Local filmmakers bring "best of" international animation festival to Ypsi

A "best of" program from the acclaimed Ottawa Animation Festival will make a one-night stop in Ypsilanti at 8 p.m. April 19 at the Riverside Arts Center (RAC), 76 N. Huron St.


Filmmaker Donald Harrison and animator Martin Thoburn, both Ypsilanti residents, arranged the event. Thoburn says he and Harrison are hoping to expose Ypsi residents to a different art form and create community around film arts in a city that doesn't have its own movie theater.


"We partnered with Riverside Arts Center because we really wanted to bring this to Ypsi, and not Ann Arbor, because they already have their own film festival," Thoburn says.


The "Best of Ottawa 2018" showcases prizewinners and audience favorite short animated films from the 2018 Ottawa Animation Festival. Established in 1976 and held annually in Ottawa, Canada, the event is the largest animation festival in North America.


Thoburn notes that the "best of" reel includes excellent, curated short films that audiences can't see anywhere else, because the pieces typically aren't released online until after the reel has toured for a year.


"There's lot of really great work, and it's diverse in terms of style and narrative quality, from abstract and experimental to more cerebral films or more humor or comedy," Thoburn says. "It runs the whole gamut."


He says because all the films are fairly short, the audience will get to experience a lot of different filmmakers' perspectives and personalities, including content audience members might not have sought out themselves.


Thoburn says bringing the festival highlight program to Ypsilanti is a "test case to see how receptive people are to this type of stuff."


"It might be the first stepping stone to bringing more film arts to the Ypsilanti area," he says. "We're testing the waters."


Tickets are $5 in advance here, or $7 at the door. There's a small cost associated with bringing the program to Ypsi, but after that is paid for, the remaining proceeds will be donated to RAC. For more information, visit https://iffypsi.com/.


Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She has served as innovation and jobs/development news writer for Concentrate since early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to Driven. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.


Photo courtesy of Nikita Diakur.

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