What We Do

The Northwest Animation Festival collects excellent short animated films from around the world for screening at an annual multi-day gathering in Portland, Oregon. Our goal: to create a large local community of impassioned enthusiasts and inspired artists, and an internationally recognized hub of animation culture.

In 2007 Portland hosted the single largest animation festival in US history: the Platform International Animation Festival. Screening over 400 films, the event generated much excitement around the country – then frustration when no sequel appeared. Wanting to make good on Platform’s promise, in 2010 animator/activist Sven Bonnichsen founded the Northwest Animation Festival.

Organizing NWAF and its spin-off events is now a year-round effort that involves an ever-expanding team of collaborators. Film selection is accomplished by a handpicked, international team of 100+ festival alumni, animators, and supporting artists. Host venues for the multi-day festival include the Hollywood Theatre in Portland and the Bijou Art Cinemas in Eugene. Special Portland events have been produced in cooperation with arts organizations such as ASIFA Portland, Bent Image Lab, Cascade ACM SIGGRAPH, Creative Music Guild, Experimental Film Festival Portland, Gridlords, HouseSpecial, LAIKA, Oregon Cartoon Institute, Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Boundary Crossings program, Portland Indie Game Squad, Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival, Risk/Reward, Seattle Experimental Animation Team, and White Box Gallery.

The Northwest Animation Festival is part of a long-term strategy to develop the community of animation makers and appreciators, and thereby help the art form itself to evolve. We are an organization run by animators, motivated by a deep love for this challenging medium and the desire to support each other in our creative efforts. We are educators and bridge-builders, seeking to gather all of our local affinity groups, studios, and students into one place. We provide an immersive experience that encourages people to become part of our “festival family,” which grows larger and more loyal each year. We inspire fellow artists to keep trying new and daring projects, and welcome the uninitiated to discover the joy of making animation themselves.

We aim to present the largest, most astonishing collection of animation in the USA. We showcase the art form’s diversity and help more deserving artists get seen. Using our massive film library, we work toward bringing new animation programs to cities across the region. We promote animation as one of the fine arts, and as a uniquely liberating tool for creative expression.

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