Welcome the first annual Animaze Animation Film Festival

Montral has another film festival, and I am willing to bet that our city has more film festivals than any other city in the world. Welcome the first annual Animaze Animation Film Festival, celebrating animation in all of its form. In thier inaugreal year, the festival is focusing on bringing the best animated films released worldwide that never made it to a North American audience in thier International Animated Film contest.

The festival is celebrating the 30th anniversary release of one of the greatest fantasy films (animated or otherwise) of all time, Heavy Metal with famed director Gerald Potterton in attendance

Here is the press release from the festival’s founder Michael Dahan

The Animaze Festival is also about contributing to the community on a local level with a Saturday Morning Cartoon show for charity and a rare documentary about legendary Looney Tunes director Friz Freleng with a special presentation by the director Greg Ford (with all proceeds going to Sun Youth).

We are also holding an animated shorts contest for students to help get local artists some exposure/support. We feel it’s important to encourage aspiring, young talent and give them a venue to help establish a name in the industry.

When and Where

The festival will be taking place from November 18th to the 20th, 2011. The opening night shows (Friday, November 18th) will take place at Cinema du Parc with two shows that evening. Saturday and Sunday will be shown at Concordia’s Hall Building auditorium. We plan to have 6 shows on Saturday and 5 on Sunday.

Events

International Film Contest:

For our inaugural year, we have decided to parade many of the amazing features that were recently released internationally but never quite make it to the North American market. We plan on featuring seven films and to award two prizes in the contest; one for “Best in Show” as determined by a panel of judges and the other award is an “Audience Favorite” as voted by the public.

For this event, we have the following films booked:

Jez Jerzy (Poland) – the Polish version of Friz the Cat

First Squad (Japan/Russia) – action flick about Russian superteens vs Nazis and their army of the dead

Firfarum 3: Third Time Lucky (Czech Republic) – stop motion stories based on Jan Werich fairy tale

Viva the Nam (USA) – stop motion made with GI Joe dolls. Spoof on Nam movies. Took 8 years to make

Metropia (Sweden) – very unique animation style and great story

No Longer Human (Japan) – based on the second-best selling book of all time in Japan

Redline (Japan) –an insane thrill-ride action film. Twitch.com named it the best film of 2010 period!

30th Anniversary Screening of Heavy Metal with guest director Gerald Potterton:

We are proud to present one of the most acclaimed animated movies ever, Heavy Metal. It was 30 years ago when a generation of adolescent movie-goers had their minds blown by an animated fantasy film that had all the necessary elements (sex, drugs and violence) to hold our interest that wasn’t dumbed down or presented in an extremely psychedelic manner.

Legendary director Gerald Potterton will be attending the screening and will say a few words to his legion of fans before the show. A majority of the film was produced in Montreal so we are trying to get some other staff members to attend.

We’ll have VIP tickets available for this show (for around $40…the price has not been set yet) which includes a Heavy Metal movie poster, a meet & greet with Gerald Potterton where he’ll sign the poster and advance entry to the theater for preference seating.

Saturday Morning Cartoon Extravaganza for charity:

In honor of that lost time where children had to wait a full week till they got their cartoon hit, we are recreating CBS’s 1986 Saturday Morning lineup with all proceeds going to charity. For this event, we have the Berenstain Bears show, Muppet Babies, Galaxy High and the unforgettable Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

The charity of choice is Sun Youth Montreal. Their organization has always been a pillar in the Montreal community and we at the Animaze Festival felt it necessary to do what we can to support their humanitarian efforts…and what better way than to throw a fun event which the entire family can share and enjoy.

Student Animated Shorts Contest – with a twist:

Montreal has a lot of talented students but with so much competition internationally, it’s hard to make a name or get any exposer in the industry. That’s why Animaze Festival is holding an animated shorts contest exclusively for undergrads of local film schools.

We decided to change things up as not to throw your average film contest. Instead of having student vs. student with top prize going to the best film maker, we are making a school vs. school affair. Each institution will submit a 10 to 12 minute collection of shorts and each school will be graded according to all the shorts submitted. Whichever school scores the most points on its submissions will win top prize and gain bragging right for a year as “Top animation school in Montreal”. We will also be awarding prizes for the top 3 shorts entered but the emphasis will be on the collection from each school.

Freleng: Frame by Frame documentary with presentation by director Greg Ford for charity:

Animaze is proud to present a rare documentary about Warner Bros’ s legendary director Friz Freleng. This film was created for special limited edition book released in the 90s and due to a legal restrictions, it can’t be shown commercially (as per an agreement with Warner, cannot be released until 2024) . I have gotten permission to show this film for charity. The film’s director, Greg Ford, (who also made another documentary on legendary Bugs Bunny director Chuck Jones and few Looney Tunes shorts) will make an appearance at the festival. He will talk about his documentary and share his memories/stories of working at Warner Brothers with the godfathers of modern animation like Friz Ferling, Chuck Jones, Virgil Ross, and Bob Clampett.

Other Events and Shows:

Charity Raffle

To increase our efforts in raising funds for Sun Youth Montreal, are having a raffle in which we’ve collected some interesting prizes from some of our sponsors. Pee Wee Herman Inc sent two DVD boxsets of their complete series (including the X-mas Special and his show on the Roxy), I have several Berenstain Bears books sign by creator Mike Berestain, Heavy Metal Posters signed by director Gerald Potter with more items on the way!

Screening of Free Jimmy (Norway) and One Night in One City (Czech Repbulic):

Both of these titles are older films but are absolute classics. Unfortunately, the majority of the public have never heard of these films which gives us the honor of presenting it to a virgin public.

Free Jimmy is the film that gave founder Michael Dahan the idea to start the festival. As he watched the film for the first time a couple of years ago he thought “How is this film not an international hit or a cult classic?”…”How is this not even known within the animation community?”. That’s when it hit him that the only animated films released in North America are family films. There’s a dozen of animated films release every year that can hold their own against Oscar nominated drama, comedy or action films and we at Animaze feel that we have to bring these films to the general public.

 



By Ricky

Ricky D is the editor-in-chief of Sound on Sight and one of the hosts of the Sound On Sight podcast and the Sordid Cinema podcast. He is Sound On Sight's expert on Horror and contributes written reviews when time permits.

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