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PR: Design Innovators Take the Stage at Ottawa International Animation Festival

by on September 17, 2007


OTTAWA, ONTARIO (September 12, 2007) – The Ottawa International Animation Festival will be showcasing design legends this year with a number of special retrospectives. The showpiece of this year’s Festival is an extensive four-part presentation on the legendary animation studio UPA. This program will be complimented by a look at Oscar winning animator Dušan Vukotic who, like UPA, broke from the Disney style. A tribute to the New Yorker Magazine illustrator Saul Steinberg and the animation he influenced will also be presented, as will a program on present-day innovators Head Gear Animation.

Gerald McBoing Boing, Mr Magoo and Dick Tracy are the best-known works from UPA, but they represent only a small sample of what this hugely influential Hollywood studio produced. This special four-part retrospective, curated by Tee Bosustow – son of UPA Founder, Stephen Bosustow – will examine the legacy of the studio that shook the foundation of animation in the 1950s. UPA’s films were nominated for twelve Academy Awards (winning three), and their influence can be seen everywhere, from television advertising to the Zagreb Studio in Yugoslavia. “The UPA story is not just about contemporary design, but innovative animation, adult stories, human characters, modern music, and social consciousness,” notes Bosustow. “As many people have said, UPA didn’t have a house style; they chose a unique style to fit each project. The four UPA programs at Ottawa will help viewers explore every aspect.”

New York animator George Griffin has put together a program that pays tribute to Saul Steinberg. Best known for his “View of the World from 9th Avenue,” Steinberg reduced design to its essentials. He freely melded the naive with the modern, and more than any other 20th century artist obliterated the wall between media and art. Films from animators such as Stefan Schabenbeck, Candy Kugel, Mo Williams and Disney’s Ward Kimbell will be featured.

The modern style of UPA Studios inspired Dušan Vukotic to use satire and parody in conjunction with unusual visuals that approach abstraction. The OIAF retrospective will trace his career that started in Zagreb in the early 50’s through to his Oscar win for Surrogate in 1961. “Dušan Vukotic was a principal figure in the animation history. He not only helped establish the animation division of Zagreb Film but also inspired artists to pursue a modern expressive approach to animated filmmaking that was in marked opposition to the dominant Disney realism of the time.” says Chris Robinson, Artistic Director of the OIAF.

Head Gear Animation has produced some of the most dynamic commercial work in Canada over the last ten years. They’ve won over fifty top awards around the world and continually push the boundaries of visual communication. Head Gear works in cel, stop-motion, clay animation, traditional and digital 2D, live action, mixed media and CG. Ottawa International Animation Festival is pleased to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of Canada’s Head Gear Animation studio with a special retrospective of their work.

OIAF 07 will be held September 19 – 23, 2007 in Ottawa. Events at the OIAF include screenings, panels, workshops parties and the Television Animation Conference. The OIAF is a leading competitive animation film festival, featuring cutting edge programming, catering to industry executives, trend setting artists, students and animation fans. For more information about the OIAF and this year’s programming, please visit www.animationfestival.ca.


Schedule of design programs:

Thursday, September 20th
UPA 1: The Trailblazers 11am (Bytowne Cinema)
UPA 2: The Directors 3pm (National Gallery)
Head Gear Retrospective: 3pm (Empire Theatre at Rideau Centre)

Friday, September 21st
UPA 3: The Designers 10am (Bytowne Cinema)
UPA 4: The Legacy 7pm (Empire Theatre)
Saul Steinberg and Animation: 7pm (National Gallery)

Saturday, September 22nd
Head Gear Retrospective: 11am (Empire Theatre at Rideau Centre)
UPA 3: The Designers 11am (National Gallery)
Dušan Vukotic Retrospective: 1pm (Empire Theatre in the Rideau Centre)
UPA 1: The Trailblazers 7pm (National Arts Centre)
Saul Steinberg and Animation: 9pm (National Gallery)

Sunday, September 23
Dušan Vukotic Retrospective: 11am (Empire Theatre in the Rideau Centre)
UPA 2: The Directors 11am (National Arts Centre)
UPA 4: The Legacy 3pm (National Gallery)

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