toronto animation arts festival international

5 programs to catch at the 2012 Toronto Animation Arts Festival International

The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI for short) is Toronto's first-ever animation festival, and with most other film genres represented by Toronto film festivals, it's about time. The program features officially selected works which run the gamut from G-ratings all the way up to R — it has a something for every taste and age range.

The three day event runs from July 6-8 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and includes special panels with guests like John Kricfalusi, creator of Ren & Stimpy and a live-cartoon script read with comedian Sean Cullen and voice actress Emilie-Claire Barlow.

SATURDAY JULY 7 / SHORTS 3: STYLIN' / 9AM
Stylin' focuses on short selections that are crisp, hip and cool. Whether that cool is literal as in Snowdrifter, a film about a cute snowman whose outfit (think Stan from South Park) should clue you into something darker, or cool like Good Books - Metamorphosis, a psychedelic Hunter S. Thompson-esque rant about a man desperately craving a copy of Kafka. But my favourite of the bunch has to be (Notes on) Biology, a photorealistic short about a disengaged student creating an incredible flip-book during a mundane science class. Shorts 3: Stylin' repeats on Sunday June 8 at 11:15 a.m.

SATURDAY JULY 7 / SHORTS 1: STRAIGHT UP TOONS / 11:15AM
Classical animation a la Fleischer or Warner is still alive and well at TAAFI, full of humour, charm and...singing mermen? Highlights include the silly Fester Goes Fishing, a toon that's a little bit Felix the Cat, and a little bit Popeye, about a dim-witted freshwater-bass who battles Poseidon to save his girlfriend, and Escape of the Gingerbread Man!!!, a Disney/Pixar-like piece about two gingerbreads exploring the Irish countryside and discovering the culture, old and new. Shorts 1: Straight up Toons repeats on Sunday June 8 at 3:45 p.m.

SATURDAY JULY 7 / STUDENT SHORTS: S'COOL / 1:30PM
This 90-minute student showcase features over twenty works from Canadian and International animation students. Highlights of the program include Vancouver Film School submissions Reading Kills, a wordless warning against the dangers of reading, and Tough West, a sombre look at a cowboy's psychological struggle between being a chicken or a hero. Student Shorts: S'Cool will repeat on Sunday July 8 at 11:15 a.m.

SATURDAY JULY 7 / SHORTS 2: THE REFLECTING POOL / 3:45PM
If classic cartoons or contemporary animation isn't your thing, check out the more introspective works found in The Reflecting Pool, a collection of animated works that feature personal stories, non-fiction and fiction in a variety of animated styles. Pieces vary from the sombre Places Other People Have Lived, a particularly unique mixed-media piece that explores the unsettling memories associated with childhood homes, to the cynical When at a Certain Party in NYC, a snarky hate-poem dedicated to New York City. Shorts 2: The Reflecting Pool will repeat on Sunday July 8 at 9 a.m.

SATURDAY JULY 7 / SHORTS 4: GOOD & WEIRDY / 7PM
The program title says it all. This series is a collection of works that have no designate other than 'weird.' There's a returning piece I loved at CFC, Mulvar is Correct Candidate which is a satirical jab at the electoral system, 16bit - Dinosaurs, a music video for a dubstep group featuring dinosaurs (obviously), A Morning Stroll which pits a New Yorker against a chicken and RINGO, a story about a couple who 'ruins a child.' Shorts 4: Good & Weirdy plays again on Sunday July 8 at 1:30 p.m.

The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) runs from July 6-8 at the TIFF Bell Ligthbox. Festival passes can be purchased for $100 through taafi.com and individual tickets can be puchased for $15.


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