Film

Animation with Love showcases ‘vibrant’ film industry

Community comes together for screenings, conversations

The feature film my Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea will screen at the festival Sunday.
The feature film My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea will screen at the festival on Sunday.   Madi Haslam

Siloën Daley celebrates animation every day, but this weekend she’s making it a community event with the sixth annual Animation With Love Festival.

Daley is an an independent animator and filmmaker based in Halifax. She has two decades of experience in the film industry, works with the Toronto International Film Festival and has been organizing Animation With Love since its beginning.

Daley and her programming committee have followed animated film production around the globe to decide on the festival’s lineup. There will be screenings of feature films from Japan, the U.S. and Spain, as well as Canadian and international shorts.

The weekend will also involve two panel discussions featuring local animators and film teachers about independent animation and the Halifax film scene.

The festival runs Friday to Sunday at Carbon Arc Cinema, Halifax’s only independent cinema, which Daley also founded.

The Signal spoke with Daley about the festival and what she loves about animation.

siloen-daley-2-of-2
Local animator and filmmaker Siloën Daley is the founder and organizer of this weekend’s Animation With Love Festival.   Photo contributed by Daley

What is Halifax’s animation scene like right now?

Animation, locally, is really going strong. I think the way technology is going makes it easier for people to make work independently and maybe also in studios. Part of my motivation for the festival is to help show the community the animation scene and to celebrate what is going on in Halifax. There’s a lot happening with partnerships around the world. There are probably over 1,000 people working in animation here; it’s a vibrant industry.

How has Animation With Love grown over the years?

It started out originally as one program of short animated film six years ago. When I heard about the National Film Board’s (NFB) international animation day, I expanded the festival by working with the NFB. I screened my curated shorts program and included their animated program. We also added panel discussions. I wasn’t sure how big I wanted it to be, but I knew that I wanted to try to include more of the community. I definitely like showing work that’s a little bit off the beaten path. I want to bring something to the city that’s not showing anywhere else here to broaden people’s experiences of stories.

Will this year’s festival feature films by local filmmakers?

There are five film programs and three of those are feature films. Each of the features will open with a local short. The Canadian shorts program is almost half local, with six of the 14 films made by local animators.

What are your hopes for Animation With Love’s future?

Right now, I feel like this is the perfect amount of programming. I’m hopeful that we will get a good turnout, so I will wait to see how the community responds. The response from the studios and schools has been really strong and I would like them to be even more involved going forward. We had to put in a lot of volunteer hours, so I hope we can get some more funding in the future. This year, I got funding from the Canada Council for the Arts for the shorts program and $500 from the city.

How does watching animation feel different than experiencing other forms of film?

Animation has a unique ability to express itself without audiences’ attachment to how things should be. It’s harder for audience to put their judgment on it. You just have to take it in and experience it for what it is. You can get away with saying things that are harder to say and have them get through to people. Animation can either be a big production or be done by one person. Film is such a demanding art. It usually involves so much work from so many people, but as an independent animator you can just get lost in your own world and make your own work. You can do that in regular filmmaking, but it’s probably easier in animation.

As an animator, do you tend to get lost in your projects?

Sometimes I have a hard time stopping myself from starting to make new films. I find myself working alone for hours with just me and the work. It’s a funny way to spend time, but it calls you there anyways. When I started making independent films, I made a program of my own shorts and paired it with other women filmmakers who inspired me and toured around with it. It was so inspiring because making the work is so solitary and it’s a rare joy to see it with an audience. For me, work really becomes something when someone else gets to see it. So, part of my motivation for the festival was definitely to create a space where people can share in enjoying work.

This story has been edited and condensed for clarity.