- GIRAF14 runs November 22-25 at the Globe Cinema in Calgary
- Our featured visiting artist is award-winning Indigenous filmmaker, media artist and stop motion director AMANDA STRONG
- Festival artwork and signal film by Calgary-based artist, animator and musician ARIELLE McCUAIG
- Retrospective screening of the works of internationally acclaimed artist and animator SUZAN PITT
- Spotlighted films include THIS MAGNIFICENT CAKE! (winner of major prizes at the Ottawa, Zagreb & Annecy animation festivals); Hungarian art heist thriller RUBEN BRANDT, COLLECTOR; and graphic novel adaptation UN HOMME EST MORT
- 30th anniversary screening of Czech surrealist Jan Švankmajer’s ALICE, a dark, stop-motion animated adaptation of Alice in Wonderland
- Festival passes available now through http://giraffest.ca
- Full lineup, including short films, features and workshops, to be announced Friday, November 2, 2018
VISITING ARTIST: AMANDA STRONG
Image copyright Spotted Fawn Productions
Quickdraw is incredibly excited to be hosting interdisciplinary artist and animator Amanda Strong to present a selection of her animated short films, along with a series of workshops, artist talks and an installation at the TRUCK Gallery of a selection of her puppets and projections. Strong is a talented and prolific artist with a unique and powerful filmmaking voice, and we look forward to sharing her films and expertise with Calgary audiences.
Amanda Strong is a Michif interdisciplinary artist with a focus on filmmaking, stop motion animations and media art. Currently based on unceded Coast Salish territories also known as Vancouver, BC, Canada. Strong received a BAA in Interpretative Illustration and a Diploma in Applied Photography from the Sheridan Institute. With a cross-discipline focus, common themes of her work are reclamation of Indigenous histories, lineage, language and culture. Strong is the Owner/Director/Producer of Spotted Fawn Productions Inc. (SFP). Under her direction, SFP utilizes a multi-layered approach and unconventional methods that are centered in collaboration on all aspects of their work.
Strong’s work is fiercely process-driven and takes form in various mediums such as: virtual reality, stop-motion, 2D/3D animation, gallery/museum installations, published books and community-activated projects. Strong and her team at Spotted Fawn Productions are currently working on the research and development of bringing these works into more interactive spaces.
Most recently she was selected by renowned filmmaker Alanis Obamsawin to receive $50,000 in post-services through the Clyde Gilmour Technicolour Award. In 2016 she received the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Awards for Emerging Film and Media Artist. In 2013, Amanda was the recipient of K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Film and Video. Her films have screened across the globe, most notably at Cannes, TIFF, VIFF, and Ottawa International Animation Festival. She has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, BC Arts Council and the NFB. Spotted Fawn Productions is currently developing new short animations Wheetago War and Biidaaban (The Dawn Comes). SFP’s latest short animations Four Faces of the Moon and Flood are available online through CBC Short Docs and CBC Arts.
Still from Biidaaban (2018), dir. Amanda Strong. Image copyright Spotted Fawn Productions
FEATURED LOCAL ARTIST: ARIELLE McCUAIG
This year’s GIRAF poster and signal film were created by Calgary artist, animator, and musician ARIELLE McCUAIG. A fixture in Calgary’s music and arts community thanks to her work in bands like Janitor Scum and her years co-hosting Radio Party on campus and community radio station CJSW 90.9FM, McCuaig is also an illustrator, designer and animator with a distinctive style influenced by DIY show posters, cut-out art and the bold colours and designs of artists like the Hairy Who.
McCuaig’s art is bold, energetic, hand-made and boundlessly creative, making it a perfect fit for our celebration of artistically adventurous independent animation.
ARTIST RETROSPECTIVE: SUZAN PITT
Still from Asparagus (1979) by Suzan Pitt
SUZAN PITT has been an icon in the world of underground animation for nearly four decades, since her breakthrough film Asparagus debuted as an installation at the Whitney Museum in 1979; the film’s pairing with David Lynch’s Eraserhead at two years worth of midnight screenings at the Waverly Theater and NuArt theater in LA only cemented her status as a visionary of the medium. Since then, her surreal, psychologically rich films and paintings have been shown in cinemas and galleries around the world, from the Sundance Film Festival to the Museum of Modern Art.
Quickdraw is ecstatic to be presenting a collection of Pitt’s films as part of GIRAF14. The screening will be accompanied by an interview with Pitt filmed specifically for the festival, giving Calgary audiences the chance to hear one of animation’s most unique artists talk about her films and her practice in her own words.
The winner of several major prizes at some of the most prominent animation festivals around the globe since its premier at Cannes, including the Grand Prix at Animafest Zagreb, the Prix André Martin at Annecy, and the Grand Prix at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels’ THIS MAGNIFICENT CAKE! (CE MAGNIFIQUE GÂTEAU!) is a historical epic set in felt and fibre. An animated anthology in five parts, the film travels throughout the Belgian Empire of the late 19th century, telling the stories of a troubled king, a middle-aged Pygmy working in a luxury hotel, a failed businessman on an expedition, a lost porter and a young army deserter.
Like their previous film, Oh Willy, THIS MAGNIFICENT CAKE! is stunningly crafted, crafting sweeping landscapes and subtle character moments from the duo’s trademark palette of felted wool. Tinged with humour and melancholy moments, the film is a perfect example of animation’s ability to take on complex subjects in unique ways.
There are plenty of art heist films out there, but none quite like RUBEN BRANDT, COLLECTOR. Slovenian-born director Milorad Krstic’s passion for art history isn’t just confined to the plot of this digital 2D/3D hybrid. It seeps through into every frame of the film, from the Picasso-esque character designs to the vivid nightmares that plague its title character, a psychiatrist who is attacked by famous paintings each night.
Don’t expect a stuffy lecture from this Hungarian feature, though. From an early chase through the streets of Paris to the elabourate heists at the film’s centre, the action rarely lets up. It’s not often you find an animated feature that’s this clever and action-packed at the same time, but Krstic shows a true gift for pacing in his feature debut. Whether you revel in the references or are just along for the ride, RUBEN BRANDT, COLLECTOR is an imaginative action comedy that’s sure to impress.
Animation doesn’t often aim for high realism, but that’s exactly what Olivier Cossu achieves in his adaptation of UN HOMME EST MORT, based on the graphic novel by Kris and Etienne Davodeau. Set in town of Brest, France in the aftermath of World War Two, the film sees a community struggling to move past the devastation of war. Overworked and underpaid, the working-class citizens of Brest begin to organize a dedicated labour movement, but when police shoot at a crowd during a protest, killing a beloved member of the community, the activists must decide how to respond.
A subtle mix of 2D and 3D animation, Un Homme Est Mort brings the Davodeaus’ graphic novel to vivid life, showing the struggles, defeats and triumphs of working-class citizens in an impossible situation. When filmmaker René Vautier is brought in to create a documentary on the striking workers, this poetic and powerful film shifts gears into a tribute to the power of cinema to change minds and unite communities.
Most filmmakers who have adapted Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland have treated it like a fairy tale. To Jan Švankmajer, that approach couldn’t be more wrong. His first feature after over two decades of acclaimed short films, ALICE (1988) refuses to take on the moral tone of fairy tales, and sees the story for what it is—a dream, free from the moral and rational boundaries of traditional storytelling.
The result is an absolutely astonishing film, capturing the darker undercurrents of the Alice stories while still staying true to Carroll’s vision. It is also a stunning achievement in stop-motion filmmaking, and we are excited to celebrate its 30th anniversary with a retrospective screening at GIRAF.
GIRAF’s full schedule, including shorts, features, visiting artist workshops and more, will be announced in early November. Festival passes are on sale now through giraffest.ca, as well as at the Quickdraw Animation Society’s studios at 2011 10 Ave SW, and tickets for individual events will be available when the full lineup is announced.
Celebrating over 30 years as a not-for-profit artist-run centre in Calgary, Alberta, the Quickdraw Animation Society is a place for people who love animation. We encourage animation production, dissemination and appreciation through screenings, workshops, courses, camps, and other events designed to ignite the public’s passion for the medium, including our GIRAF animation festival held each November.