HISTORY OF THE OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL
ANIMATION FESTIVAL (OIAF)
In 1976 the Canadian Film Institute hosted the first animation festival
in Ottawa (originally called "the Canadian International Animation
Festival"). The Festival was held biennially until 1982, when it left
the CFI and Ottawa. The 1984 edition was held in Toronto and the 1986 edition
in Hamilton. In 1988, the Festival returned to the CFI and to Ottawa and
has since developed into the largest and most prestigious of its kind in
North America, and internationally, is second only to France's Annecy International
Animation Film Festival.
Over the past 20 years, the OIAF has presented hundreds of the best animated
films from around the world, including most of the Academy Award winners
(eg. THE WRONG TROUSERS, BOB'S BIRTHDAY, EVERY CHILD, THE FLY), and has
routinely attracted every major and minor player in the animation community.
In 1997, the OIAF founded and hosted, in conjunction with the Canadian
Film Institute, the world's first ever, International Student Festival
of Ottawa (SAFO).
MANDATE OF THE OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL
The aims of the OIAF are twofold. The Festival was initially developed,
in accordance with the rules of the International Animated Film Association
(ASIFA), to promote "the art of animation". And while this remains
the main priority, the OIAF has also changed to accomodate the dramatic
growth that has taken place in animation over the last decade. The animation
community is increasingly industry driven and it is essential that, as
a mirror of the animation community, the festival reflect these needs.
As such, unlike any other animation festival, the OIAF consciously strives
to maintain a balance between art and industry offering Professional
Development and Training workshops, an Animarket Trade Fair, and a Commissioned
Films Competition. At the same time the festival highlights the work of
little known independent animators, studios, and countries in the Official
Competition and retrospective programmmes, accompanied by detailed essays
written by some of animation's leading academics and historians. In addition,
the OIAF offers creative workshops, exhibitions, and a number of social
events (eg. Picnic and Chez-Ani) aimed at maintaining the personable atmosphere
that has made Ottawa so popular for both animators and industry representatives.