The Ottawa International Animation Festival (founded by the Canadian Film Institute in 1976), well known for its biennial festival, is host to a range of year round activities in support of the regional, national, and international animation community.

The industrial increase in animation activity has resulted in more films being produced and an increase demand for new talent. This has initiated numerous changes in the structure of animation festivals. Owing to the animation production process, which is generally more intensive and time-consuming than live-action films, animation festivals have traditionally been biennial. But faced with increased supply and demand, the two largest festivals in Annecy (France) and Ottawa (Canada) decided to address these shifts by going annual in 1997. But rather than created a carbon copy of the Ottawa International Animation Festival, festival organizers decided to shift its target ever so slightly by offering a competition for secondary, post-secondary students, first filmmakers, and animation schools. The result was SAFO, the world's first and only international student animation festival. SAFO not only provides a showcase for your filmmakers and animation schools, but also provides emerging animators, through our professional development workshops, with the creative and industrial tools needed to survive in the animation industry. Furthermore, through our Animarket Trade Fair, SAFO has created an intimate recruitment and promotional venue for schools, studios and software companies.

The key objective of SAFO is to provide a venue where student and first time filmmakers are not overshadowed by big budget entries from more established studios and artists. These emerging artists should have an opportunity to have their work screened more often and within a more supportive environment.

Given the response to SAFO 97, which received over 600 entries from over 25 countries, its seems that SAFO is both necessary and long-overdue.

Chris Robinson
Executive Director
Ottawa International Animation Festival
International Student Animation Festival

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