Disney Animation's CG Character Animation: Past and Present
Presented by Disney Animation
Friday, September 23, 9:00 am - 10:20 am (NAC 4th Stage)

Join Disney Animation's top filmmakers for a look at the studio's CG character animation department. Featuring clips from the Disney vaults, along with footage from current and upcoming projects, the filmmakers demonstrate how animation has evolved, as the Disney legacy is passed onto a new generation of artists. Join Mark Empey, CG Supervisor, and Doug Bennett, Co-Animation Supervisor of American Dog, as they discuss Disney's past character animation development and future evolutions, with a special look at the upcoming release, Walt Disney Pictures' Chicken Little.

Doug Bennett (Disney Animation)
Mark Empey (Disney Animation)

Kids, Cartoons and Hero Culture
Saturday, September 24, 9:00 am – 10:30 am (Arts Court - Club SAW)

The superhero has been a staple of TV and cinema for decades. But there seems to be a new tone in recent films and programs geared for children that promote a different kind of heroism. A quick glance on TV and in theatres reveals a surprising number of new cartoons with (a) human characters who (b) have special and (c) secret powers that allow them to (d) kick butt and (the ultimate goal) be cool. What is more startling, and perhaps less obvious, is an overwhelming sense of individualism and isolationism that places these characters outside of a collective. Are animations like The Incredibles, Teen Titans, Totally Spies and Atomic Betty telling kids that they should value their differences and aim for the top? Or are they glamorizing a very specific kind of difference, further alienating kids who already feel like outsiders. What concept of community are these kinds of films promoting? What are the consequences of this?

Frank Gladstone (IDT Entertainment), Linda Simensky (PBS), Tom Warburton (Curious Pictures).
Moderated by Richard O'Connor (Asterisk)

Selling Your Shorts
Saturday, September 24, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm (Arts Court - Club SAW)

Thanks to affordable professional tools, more and more people are making more and more films. But the challenge remains finding an audience and - even more difficult - recouping some of your costs. A panel of animators and those in the know will examine TV, the web, private distributors and self-distribution as possible routes to exposing your film and making a profit. We will tackle some questions you have been (or should be) pondering: is there room on television for short films? How do you make money from putting your work online? What should you expect from a distribution company? How do you market yourself at film festivals? This workshop explores some of the distribution options available for short-format animated films.

Signe Baumane (Independent Filmmaker), Joseph Beyer (Sundance Film Festival), John Canemaker (John Canemaker Productions). Moderated by Tom Knott (Knottserious)

Balancing Copyright and Creativity
Saturday, September 24, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm (Arts Court - Club SAW)

Intellectual property laws exist to protect the fruits of creativity. But have existing interpretations of copyright laws become too stifling? With stricter rulings favouring large copyright-holders, are we in danger of losing the ability to innovate on top of past works in order to progress creatively? How can we protect the interests of both existing and developing art and artists? What is the practical relationship between appropriation, variation and innovation? This workshop explores the creative and legal consequences of borrowing and NOT.

Marcus Bornfreund (Creative Commons Canada), Janet Perlman (Hulascope Studio Inc.), Steven Woloshen (Independent Filmmaker). Moderated by Michael Fukushima (National Film Board).

Art Grants: Free Money?
Saturday, September 24, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm (Arts Court - Club SAW)

You have been working on your project for months/years/decades and are finally ready to make it a reality. But how do you pay for it? If you live in Canada you are likely to consider one of the many government-supported programs that offer development, production and post-production funding. But how do you take advantage of these without becoming overwhelmed with the choices and application procedures? Is this even the best way to go? Led by some of the prominent Canadian funding programs, this workshop will simplify the grant treasure map and will examine the implications of creating art with public money: can you build a career this way? What are the implications to your creative development? Are these funding programs meeting the needs of today’s filmmakers?

Bruce Alcock (Global Mechanic), Michael Fukushima (National Film Board of Canada), 
Judy Gladstone (Bravo!FACT), David Poole (Canada Council for the Arts). 
Moderated by Gail Noonan (Cartoonan Films)
Abstracting the Hyper-Real
Sunday, September 25, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm (NAC 4th Stage)

In many ways, the height of success in animation craft today lies with the photorealistic re-presentation of life, of the almost-perfected assemblage of real environments. Behind this lie the software, computer tools that make the creation of something out of nothing, in all its life-like detail, possible. But what else is possible with these new tools, which allow for ever-more variety, flexibility and control? Aside from the economic incentives, how are filmmakers in the abstract school adapting these tools to expand their palette? How are they shaping tomorrow’s technologies? There was a time when abstract filmmakers embraced and pushed the limits of new tools and techniques, leading the way with their experimentation. Is this school now caught in a traditionalism that is at odds to its very definition? A panel of animators and educators discuss the aesthetics and development of abstract filmmaking in light of the emphasis on photorealism promoted by new animation tools.

Jean Detheux (Independent Filmmaker), Chris Hinton (Independent Filmmaker), Richard O'Connor (Parsons School of Design), Karl Staven (University of the Arts). Moderated by Marco de Blois (Cinémathèque Québécois).

The Animated Characters of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Presented by Lucasfilm Animation
Sunday, September 25, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm (National Gallery)

Star Wars Animation Director Rob Coleman will give an in-depth presentation on the digital characters of Episode 3. He will focus specifically on the creation of Yoda and General Grievous, and discuss the challenges of blending computer animation with live action.

Rob Coleman (Lucasfilm Animation).
Moderated by Tom Knott (Knottserious) 
Exploring Autodesk 3ds Max & Combustion
Presented by AutoDesk
Sunday, September 25, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm (NAC 4th Stage)

Come get an up-close view of how animators make their ideas come to life using Autodesk solutions and learn the latest tips and tricks. Using Anthony Lucas' The Making of Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello as one example, we will examine how 3ds Max and Combustion are combined in animation. We will then share some of the best 3ds Max tips and tricks that artists from renowned post-production houses such as The Orphanage, Digiscope, & Digital Dimension have shared with us. Get an inside view of what methods these world-class artists use to realize their ideas while meeting ever tightening deadlines.

Louis Marcoux (Autodesk Media & Entertainment)

Creating Compelling Characters
Sunday, September 25, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm (NAC 4th Stage)

Homer Simpson, The Pink Panther, Cruella De Vil, Mr. Incredible. What is the elusive quality that makes great animated characters so memorable? Is it something in their design, personality or how they move? Or is it something less obvious, like the way they reflect our fears and fantasies? This workshop will explore a variety of successful animated characters looking for that elusive something that makes each of them, in their own way, unforgettable.

Ellen Besen (Zachary Schartz Institute), Jerry Beck (CartoonResearch.com)