NorthWest Animation Festival 2015 Recap

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Hi Folks!

Last week was a whirlwind of animation goodness for me. As some of you know, the NW Animation Festival is now the LARGEST animation festival in the United States. With over 1300 accepted entries- it spanned an entire week. I have been both a Juror and a volunteer for this fest over the last few years, and this year I had the added bonus of being a selected film maker.

Drip, Drip, Drop was accepted just a couple months ago, and this little fact let me see a whole new side of the fest. I personally was handing out programs with a piece I directed inside. During the first screening of the entire festival, my favorite memory happened. No it wasn’t being there as the lights came up and strangers watched the piece unfold on a big screen. It wasn’t even the clapping of enjoyment that happened right after. It was right when the story ended and my logo was there on screen- a little kid, all the way in the front, broke the silence and said “Artful Raven!” joyfully.

I have never been prouder.

The festival week continued with great screening collections like the best of the SIGGRAPH Computer animation festival, and Oregon Industry night. The later of which had a follow-up presentation from Rob Shaw, One of the most entertaining  Directors from the local animation company BENT Image Labs.

The weekend brought with it the international blocks of films, including the lovely 2014 Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film- Song of the Sea. The evening were packed with local meet-ups and chatter- all leading to the final day.

Sunday began with the Animators talk back panel to which I was invited. I’ve never been on a panel before and certainly never answered questions along side veteran folks like Joanna Priestley or Temris Ridge. I was nervous and excited and all those feels you have on Christmas morning as a kid. It went really well:
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I learned what inspired many of my peers, why we do what we do and how much this really is a calling. Sven did a great job of balancing audience questions with panel questions and keeping us focused and on track.

The rest of the day was spent taking in the last of the international  screenings, watching Strange and Sexy tales, and enjoying the winding down of the busiest week I’ve been a part of in a long time.

Sven and Gretchin spend more energy, time, and sanity year-in and year-out bringing this festival to life. It’s because of folks like them Independent animation has venues and opportunity to continue sharing stories throughout the world. It’s that sharing and exposure that keeps people coming, people expressing, people learning to broaden their horizons.

I look forward to continuing to be a part of it for many years to come.

Sophya

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