By Victoria Banner
CALGARY – Four days to make an animated short is not many days to make an animated short — there’s barely enough time for the artists to feel crippling doubt. This might be why the annual Quickdraw Animation Society’s Animation Lockdown yields upwards of 12 animated shorts per lockdown. BeatRoute chatted with Quickdraw’s production coordinator, Tyler Longmire, about what to expect from the event.
“Expect weird, wild cartoons made by people in Calgary” begins Longmire, who further explains that Animation Lockdown takes place over the May Long Weekend and features upwards of 25 indie animators working round the clock (even sleeping at Quickdraw’s studios) to hand in an animated short by Monday at noon. “This is becoming one of our largest coordinated events” continues Longmire proudly as the Lockdown enters its 10th year. “Its so unique that, while it’s mostly local animators, we have had teams fly up from the States just to join in the fun.”
The event is about turning off inhibitions to turn out a project, and offers great comradery for people with such a fringe hobby. “Quickdraw supplies the means of production and the energy drinks… Everyone else brings anything.” Some people do digital animation, while others prefer hand-drawn or stop motion. The pieces that get created are screened the following Friday, May 24 at the EMMEDIA Screening Room, and prizes such as production support will be awarded.
The event is all-ages and all-abilities inclusive. “We have this one group of six sisters, all under the age of 13, who compete every year. I believe their work is being featured on Sesame Street,” says Longmire describing the scope of the Lockdown’s participants and their projects some of which has been featured in festivals and on TV shorts.
The creation process is completely open to whatever style the animator chooses, but they like to have a yearly theme for the Lockdown. Last year’s was The End is The Beginning is the End is The Beginning, with the intent to inspire looping shorts. This year’s theme is Brave New Worlds. Longmire explains, “We hope this inspires the animators to create something optimistic and less dystopian than how the world seems to be going these days… But it’s a pretty open interpretation.”
Animation Lockdown takes place at Quickdraw’s new headquarters in Sunalta. The challenge occurs May 19-22, with registration fees ranging $50-$100 depending on membership. A free, public screening of created works takes place May 26.Animation Lockdown, Quickdraw Animation Society, Sunalta