NW Animation Fest 2015

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Monday through Sunday, May 4-10

See more than 200 amazing films at the USA’s largest animation festival! NW Animation Fest showcases visionary worlds of fantasy, unforgettable stories, and outlandish oddities from around the globe. Experience the complete week-long extravaganza with an All-Festival Pass.

Highlights include the best international shorts of 2015, award-winning feature films, eight special topic screenings, the second annual Oregon Animation Industry Showcase, live animator interviews, after-parties, and more. With a total value of $137, a festival pass saves nearly 50% on tickets.

Please note that the pass does not guarantee admission if we sell out before you arrive. All shows are general admission, so come a little early and get yourself a good seat.



Monday, May 4 | 7:00pm

Our indie animation scene is super-charged with creative energy in Oregon and Washington. Maybe it’s the rain inspiring us to sit down and make art? Or maybe animators are just doing our quirky civic duty to help “Keep Portland Weird.” Dig into the mystery with this diverse collection of shorts from across the Northwest.

Here’s some of what you’ll see: Oscar®-winner Joan Gratz masterfully mutates soft sculptures of the human form in a dazzling dance of bas-relief abstraction. The Seattle Experimental Art Team tells the story of a close encounter between a trapped whale and the diver who set it free, using a ladder and living wall mural as props. A young woman quests through a land governed by dream-logic, shedding the cloud of strange preoccupations that follows her, looking for an inner peace that sings with the soul of a coursing river. In a series of hilarious, micro-short interstitials, a kilt-wearing steampunk inventor turns out to be his own worst enemy in the workshop. A rock giant desperately tries to save a tiny castle city from destruction… Or not.


Monday, May 4 | 9:00pm

Discover Oregon’s rich heritage of brilliant animators, from the golden age of Hollywood to today’s living masters.

Dennis Nyback of the Oregon Cartoon Institute will dig into his archive of rare 16mm and 32mm celluloid treasures for this journey into our cinematic past. In the introduction he’ll provide historical context and an overview of key figures. After the films, Dennis will answer questions from the audience. The anthology includes short films by innovators such as Carl Barks, Pinto Colvig, Joanna Priestley, Joan Gratz, Bill Plympton, Rose Bond, Matt Groening and others.


Tuesday, May 5 | 7:00pm

The annual SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival is one of the world’s most important showcases for innovative and visually stunning digital animation. Films that win honors here are qualified to compete for an Academy Award, and several in recent memory have been nominated for or received an Oscar for “Best Animated Short.” Films chosen for this special “best of” show include narrative shorts, time-based art, visual effects, scientific visualization, and real-time graphics.

Presented by Cascade ACM SIGGRAPH as part of this year’s NW Animation Fest.


Tuesday, May 5 | 9:00pm

The Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (POWFest) places a spotlight on women directors by showcasing their work and strengthening the community of women in film. This encore presentation of animation from the festival’s 8th year honors accomplished directors as well as dynamic young & up-and-coming directors, some from Portland’s burgeoning film industry.

Presented by POWFest as part of this year’s Northwest Animation Festival.


Wednesday, May 6 | 7:00pm

Throw out the rules of traditional filmmaking! Inspired animation architects build hovering fourth-dimensional forms. Morphing imaginations teeter between the psychedelic and psychotic. Spiritual insights beyond the grasp of words coalesce into truly original aesthetic experience. Dizzying but never dull — do you dare touch the exploding mind?

Here’s some of what you’ll see: Techno-tribal disco-Aztec bio-machines metamorphose from space eggs into revolving constructions. A micro-documentary uses comical talking T-shirts to illuminate the peculiar life of proto-Surrealist Alfred Jarry. A horse is a costume is a robbery is a spectator sport and 1 2 3 4 5. Juxtaposing freak-out aesthetics with historical journal entries, a mixed-race boxing match reveals the deep psychology of a racist preacher’s nightmares. Wild and beautiful dancing doodles caper in musical delight.


Wednesday, May 6 | 9:00pm

See every single Oscar winning animation from Canada!

The National Film Board of Canada has received more Academy Award nominations than any other organization outside Hollywood. To celebrate the NFB’s 75th birthday, NW Animation Fest has arranged for a special screening of every film from the Great White North that has ever won Best Animated Short Film.

Launching off from animation legend Norman McLaren’s early work with the fledgling NFB, we time travel from the powerful anti-war statement, “Neighbors,” in 1952 to Torill Kove’s ever-charming “The Danish Poet” in 2006. Along the way, we see not only the technological evolution of this illusionist’s art form, but also surprising snapshots of shifting cinematic culture and the society which it reflects.


Thursday, May 7 | 7-10pm

Get a tour of the amazing commercial animation work being done in Oregon: advertisements, music videos, product demos, video games, and visual effects.

The evening kicks off with a showcase of video clips from our world-class local studios and freelancers. You’ll be surprised to learn which brands take life in Portland, and by some of the curious uses of animation in the world of business.

Against this backdrop, Shelley Midthun from the Portland Development Commission will then interview a panel of Portland’s luminaries about art and innovation in professional animation production. Speakers include Shilpa Sunthankar from Fashionbuddha, Roland Gauthier from Hinge Digital, Anna Kvorning from LAIKA, and Will Lewis from the Portland Indie Game Squad.

The evening concludes with a very special hour-long presentation, “Bent Image Lab presents: Animating Portlandia, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Improv in Stop Motion.” Rob Shaw, animation director for the hilarious Portlandia rat gang skits, will give insight into this unusual collaboration, show videos, and answer audience questions. Animation puppets from Bent will be on display in the lobby—don’t miss your chance to see these tiny celebrities in person!


Friday, May 8 | 7-11pm

Friday night kicks off our three-night extravaganza of amazing international shorts. Selected from a record-breaking pool of 1400 submissions, it’s a variety show of different styles and methods that has something profound or peculiar to delight just about everyone.

Here’s some of what you’ll see: The surrealist paintings of Giorgio de Chirico burst to life as a zesty and romantic parkour practitioner hunts for his lost lover in a floating city. An alien shaman on another planet performs a metaphysical ritual to quickly transport himself away from a colossal, deadly sand storm. In the depth of night, time freezes and a wild Brazilian Carnival of joyous demon spirits break free to dance and play in the streets. A young pig’s new friendship becomes the vital pivot point between kindness and a world of ashes in the evening’s featured short, 2014 Oscar-nominee “The Dam Keeper.”

(Includes 32 films. Two intermissions. Some mature themes.)


Friday, May 8 | 11:15pm

Have a drink, then try making animation yourself. Attendees are provided with sharpie markers and lightboxes. Make twelve drawings, then pass them on to the next person. At the end of the night, all of the drawings are assembled… And we’ll have made a hilarious, chaotic short film together. Hosted by ASIFA-Portland, a chapter of the International Animation Society.

VENUE: Mazza’s | 3728 NE Sandy Blvd | FREE EVENT!

Saturday, May 9 | 10-1pm

Inspired by shadow play and invented in the early 20th century, this form of animation is a rare craft in our digitally forward 21st century. Students will use cutout techniques with paper, plastic and other recycled materials to create multi-layered animations. Instructor: Ryan Woodring

Pre-registration required. Not included in festival pass. Enrollment Deadline: May 8


Saturday, May 9 | 1:30pm

Savvy adult enthusiasts and kids discovering indie animation for the first time will both enjoy our popular Family Friendly selection of shorts. Who hasn’t dreamed of plucking a star from the fabric of the night sky, or striking up a friendship with some misty, mythical beast? Imagination, humor, and the spirit of play define this fun collection of new—yet instantly classic—animations.

Here’s some of what you’ll see: When a steampunk pixie’s airship fails, an inventive young human uses her own passion for flying machines to help put him back in the sky. A zebra accidentally breaks its own stripes, and struggles to put them back in their proper place. A group of children discover a mysterious bone that may belong to a previously undiscovered species. A colossal elephant, yearning for a bicycle of its own, works hard to save enough money by sweeping the city streets and cutting back on bananas. While working on a new film, an animator’s upstart drawing takes over the project and starts causing all kinds of mischief.


Saturday, May 9 | 3:30pm

A little girl who can turn into a seal goes on an adventure with her brother to save the spirit world and other magical beings like her.

When Saoirse and Ben’s mother mysteriously disappears into the ocean, the two children go on an epic journey to find out the truth about her, and in the process, discover mystical secrets about both their mother and Saoirse herself. The film takes inspiration from the mythological Selkies of Irish folklore, who live as seals in the sea but become humans on land. Directed by Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells), Song of the Sea received a 2014 Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film.

“One of the most blissfully beautiful animated films ever made. […] The product of a miraculously unique brand of animated alchemy, Tomm Moore’s follow-up to the Academy Award®-nominated The Secret of Kells is an even more stunning work of art. Resembling rustic watercolor paintings enhanced with movement, there is an artisanal quality to every frame. Song of the Sea should remind everyone why animation, when done as flawlessly as it is here, is such an incredible medium. Color, form and fluid motion delivered in an unforgettable style that’s at the service of a similarly compelling story. With only two animated features under his belt, it’s clear that a few years from now — sooner rather than later — we will be talking about Tomm Moore with the same reverence and adoration as we do now about Miyazaki. Here is a new master animator on his way to becoming legendary in his own right.” — Carlos Aguilar, Indiewire



Saturday, May 9 | 7-11pm

The three-night extravaganza of this year’s most astonishing animated shorts continues on Saturday. Selected from a record-breaking pool of 1400 submissions, each night’s anthology of films stands alone, with a different line-up of cinematic gems from around the world.

Here’s some of what you’ll see on Saturday night: In a modern city whose citizens are all legendary figures from Greek myth, Medusa ventures into the realm of dating and a kindly cyclops helps a young minotaur find his way home. During the great Pacific War, a native of the Papua coasts creates a new ritual to win the benevolent protection of a powerful, American-built airplane god. A gentle-natured woolly mammoth who was frozen in time struggles to reintegrate into the world of modern elephants. Two cosmonauts, inseparable best friends from childhood, train to make their shared dream a reality—a dream that refuses to die, even when all seems lost.

(Includes 33 films. Two intermissions. Some mature themes.)


Saturday, May 9 | 11:15pm

Journey into the world of games animation with the Portland Indie Game Squad! Watch or play through the unique animation styles of several popular independently-made games. Games being played will include the intense multiplayer action of MIMIC and Zero Zen, as well as the meditative, emotional explorations of SURREALISTa and Mountain.

VENUE: Mazza’s | 3728 NE Sandy Blvd | FREE EVENT!

Sunday, May 10 | 12noon

Arrive early on Sunday for a live interview with some of the filmmakers in this year’s festival. “What keeps you inspired as an artist? What unusual tricks went into making your film? What advice do you have for aspiring animators?” …Bring questions of your own for an open Q&A at the end.

FREE EVENT – with free doughnuts provided by Voodoo Doughnut!

Sunday, May 10 | 1:30pm

A wild romp through the wilds of psyche and sexuality! This uninhibited collection of shorts plunges into the themes of lust, obsession, and deviant desires. Through an animator’s eyes, realize both the beauty of the human body—and twist your brain around the bizarrely bawdy.

Here’s some of what you’ll see: A French matron who’s worked as a courthouse archivist for 30 years embraces her aging body by becoming an artist’s model. After a tragic accident takes the life of racetrack jockey, the horse moves in, taking her place. A meteorite falls from the night sky, unleashing an alien epidemic of seething white fluid. A young woman touches herself, and from her pubic hair a ravenous wolf-beast is born. Cupid’s arrow unwittingly unleashes the curse of overpopulation; can the damage be undone?


Sunday, May 10 | 3:30pm

Tango music, passion, and an erupting volcano!

Sbornia is a tiny country with eccentric customs: a national game that’s like rugby played with battle axes, raucous dance halls, and drinking a powerful green beverage called bizuwin. The people of Sbornia have been separated from the rest of the world for years by a great stone wall. When the wall collapses, cultures collide and the lives of two frolicky musicians change forever.

One falls madly, deliriously in love with a city girl, whom he secretly courts under the noses of her possessive parents, disguised as her piano teacher. The other struggles to save his marriage as his wife is quickly seduced by the ways of the modern world. Meanwhile, a greedy corporate tycoon schemes to make a fortune by pumping all the bizuwin out from underneath Sbornia. The film builds to an astonishing climax, with a volcano exploding, lava chasing townsfolk through the streets, and the country breaking away from the mainland, floating off into the ocean.

Hailing from Brazil, Until Sbornia Do Us Part (Até que a Sbørnia nos separe) is based on the stage play Tangos & Tragedies by Nico Gomez and Hique Nicolaiewsky, which has toured playhouses worldwide for the past 25 years. (Portuguese with English subtitles.)



Sunday, May 10 | 7-11pm

This year’s NW Animation Fest concludes with a cabaret of cartoons, digital delights and show-stopping stop-motion. Selected from a record-breaking pool of 1400 submissions, you can trust that we’ve saved a few of our most favorite films for the big finale.

Here’s some of what you’ll see Sunday night: Animation legend Bill Plympton illustrates the delirious quest of a man relentlessly tracking the footprints of a mysterious, destructive monster. A gentle giant, who only wants to care for his plants, endures a life of pro-wrestling mayhem to satisfy the ambitions of an overbearing manager—his mom. A mischievous monkey evades the relentless pursuit of a saber-toothed tiger across a time-jumbled landscape of dinosaurs and geologic upheaval, only to meet an ironic fate; one that apparently runs in the family, as his foolish human descendent discovers far in the future, yet again lost in the primeval jungle.

(Includes 30 films. Two intermissions. Some mature themes.)


Sunday, May 10 | 7-11pm

After the last film has screened, gather for an informal post-festival party at the Moon & Sixpence. It’s lively a British-style pub with some of the best Cornish pasties we’ve tasted.

VENUE: Moon and Sixpence | 2014 NE 42nd Ave | FREE EVENT!

Monday through Sunday, May 4-10

Throughout this year’s festival, the stop-motion masters from Bent Image Lab will be exhibiting puppets created by their world-class animation studio. Visit the Hollywood Theatre’s main lobby to meet those tiny celebrities from Portlandia, the rat gang — and ogle the bizarre insects from last year’s music video, The Uncluded: Organs.

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