#FIRSTLOOK: 2021 TORONTO ANIMATION FILM FESTIVAL PREVIEW
The 2021 Toronto Animation Film Festival runs online from March 24 to 27, 2021 and included this year in their lineup are Academy Award-nominated WOLFWALKERS, Germán Acuña’s Nahuel and the Magic Book, Ujicha’s Violence Voyager, and including a special screening of Sony Pictures’ classic hit Heavy Metal, followed by a Q&A with director Gerald Potterton. The Festival is comprised of more than 100 Short Films and Features.
Complete list of Programming:
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS | FEATURE FILMS
WOLFWALKERS | 90 MINUTES
Wolfwalkers opens during Oliver Cromwell’s brutal colonization of Ireland, in the county of Kilkenny, which has fallen to English settlers after a bloody siege. On Cromwell’s orders, a young apprentice hunter, Robyn Goodfellowe (voiced by Honor Kneafsey), and her father, Bill (Game of Thrones’ Sean Bean), are sent from England to track and kill the last of the wolves that live in woods outside the city walls. Adventurous and rebellious, Robyn sneaks into the woods and discovers a world unlike any she’s ever known. There she meets Mebh (Eva Whittaker), a wild girl who was raised by wolves, and through her unique new friend begins to realize it’s not the forest that should be feared, but the “townies.” But, as she grows closer to the forest world, her relationship with her father is put to the test, as Robyn herself becomes one of the very things he is ordered to obliterate.
The final instalment in directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart’s “Irish folklore trilogy” is a stunning testament to their singular animation style and storytelling skills. With visual references to pre-Celtic imagery and Studio Ghibli alike — and some catchy songs — Wolfwalkers is an instant classic for all ages.
NAHUEL AND THE MAGIC BOOK | 99 MINUTES
Live Q&A with director Germán Acuña
Nahuel lives with his father in a fishing town, yet he has a deep fear of the sea. One day, he finds a magical book that seems to be the solution to this problem, but a dark wizard is after it and captures Nahuel’s father. This is where his fantastic adventure begins: to rescue his father while overcoming his deepest fears.
VIOLENCE VOYAGER | 84 MINUTES
An American boy named Bobby and his friend Akkun set out for the mountains to build a secret hideout. On their way, they stumble upon a mysterious amusement park called Violence Voyager. It doesn’t take long for things to get weird as the boys discover a group of scared children who can’t seem to escape and soon find themselves under attack by robot-like humanoids. For his three years in the making follow-up to THE BURNING BUDDHA MAN (2013) director Ujicha again employs a blend of animation and manga called “geki-mation,” creating grotesque body horror nightmare imagery from painstakingly detailed, hand-painted paper cut-outs. Chock-full of B-horror, sci-fi and kaiju film references, this blood-soaked late-night flick is not for the kiddies.
HEAVY METAL | 86 MINUTES
Based on the sexy science fiction cult comic, “Heavy Metal” combines extraordinarily stunning visuals, new wave music and a series of mind-bending stories in a unique motion picture experience. The anchor of the film is an eerie green ball that magically transports us into a series of adventures in the past, future, and into the world beyond. Included are stories of the space super heroine, Taarna; the hardboiled exploits of Harry Canyon, cab driver of the future; and the adventures of “Den:’ who the green ball changes from an introverted teen into a macho hero. This groundbreaking animation extravaganza also use the voices of John Candy, Harold Ramis, Eugene Levy and Joe Flaherty, as well as writers, directors, and artists from around the world.
THE CROODS: THE NEW AGE | 95 MINUTES
The Croods have survived their fair share of dangers and disasters, from fanged prehistoric beasts to surviving the end of the world, but now they will face their biggest challenge of all: another family.
The Croods need a new place to live. So, the first prehistoric family sets off into the world in search of a safer place to call home. When they discover an idyllic walled-in paradise that meets all their needs, they think their problems are solved … except for one thing. Another family already lives there: the Bettermans.
The Bettermans (emphasis on the “better”)—with their elaborate tree house, amazing inventions and irrigated acres of fresh produce—are a couple of steps above the Croods on the evolutionary ladder. When they take the Croods in as the world’s first houseguests, it isn’t long before tensions escalate between the cave family and the modern family.
Just when all seems lost, a new threat will propel both families on an epic adventure outside the safety of the wall, one that will force them to embrace their differences, draw strength from each other and forge a future together.
MYSTERIES OF LIFE | SHORTS
MY TAGALONG | Canada
ROBERTO | Spain
A LITTLE TOO MUCH | United States
HER VOICELESS SONG | Japan
ROUTES | Argentina
THE WHEAT KEEPER | China
UMBRELLAS | France
DARK CLOUDS & RED ROSES | China
OUTGROW | United States
HOSPLAND | China
HULLABOO | ROUGH CUT
Including a Q&A with director James Lopez
In this behind-the-scenes look, Hullabaloo director James Lopez and Jake Akuna, VFX Supervisor, will show some select rough sequences from the animated project followed by a Q&A discussing their process and the challenges with producing crowdfunded films.
DARKEST OF DAWNS | SHORTS
MANTIS LOVE | France
TOO LATE | Canada
MEMORIES FOR SALE | Costa Rica
NEUROSI5: MOMENTO | Brazil
WEIGHT OF CONSCIOUSNESS | United Kingdom
EN CONTINU | France
MY PET CAT, DEPRESSION | United States
MUM’S SWEATER | France
WINTER MEMORIE | Iran
POLKA-DOT BOY | France
IN RED | China
UNIVERSALLY REMOTE | SHORTS
CORONUS | Turkey
THE ROPE | Japan
DAYS LIKE THESE | Canada
PEBBLES | United States
COFFIN | France
THANKS, GOODBYE | Netherlands
A STEP INTO MY WALLPAPER
REAL HUMAN BEING | United States
COXSWAIN’S CHICKEN KITCHEN | United States
A COUPLE ON THE ROOFTOP, THE CELLULAR ANTENNA
AND THE METAL BIRDS | Israel
LIGHT COLLECTOR | China
SIGNS | Switzerland
FRAMED MEMORIES | Malaysia
QUARANTINE CHORUS | United Kingdom
KIDS CARTOONS | SHORTS
DINNER IS SAVED | United States
WILD | France
THE LITTLE HEDGEHOG | United States
OLLIE | Belgium
RHINO | United Kingdom
HEDERA | United Kingdom
PREPAWSTEROUS | United States
REACH | United Kingdom
TEST FLIGHT | Canada
SPELLBOUND | United Kingdom
THE STARKEEPER | United Kingdom
STUDENT SHORTS | SHORTS
EVERYTHING PIZZA | United States
THE BOX ASSASSIN | United States
THE HOTLINE | Canada
BEHIND THE SCENES | United Kingdom
WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE | Canada
SUNSHOWER | Hungary
7 WAYS TO UPGRADE YOUR BRAIN | Belgium
BREAKER POINT | Canada
SHI YANG | France
THE ALIEN NIGHTMARE | France
LA BESTIA | France
SCATTERSHOT | Canada
MIME YOUR MANNERS | United States
THE PORTRAIT OF A BORING MAN | Russian Federation
THE TRAIN RIDE HOME | United States
MY LIL’ BUD (FLOWER) | Poland
THE ODDBALL COLLECTION | SHORTS
#happy | Taiwan
SPEED | United Kingdom
7B | United Kingdom
THE MYSTERY OF LEONARDO | Belgium
INCOGNITO | Hungary
WASTE AWAY | United States
CMBR | Martina Testen
SEXY SUSHI | Singapore
RISE UP | Netherlands
WALKS ALONE | Israel
THE ORGANIZED LIFE | United States
MAD IN XPAIN | Spain
BLANKET | Germany
CARTOON PARTY | SHORTS
THE SNOW BALL | Canada
DRIED OL’ BONES | USA
MERCURY CORP | Spain
BORING | France
LEAVE ME BE! | United States
SPACE APERO | France
MR RURU’S ADVENTURE | China
SHELLSHOCKED | Canada
SWOON | Canada
REEL LIFE | France
HAUNTED | Italy
DEADLY CATWALK | France
WIRE | USA
WHAT THE HECK SHOULD I WRITE ABOUT? | Romania
MOUNTAIN MOVE | Canada
More on the Festival here, including how to get passes.
#FIRSTLOOK: TAAFI VIRTUAL BEHIND-THE-SCENES PANEL WITH THE WRITER/DIRECTOR OF “THE WILLOUGHBYS”, KRIS PEARN
Fans of the acclaimed Animated Feature THE WILLOUGHBYS are in for a real treat! The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International present a Behind-the-Scenes Panel with the Film’s Writer/Director and Sheridan College graduate, Kris Pearn.
The Willoughbys is available now for streaming only on Netflix. Convinced they’d be better off raising themselves, the Willoughby children hatch a sneaky plan to send their selfish parents on vacation. The siblings then embark on their own high-flying adventure to find the true meaning of family. Starring Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara, Terry Crews, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski and Ricky Gervais.
Others to speak at the Panel include:
Rob Lodermeir – Co-Director
Sebastian Brodin – Director of Cinematography (TBC)
Fiona Toth – Lead Editor
Kyle McQueen – Production Designer
Helén Ahlberg – Head of FX
Aniket Natekar – Animation Lead
Mark Stanleigh – Co-writer and Storyboard Artist
The Panel takes place virtually Thursday, August 6th at 7:00 PM. Click here to register for a spot.
(Photo credit: Netflix)
#TAAFI: THE 2016 TORONTO ANIMATION ARTS FESTIVAL KICKS-OFF THIS WEEKEND!
By Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) kicks off today with a slew of incredible workshops, talks and new Animated Movies to be screened. The Festival starts Friday, April 22, 2016 and goes until Monday April 25, 2016. With a diverse and incredible line up of talks, workshops and film premieres there is plenty of things to do and excite oneself with at TAAFI this year.
Starting right off on Friday morning is a workshop with the cartoonist from the Hanna-Barbera era which would be an incredibly-fun workshop as Hanna-Barbera created most of the cartoons embraced by a generation of kids in the ’70s and ’80s. These series including the likes of The Flinstones, Jetsons, Tom and Jerry and so forth now are viewed widely as classics by generations to follow. Later on in the day there is another workshop with Michael Rianda titled the Big Dipper workshop as he talks for 3 hours about how to get your story off the ground and seen by the world. He has worked on such shows as Gravity Falls and works with Sony Animation, so animators this would be a great workshop to attend. Wrapping-up the opening day there’s a screening of Spark directed by Aaron Woodley and voiced by Jessica Biel, Susan Sarandon, Hilary Swank and Patrick Stewart. Following the Film there is a Q&A and opening ceremonies.
On Saturday there is the TAAFI Animation Arts Maarket all day but there are several talks and workshops that are also incredibly interesting. The Hanna-Barbera era, Confessions of an Animaniac, The Inside-Outs of Pixar Animating all sound exquisite and discussions about the world of animation while the workshops of SHED/SideFX: Outside behind the scenes, Pipeline Studios: Vision Talent & Skill, as well as Super Science Friends from Kickstarter to YouTube all are engaging workshops about how to get a project off the ground and into cinema or online, and having them. To end Friday night there are two screenings of Nova and Possessed and an event called Nelvana Bouncing Ball, all of which provide are sure to provide a night of incredible fun.
Moving towards Sunday, the Maarket continues to run all day while there are Shorts, Talks, and Workshops to fulfill the rest of the day. There is a selection of student Shorts later on in the day on Sunday which to me always seems the most interesting because it showcases the work of the students who are just mastering their craft and gives us a glimpse at the potential future of Animated Films. As well, there are panels and talks subjected around Eric Goldberg, animator at Disney on projects like Aladdin on animating Genie, and co-director of Pocahontas. Also a talk with Laika + Kubo The Two Strings: Behind the Scenes which would be an incredibly engaging conversation as Laika changed the animation world in a way we have not seen in years in the mainstream when they first hit the scene.
Lastly, to wrap up on Monday there are three back-to-back workshops that encompass talent from Eric Goldberg as he talks about the classical animation craft, Richard Arroyo: Plusing story through animation talking about the creative process and best ways to tackle a project, and lastly but certainly not least Samantha Youssef: Movement and Form discussing how to draw and make it look natural.
With all of the great talks, workshops, panels, and screenings TAAFI is certainly the place to be this weekend as everything happens in rather one convenient location of George Brown College Waterfront campus.
More info on TAAFI here.