Retrospectives and Special Screenings

Mindgames: A Tribute to Masaaki Yuasa

Like a fusion of Tex Avery, Dali, and Soren Kierkegaard, Masaaki Yuasa’s work (Mindgame; Lu Over the Wall; Night is Short, Walk on Girl; Devilman Crybaby; Adventure Time) bursts with visual energy, rapid-fire colour patterns, sudden shifts in character design, elastic character movements. You’re never quite sure where you are in these kaleidoscopic dance dreamscapes. And that’s just fine.  

The retrospective will include Yuasa’s landmark features along with screenings of rarer short works and television episodes.

Masaaki Yuasa will be in attendance throughout OIAF 2023.

Programs and tickets ➝

Presented in partnership with:


Soul Soothing: The Films of Xi Chen

Combining a love of silent films and stop motion with a hint of animator Igor Kovalyov’s design and unique pacing (think Robert Bresson if you know that name better), Chen’s poetic and personal cut-out films (each inspired by the solar terms of the Chinese lunar calendar) explore individual stories of love, loss, and subtly tackling larger societal and cultural issues in China.

Thu, Sep 21st, 5:00 PM @ Arts Court Theatre

Fri, Sep 22nd, 5:00 PM @ Arts Court Theatre

Chicken Soup Symbiosis & Other Stories of Humanity: The Films of Justin Tomchuk

Born and raised in rural Nova Scotia, multimedia artist Justin Tomchuk has amassed a sizable, dedicated following through his YouTube channel, posting a mix of episodic long-form series and bite-sized standalone shorts. His films blend a surrealist, lo-fi sensibility with an intricate level of detail and artistry, giving vibrant, pixelated life to everything from references to famous paintings, a shape-shifting clown monster, and a rapidly expanding Seinfeld with equal gusto. Like if David Lynch started making films in MS Paint.
While his aesthetic often amplifies how deeply unsettling his films can be, they can also be laugh-out-loud funny, with a humour so irreverent it often catches you off guard. Come for the moody surrealism, stay to watch Caillou get launched out of a trebuchet while Werner Herzog narrates. Whether it’s fake fast food commercials, existential cans of soup, or The Good Doctor memes on a beach, there’s no one out there doing it like Justin Tomchuk.

Ongoing screening in the DARC Microcinema, no ticket or pass required.

Wednesday, Sept 20, 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Thursday, Sept 21, 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday, Sept 22, 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Saturday, Sept 23, 10:00 am to 2:00 am
Sunday, September 24, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm


Twenty years ago, the National Film Board of Canada’s Animation Studio producers were grappling with a problem: how to support emerging filmmakers through the pressures of making their first NFB film. Inspired by horticulture, where gardeners create optimal growing conditions to hyper-boost blooms in weeks rather than months, they designed Hothouse, a 12-week program involving mentors, technical experts, producers, and the fertile grounds of the Studio’s animation community. Over two decades, this program has nurtured 70+ alumni and transformed into a lush garden of celebrated filmmakers. This retrospective showcases a selection of its hits.

Two Hothouse films will play before each of the seven Feature Competition films.

Hothouse films
Baek-il (Hothouse 13) | Grace An | 2021 | 1:46

Screening before Nayola

The Korean legend of Ungnyeo, a bear reborn as a woman, becomes a percussive and mesmerizing riff on the themes of transformation and quarantine.

An Aqueous Solution (Hothouse 1) | Jo Meuris | 2003 | 1:58

Screening before Nayola

This short animation is bleak and apparently grim, but it is an assertive statement on self-determination and the fundamental need for both dark and light.

U.F.O. (Hothouse 11) | Rhayne Vermette | 2016 | 1:30

Screening before Müanyag Égbolt (White Plastic Sky)

In this very short animation, an apparition reveals itself through celluloid and transmits vestiges of a forgotten provenance. Have the onlookers interpreted its signs correctly or was the message misunderstood? Inspired by found sound of two people’s discovery of a mysterious event in the sky.

Piqniq Scientific (Hothouse 9) | Paloma Dawkins | 2013 | 1:30

Screening before Müanyag Égbolt (White Plastic Sky)

An adventure through the cosmic unveiling of the beautiful and strange macro/micro structures that unite us with the Universe.

Meltdown (Hothouse 8) | Carrie Mombourquette | 2012 | 1:30

Screening before Linda Veut Du Poulet ! (Chicken for Linda!)

A polar bear must try his luck finding a job in the big city when the last of his Arctic ice environment disappears. It’s hard fitting into the human world, however, so this bear finds a more creative solution to his predicament.

Square Roots (Hothouse 3) | Patrick Doyon | 2006 | 2:25

Screening before Linda Veut Du Poulet ! (Chicken for Linda!)

A robot rambles about frenetically, receiving countless electronic messages through his antenna every second. Despite his fatigue and stress, he never slows down. The only thing that might bring his frantic journey to an end is a traffic accident.

The Visitor (Hothouse 8) | David Barlow-Krelina | 2012 | 1:30

Screening before Knit’s Island

A small boy is left alone to play in a large and empty house. A dark cloud starts to seep in from behind the mail slot at the front door. As it fills the space, a monster forms. The boy runs away, but the creature is always near. The chase will not end until the boy discovers the source of his fears.

Mindfork (Hothouse 11) | Catherine Dubeau | 2016 | 1:26

Screening before Knit’s Island

Incorporating found sound of an English language lesson, this very short animation depicts a visual descent into madness triggered by the effort to keep it all together—even when it seems damn near impossible.

All the Rage (Hothouse 10) | Alexandra Lemay | 2014 | 1:30

Screening before Interdit aux chiens et aux Italiens (No Dogs or Italians Allowed)

A mink walks into a fur store. Fantastic Mr. Fox meets The Shining in this stop-motion cautionary tale of what happens when we don’t think enough about what we buy.

100 Miles (Hothouse 13) | Louis Bodart | 2021 | 1:25

Screening before Interdit aux chiens et aux Italiens (No Dogs or Italians Allowed)

Are we there yet? When the kids act up in the back seat, a family road trip gets knocked hilariously off course.

Focus (Hothouse 10) | Alex Boya | 2014 | 1:32

Screening before Unicorn Boy

A 1-minute cart ride through the mental shopping mall of attention deficit disorder.

The Fake Calendar (Hothouse 12) | Meky Ottawa | 2019 | 1:30

Screening before Unicorn Boy

A neon glimpse into a personal world within an urban landscape. From FOMO to JOMO, The Fake Calendar is an artist’s expression of how people come up with interesting and creative ways to avoid social functions in favour of their own private space.


Git Gob (Hothouse 5) | Philip Eddolls | 2009 | 1:37

Screening before Adam change lentement (When Adam Changes)

Two creatures wonder, What is a hole? They have different points of view. Their debate leads to an idea, an idea that changes the world. This is a story of practical magic.


Batmilk (Hothouse 5) | Brandon Blommaert | 2009 | 1:47

Screening before Adam change lentement (When Adam Changes)

An oafish ghoul and his soft exposed brain are met with ruin when the brain is unexpectedly killed. Though paralyzed, the ghoul attains a fresh brain and is fed with new life.

Dots, Lines, Washes: Animating Ink

This special programme of shorts is dedicated to the power of animated ink. An essential medium for early animation, ink continues to inspire independent artists long after commercial production has switched to digital tools. This collection of films showcases the remarkable versatility of ink, breathing life into crisp lines, fluid washes, and sumptuous colours. Whether they wield ballpoint pens or inked brushes, the animators featured in this programme embrace ink as an indelible and occasionally unpredictable collaborator. Their striking visuals draw inspiration from ink’s rich heritage in tattooing, calligraphy, penmanship, and illustration. Guest curator Alla Gadassik, founder of the Animate Materials Workshop, will introduce the screening with special attention to the cultural and artistic history of ink. Independent animation fans, ink enthusiasts, and scribblers will enjoy this special event.

Thu, Sep 21st, 11:00 AM @ Arts Court Theatre

Sat, Sep 23rd, 1:00 PM @ Arts Court Theatre

History, Mystery & Odyssey – Six Portland Animators

Thursday, September 21st, 1:00 PM
Arts Court Theatre

Friday, September 22nd, 5:00 PM
Club Saw

Martin Cooper’s documentary feature explores the lives and work of 6 internationally renowned, independent animators and animation directors. These multi-award-winning artists are: Jim Blashfield, Rose Bond, Joan C. Gratz, Zak Margolis, Joanna Priestley and Chel White. Their animated films span a period of over 40 years and reflect a wide range of techniques, from direct animation and classic stop-motion, through 3D models, clay-painting, computer-generated imagery to AI. History, Mystery & Odyssey is entirely filmed in Portland Oregon, where all these animators live and work.

Hilda Season Three Sneak Peek

Hilda returns, eager to escape the bustling city of Trolberg for a refresh. She embarks on a train with Mum, Frida, David and of course her bold sense of adventure. In Tofoten, Hilda is encouraged to lean into the soft living of this sleepy town by her quirky Great Aunt Astrid – walks by the river, delicious baking, local shopping. But this quiet lifestyle is quickly interrupted when Hilda gets a whiff of something mysterious nearby: a Fairy Mound! Her curiosity leads to more than just an adventure and a new creature-y friend… But to an eerie landscape where danger lurks in the shadows. The third season will uncover truths never explored before in the series! This advanced sneak preview will be followed by an in-person Q+A with Luke Pearson and Andy Coyle – Moderated by Emerald Wright-Collie.

Thu, Sep 21st, 7:00 PM @ Arts Court Theatre



Presented in partnership with:


Nelvana Presents: Jelly, a new film by Robin Budd

A special screening of the film Jelly, created and directed by the Emmy®-Award winning Robin Budd. Jelly takes audiences on a journey through a modern dilemma intertwined with a captivating fairy tale. Should the hero character, Molly, pursue the passion of expressive art, or tread a factory job painting mannequin faces? Join the film’s creator for a q & a and find out how this outstanding short film was made.

Friday, September 22, 2023 11:00 AM EDT @ Arts Court Theatre


Presented in partnership with:


ONLY YOU: An Animated Shorts Collection

What’s a story Only You can tell? Inspired by this prompt, a diverse group of artists bring their personal stories to life across a spectacular range of animated styles and genres, including horror, comedy and fantasy. The “Only You: An Animated Shorts Collection” is the result of the Max x WBD Access Animated Shorts Program, which launched in 2022 as a pipeline program to provide animators from underrepresented communities with a production budget, resources and executive mentorship to develop and execute their original animated short films.

Thursday, September 21, 2023 3:00pm @ Arts Court Theatre

Presented in partnership with: