GIRAF grows in fifth year
Calgarians who have never heard of GIRAF won’t be able to miss it this year — literally. Animated City, the newest addition to the festival, will project giant animations onto the sides of buildings in various locations across the city.
Don’t be fooled by the word “animation” as it doesn’t just refer to movies like Finding Nemo or old favorites like The Lion King. If you consider yourself an animation geek then you probably know all about GIRAF and its artists, workshops and screenings.
For those who don’t, the acronym stands for Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival and it’s one of the newer festivals to hit Calgary. Established in 2005 by Calgary’s Quickdraw Animation Society, GIRAF has been rapidly growing in popularity — expanding from two venues to 14 in less than a year.
This year has all the makings of being the most exciting festival yet.
The installations are all created by different artists and will run on a loop, the average length being five minutes, but the longest film spans 16. If you’re planning on strolling through Kensington then checkout the windows of Oolong Tea House and Pages on Kensington; ride the C-Train downtown and take a peek at the Teatro building giant sea creatures will inhabit the north wall.
“It’s going to be very different for people,” said Karilynn Thompson, festival director for GIRAF. “The animations that are going to be shown are not typically what people would think of as a cartoon — they’re more like fine art.”
Thompson wants people to understand that animation isn’t just for kids. “A lot of animation is made for adults,” she explains. “We have one animation with a rape scene.”
Most of the films will be screened at the Plaza Theatre where entry is 18 years and older and beer is sold. Film topics will range from existentialism to surrealism and they are intended to be edgy and thought-provoking.
GIRAF will bring in artists such as award-winning 3-D animator David O’Reilly, who will also make an appearance at the Glenbow Museum to discuss his “profoundly offensive” work. If you’re looking for something darker than your average Saturday morning cartoon, look no further.
“I wouldn’t bring my six-year-old to David O’Reilly,” said Thompson.
While GIRAF does allow for a more sinister side to animation, this doesn’t mean that children are excluded completely. There are still many family friendly events taking place over the weekend.
On Nov. 5, head down to the Jubilee Auditorium to check out the Log Driver’s Waltz Gala. If the name alone doesn’t get you excited then maybe this will — the dress code for this event is plaid.
“Everyone should wear plaid,” Thompson said. “We’ll have a plaid photo booth. We’re using a bunch of slide projectors to throw plaid on all the walls.”
The theme celebrates Canada and screenings will include among others retro Sesame Street. There will be bonfires, hot chocolate and live bands — they’re even working on poutine.
The various events and screenings of GIRAF begin on Nov. 2 and continue until Nov. 6. For more information and schedules visit giraffest.ca. Tickets for individual screenings are $10, but $8 for students and a festival pass goes for $40.