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Vermont Animation Festival Announces Oscar-Nominated Directors as Keynote Speakers

Eighth Annual Festival Begins Friday, March 24

The Vermont Animation Festival is pleased to announce Oscar-nominated animation directors Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata will be the keynote speakers for the Eighth Annual Vermont Animation Festival. Hosted by Northern Vermont University in partnership with Catamount Arts, the festival will be held March 24 and 25 on the NVU-Lyndon campus.

“After years of remote artist talks, we’re so excited to visit the Vermont Animation Festival in person to connect with people who love animation as much as we do,” said Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata. “We’ll be sharing our works from the last fifteen years, our exclusive behind-the-scenes process, and a sneak peek at the animated feature that we’re working on now, Porcelain Birds.”

Porter and Kuwahata specialize in mixed-media narratives and the pair have been working together as Tiny Inventions since 2008. Their work often combines handcrafted art, CG animation, drawn animation, stop-motion, and photographic effects and they have directed and produced TV commercials, music videos, PSAs, and independent films. Negative Space, their 90th Oscar-nominated film, has won 128 awards at 320 film festivals worldwide.

“We are thrilled that Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter will be our 2023 keynote speakers,” said Kate Renner, NVU assistant professor and director of the Vermont Animation Festival. “Their films are somehow both whimsical and deeply moving, and their craftsmanship and unique use of materials have received international recognition. Many of our NVU animation students were already familiar with Negative Space and feel very fortunate that they will get to work with such accomplished animators in our own classrooms and studios.”

The Vermont Animation Festival offers a full slate of activities for beginner and experienced animators, including workshops, a film screening, and an artist talk with the keynote speakers. Animated films of all lengths may be submitted for viewing and judging as part of the festival. The submission deadline is March 10 and films from students and emerging animators are especially welcome. Complete festival information, including submission guidelines, is available at VTAnimationFestival.org.

The Vermont Animation Festival was created in 2015 by former NVU faculty member Robby Gilbert to showcase the unique voices of artists in New England working in animation and moving images. The festival provides a forum for regional artists, including NVU Animation and Illustration students, to showcase their work and workshops to engage the community.

To learn more about NVU’s program at the Lyndon campus, see NorthernVermont.edu/AnimationIllustration.