Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Friday, February 10, 2006

11:24:23 pm , 355 words, 1642 views     Categories: Animation

Best of Ottawa

In what to me is one of the biggest pieces of news in quite a long time, Mitsuo Iso has come out of hiding. He posted a note on his home page saying that he will soon be announcing details about the project he has been working on over the last several years.

Yasuhiro Aoki seems to have done some uncredited animation near the ending of Kamichu, but I haven't been able to figure out in what episode. It's not in 11 or 12. The entire staff was so stunned by the work that he turned in that it went in completely unmodified, so supposedly it practically looks like a different show. I guess he must have handled the processing too. I'm curious how he got involved. It's the first time I see him doing anything outside of 4°C in years. Having rewatched all of his work in Arusu too many times already, I'm yearning to see some more drama from this new master.

Yesterday I saw the Best of Ottawa selection, and it was excellent, much better than I remembered last year's being. The balance was perfect and each film was totally satisfying, with perhaps only one exception, which is saying a lot. Robert Seidel's _grau was my favorite film and also the one that moved me the most, which speaks to the power that pure abstract animation can have when handled as brilliantly as it was here. He creates a world made up of complex and constantly morphing shapes that all seem somehow vaguely familar, and seem to behave according to some mysterious hidden internal logic that you can never quite put your finger on. The effect creates an irresistible fascination as your mind struggles to assign meaning to what you're seeing. You're really following every move of those shapes on the screen with fascination, which is a hell of an acheivement. Beautiful, brilliant work. Just the kind of innovative use of digital technology to create new forms of animation that I like to see. Apart from that, curiously, all of my favorite films in the selection this year were either German or British.



Manuloz [Visitor]

Maybe it’s in episode 10, look at those screenshot at the end of the episode, the style changed a little bit :

02/11/06 @ 01:00
Q Elliott
Q Elliott [Visitor]

I’ve seen previews of Grau, but sadly the Ottawa selection is not playing anywhere near me here in Texas. Reading the page linked is intriguing as well. I was immediately reminded of memories when I saw the clip, and the car crash metaphor works on many levels. I was struck by the memory of my first glimpse of Mahou Shoujo Tai. The stylistic approach was something I’ve found sorely lacking in all the “flat” style animation that permeates stateside animation. I could go on but I’m sure other people have said it more succinctly. Any idea where I might catch the Ottawa selection? Is this available via netflix at some point? Great site btw, thanks for your thoughts!

02/11/06 @ 01:23
Neilworms [Visitor]

Grau was good stuff, the CG was innovative (and I’m not normally a fan of CG) and the film was surprisngly powerful. Some people in the forum will argue that story is not necessary in film, and this is definetly a good example of such a thing (though its narrative is still there and quite abstract).

I saw the film without reading his description to decode it, and thought it was pure raw emotion.

02/11/06 @ 06:24
Ben [Visitor]

Manuloz> Bingo! Thanks.

Q Elliott> I saw it here in Vancouver, at a small cinematheque. The Best of Ottawa seems to tour certain cities each year, though I’m not surprised it doesn’t make its way down to Texas. I don’t know how you’d see the selection if you don’t happen to be in one of the cities where it plays. I don’t think it comes out on DVD. It’s possible you can find several of the shorts online, or in other places, but I’m not sure. It was nice to be able to see them up on the big screen. Grau really benefited from that.

Neilworms> Well put.

02/11/06 @ 17:49
Andre Coutu
Andre Coutu [Visitor]

Hello all,

Long time reader, first time poster. Q Elliott, we’ve just arranged a screening at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. It takes place June 30 - July 2. I hope this is close enough to you.

Andre Coutu
Technical Director
Ottawa International Animation Festival

02/19/06 @ 07:16
Ben [Visitor]

Thank you ever so much for that, Andre.

02/20/06 @ 22:13
Rob [Visitor]

Be sure to catch the big Quicktime which
will be back soon … the high quality
projection of it is even better, but was
just shown one time world-wide …

Thanks for you nice comments!

03/03/06 @ 06:29