TAAFI 2014

5 things to check out at TAAFI 2014

The 2014 Toronto Animation Arts Festival (TAAFI) will bounce ever-so-perfectly Friday, June 13 until June 16 at Corus Quay and George Brown College on the Waterfront. The fest's programming schedule includes a gala party, tons of screenings, talks, workshops, demos, kid-friendly programming (I won't get into animation not being just-for-kids because we're all past that, right?), a market, and more. This year's highlights will include Michel Gondry's new Noam Chomsky-starring animated feature and a tribute to Norman McLaren, arguably Canada's best known animator.

Here are five must-hit events at TAAFI 2014.

Opening Ceremonies
One of the summer's nerdiest parties, the opening ceremonies at TAAFI are stacked. A pub-themed animation challenge between seven Ontario animation schools (bet you never knew there were seven) will screen, actor / comedian Pat Thornton will screen a spoof of Gertie the Dinosaur in honour of her 100 year anniversary (HB, Gertie!), Sheesham & Lotus & Son will play live, the TAAFI 2014 Signal Film by TINMAN Creative will be unveiled, and then (pant pant) StĂŠphane Berla and Mathias Malzieu's Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart will be screened for its Canadian premiere. Jack's heart looks like a toy, but it's not to be played with.

Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?
Michel Gondry's brand new film Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? screens at George Brown College (Waterfront Campus)'s 2nd Floor Cinema on Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 9:15pm. Philosopher/activist/linguist Noam Chomsky's voice and ideas are animated by Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep)'s playful and charming interpretations.

Bill Plympton, animation legend (you'll remember that Simpsons intro, if nothing else) has one of the most recognizable cartoons styles, well, ever. Cheatin' (2012), screening at George Brown College (Waterfront Campus)'s 2nd Floor Cinema at 6:45pm on June 14, tells a warped, Crash-style (the good Crash) tale of romance featuring a magician and a "soul machine." Plympton's work is always good to point to when someone says animation is "just for kids."

Animation Arts Maarket
This new, free market will be set up at the George Brown College (Waterfront Campus) GBC Atrium from June 14-15. Over 70 exhibitors will be set up at the market including tons of indie artists - plus you can snag autographs on your lunchboxes from Stephen Silver (Kim Possible), Bobby Chiu (Imagninsm Studios), Natasha Allegri (Bee and PuppyCat), Steve Wolfhard (Adventure Time), Vera Brosgol (LAIKA Studios), and Jessica Borutski (Warner Bros). Sounds like a schmooze opp to me - bring your portfolio, or just go to grab some comics, artwork, zines, and more. If you brought your sketchbook, look out for free costumed life drawing, too.

Norman McLaren Retrospective
The almost indisputable climax of 2014's festival will be Norman McLaren's retrospective. The forever hilarious (and Academy Award winning) Neighbours will screen, along with Blinkity Blank, Pas De Deux, Begone Dull Care, and more. The screening is June 15, 1:30pm at George Brown College (Waterfront Campus)'s 2nd Floor Cinema. Amir Avni will host and Kaj Pindal will lead a live Q&A. McLaren (1914-1987) was a Canadian animator and experimenter and remains an integral part of the NFB's identity.

The 2014 Toronto Animation Arts Festival (TAAFI) runs June 13-16 at Corus Quay & George Brown College on the Waterfront. Ticket info can be found here.

Still from Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?

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