TAAFI 2014 – Toronto Animation Arts Festival International 2014

I first heard about TAAFI last year in May when one of the co-founders Rich Duhaney wrote to me asking if they could repost one of my blog reviews of an Indian animated film (Sons of Ram) that was scheduled to be screened at the 2013 edition of the festival. I was more than happy to share it – and they not only posted my entire review on the TAAFI Blog, but also back linked to the page on www.allaboutanimation.com.

At that time, I had casually mentioned to Rich in one of my emails that I would love to attend TAAFI some day. Little did I know then that I would end up doing exactly that in 2014!

Imagine my delight then when it transpired that I was in Toronto for the 3rd edition of this young but promising international animation festival covering all that was happening as a media person! The organisers very kindly arranged for passes for all of the talks, workshops, panels and screenings. (Detailed posts coming soon!)

The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International – TAAFI  celebrates the many forms of animation from around the world, while supporting and nurturing the community that creates them. TAAFI 2014 was held from June 13-16, at the Corus Quay & George Brown College Campus on Toronto’s breathtakingly beautiful waterfront.

The festival had screenings of short and feature films from across the world, talks, panel discussions, demos and workshops by some well-known and highly respected creators and experts from animation, comics, gaming and films. Attendees got a taste of illustration & caricatures, story writing,  voice acting, project funding and even client management!

The Animation Arts Maarket:

This year TAAFI also introduced the Animation Arts Maarket – a wonderful meeting place for artists and creators to interact not only amongst themselves but also with their fans and just about nobody interested in talking to them and buying their art. So there were students and indie professionals rubbing shoulders with fans as well as recruiters – all in a fun, casual environment that had to be seen to be believed! With almost 75 participants – amongst them students and fresh graduates as well as much admired, famous artists (‘Kim Possible’ designer Stephen Silver, Bobby Chiu – director of Imagninsm Studios, Natasha Allegri – creator of ‘Bee and PuppyCat’, Steve Wolfhard from ‘Adventure Time’, Vera Brosgol from LAIKA Studios, Jessica Borutski from Warner Bros.), it was tough to tear myself away from the colour and creativity of the Animation Arts Maarket to go and attend screenings and sessions that were going on simultaneously. The best bit was that the marketplace was free to attend for anybody!

And how can I forget Toonville! What better way to get the entire family together to watch cartoons while also learning what goes into their making? Toonville (held over the weekend) had the creators and voice artists behind some very popular shows on Teletoon, Disney XD ad YTV and the young, enthusiastic audiences got to interact with them and also participate in various fun activities.

Toonville activities included:

  • Screening of Saturday Morning Cartoons
  • Face painting and free drawing
  • Screening of new Mickey Mouse shorts & learning how to draw Mickey flip books
  • Voicing Cartoons Workshop – Kids got to read scripts alongside Dan Povenmire and other voice actors in a live, interactive script reading workshop
  • Screening of the new show ‘Fangbone’ and a chat with the creator Michael Rex
  • Phineas & Ferb: Behind The Scenes and special Father’s Day screening of a new episode
  • Screening of the Canadian movie ‘The Nut Job’ with the director Peter Lepeniotis
  • ‘Like Comics: Storyboarding Cloudy 2’ – A very interesting session of exploring the storyboards with director Kris Pearn and his kids
  • And finally a workshop on ‘How To Draw Caricatures’ with various professionals.

The final day of the festival was a shared event with TAAFI co-hosting the first day of the SAS 2014 Conference with Sheridan College and concluded with the much-anticipated ‘Big Pitch’ and the TAFFYs (TAAFI Short Film Awards)


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