although I missed this first round with all the participants, I did get to watch the final ‘Big Pitch’ round between the 2 finalists on the last day.

College Animation Challenge 2014 – ‘It Happened in a Pub’

Earlier in the evening, TAAFI screened 15-20 second shorts created by 7 Ontario animation schools (Cambrian, Centennial, Durham, Max the Mutt, OCAD, Seneca and Sheridan) that were compiled into one short film themed ‘It Happened in a Pub’. This is the second annual College Animation Challenge and Smiley Guy Studio provided the location design, BG establishing painting, audio mix and compositing and was responsible for compiling all 7 entries into one film.

TAAFI College Animation Challenge 2014: It Happened in a Pub from Toronto Animation Arts Festival on Vimeo.

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