Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ottawa International Animation Festival highlights: Meet the filmmakers and more

Join animation aficionados at the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF), North America’s leading animation film festival, taking place from September 16 to 20, 2015, at multiple venues across Ottawa, Canada.

Among the highlights for 2015 is Meet-the-Filmmakers which gives OIAF ticket-holders a rare chance to meet some of animation’s greatest talents up close. Moderated by OIAF Artistic Director Chris Robinson, audiences will be introduced to a variety of filmmakers whose short films are featured in one of seven official short film competitions including the Shorts and Series For Kids competitions.

Audiences are encouraged to ask questions and share comments or opinions about the films featured the night before.

“Meet-the-Filmmakers is a fun, informal event which lets animation fans get a behind-the-scenes look at some of their favourite films from the best animators in the world,” says Chris Robinson. “It’s incredibly rare to get such high-profile animators together in one place to answer questions about their latest projects.”

Canadian filmmakers attending this year’s Meet-the-Filmmakers presentations include Isaac King (Toronto), and Claude Cloutier, Theodore Ushev, Pierre Hébert, Nicolas Ménard, and Julien Grey (Montreal). International speakers include Ely Dagher (Beirut, Lebanon) and Patrick McHale (New Jersey, U.S.A) among others. Meet-the-Filmmakers takes place Sept. 17-18 at Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts (310 St. Patrick Street), and from Sept. 19-20 at the Arts Court Theatre (2 Daly Avenue).

Several other presentations designed for audiences to learn more about their favourite companies, schools, and personalities make up OIAF programming this year.

Other 2015 Highlights:

  • The Animation Pimpcast With Chris Robinson: Presented by Animation World Network on Thursday, September 17 through Sunday, September 20 at select times at St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, writer, programmer and OIAF Artistic Director Chris Robinson sits down for informal chats with four of animation’s top filmmakers, including Leah Shore, Kaspar Jancis, Michèle Cournoyer, and Bruce Bickford.

  • Michael Kurinsky: An Artists Growth at Sony Pictures Animation: On Thursday, September 17 at 2:45 p.m. at Château Laurier, Michael Kurinsky shares insights and learnings from his experiences as visual development artist on Sony Pictures Animation’s first feature Open Season, art director on the Studio’s comedy hit, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and his current role as production designer on the upcoming Hotel Transylvania 2, in theaters nationwide September 25.

  • Toon Apprentice Day: On Friday, September 18, high school students interested in animation can watch animated films from around the world and attend presentations by some of Canada's top animation schools. This free all-day event is held at the National Gallery of Canada (380 Sussex Drive).

  • TED-Ed: Where Education Meets Animation: This educational presentation takes place on Friday, September 18 at 5:00 p.m. at the Arts Court Theatre. It includes a screening of selected work followed by a discussion of TED-Ed’s production process and some of the unique creative challenges faced when creating animation for educational purposes.

  • Indie VR: The Oculus Rift Experience: On Saturday, September 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the Arts Court Theatre, a panel of independent artists, including Framestore’s Nick Fox-Gieg, stop-motion filmmaker Brett Long, Toronto Animated Image Society President Madi Piller, and Passion Pictures Creative Director for Commercials Saschka Unseld, discuss how artists and storytellers work with virtual reality technology to create new experiences.

  • Masterclass: Bruce Bickford: On Saturday, September 19, at 3:00 p.m. at the Arts Court Theatre, legendary storyteller, clay and line animator Bruce Bickford will give a tutorial on the various morphing techniques he has developed over his career.
Tickets are available for purchase at until Friday, September 11, and will be sold at the Box Office at the Arts Court Studio thereafter. Tickets start at $13 for the general public, or $9 for seniors, students, and members of the Canadian Film Institute. Festival passes are also available.

For a complete list of scheduled talks and guest speakers, visit or download the official OIAF app for the latest updates and information.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

CFI celebrates 80th birthday August 27 with free public celebration in Ottawa

The Canadian Film Institute (CFI), Canada’s oldest film institute and the second-oldest in the world, is turning 80 years old. To celebrate, the CFI is hosting a free public celebration at Jean Pigott Place, Ottawa City Hall, on Thursday, August 27, 2015 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

"This birthday party will be a way to celebrate our eight decades of service to Ottawa and Canadian film,” says Tom McSorley, Executive Director of the now octogenarian Canadian Film Institute. “As Canada's oldest non-profit, non-governmental cultural organization dedicated to cinema, we are proud to have been supported by receptive, generous, and sophisticated Ottawa cinema audiences. It’s a way of saying thank you to the city, our sponsors and embassy partners, and all who come to our events. It's also a moment to look ahead to, hopefully, another 80 years.”

McSorley has been a part of the CFI for over twenty years, and is a film critic with CBC’s Ottawa Morning and an Adjunct Professor of Film Studies at Carleton University.

Guests attending the CFI’s 80th Anniversary Celebration will be treated to an assortment of food and drink generously provided by local Embassies and organizations, and will have the opportunity to mingle with representatives from the Institute and its partner organizations, sponsors, friends, collaborators, and alumni. A special presentation of speeches and video of congratulations from prominent Canadian filmmakers will begin at 6:00 p.m. The CFI will also announce its upcoming programming season.

The CFI welcomes donations and fundraising support. Guests who wish to make a donation of $25 or more will be issued a charitable tax receipt. The event is free for all to attend, with refreshments offered by donation.

The Canadian Film Institute (CFI) was incorporated in 1935 as a federally-chartered, nongovernmental, non-profit cultural organization. More information about the organization and the 80th anniversary at Jean Pigott Place, Ottawa City Hall, can be found online at

• • • • • •

L'Institut canadien du film (ICF), le plus ancien institut de cinéma au Canada et le deuxième plus ancien au monde, a quatre-vingt ans. L'ICF marquera publiquement l'occasion par une fête à la Place Jean-Pigott de l'hôtel-de-ville d'Ottawa le jeudi 27 août prochain de 17 h 30 à 20 h.

« Cette fête d'anniversaire est une façon de célébrer nos huit décennies de service envers la ville d'Ottawa et le cinéma canadien, » dit Tom McSorley, directeur exécutif du désormais octogénaire Institut canadien du film. « À titre de plus ancien organisme culturel non gouvernemental sans but lucratif consacré au cinéma, nous sommes fiers d'avoir reçu l'appui des auditoires de cinéma réceptifs, généreux et raffinés d'Ottawa. C'est une façon de remercier la ville, nos commanditaires et nos partenaires des ambassades, ainsi que tous ceux qui viennent à nos événements. C'est aussi le moment d'envisager, du moins nous l'espérons, encore quatre-vingt ans d'activités pour l'Institut. »

McSorley fait partie de l'ICF depuis plus de vingt ans. Il est critique de cinéma à l'émission Ottawa Morning au réseau CBC et professeur adjoint d'études cinématographiques à l'Université Carleton.

Les invités à la fête du 80e anniversaire de l'ICF pourront profiter d'aliments et de boissons généreusement offerts par les ambassades et organismes locaux, et se mêler aux représentants de l'Institut et de ses organismes partenaires et commanditaires, de même qu'aux amis, collaborateurs et anciens de l'Institut. Une présentation spéciale de bons vœux et un vidéo de félicitations par d'éminents cinéastes canadiens débuteront à 18 h. L'ICF y annoncera aussi le programme de sa prochaine saison.

L'ICF est reconnaissant de tout don ou appui à des collectes de fonds. Un reçu d'impôt d’œuvre caritative sera émis aux invités souhaitant donner 25 $ ou plus. L'événement est gratuit pour tous, les rafraîchissements étant des dons.

L'Institut canadien du film (ICF) a été créé en 1935 en tant qu'organisme culturel non gouvernemental sans but lucratif à charte fédérale. On trouvera à de plus amples renseignements sur l'ICF et sur la célébration de son 80e anniversaire Place Jean- Pigott à l'hôtel-de-ville d’Ottawa.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

B-movie lovers should 'B' at Ottawa Spookshow and Fantastic Film Festival - September 12, 2015

B-movie and horror/thriller movie lovers alert!

The first Ottawa Spookshow and Fantastic Film Festival is taking place at Live on Elgin on September 12, 29015, in Ottawa, Canada. The Ottawa Spookshow and Fantastic Film Festival is an all-day festival dedicated to showing films of a horror/sci-fi or simply strange variety. Films come from Canada and from around the world.

Organizer Brett Kelly has announced the two features to be screened, and the short films will be announced soon.

The first feature chosen to be screened is SHE KILLS directed by Ron Bonk, an  homage to grindhouse/exploitation pictures of the 1970s.

When Sadie's husband is murdered by a vicious gang called "The Touchers," she finds she possesses a strange hidden power to aid her in her quest for revenge!

The second feature selected to be shown is LATE NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE, directed by Navin Ramaswaran, Zach Ramelan and Torin Langen.

During a late night taping of "Dr. Nasty's Cavalcade of Horror,"bloody chaos takes place during the screening of two films ("Dinner for Monsters" and "Slit"). Samantha/Nurse Nasty (Jamie Elizabeth Sampson) is frustrated by how the show is being run by its womanizing director (Mike Donis) and its drunk and crazy host Dr. Nasty (Brian Carleton).

"Dinner for Monsters" tells the story a down and out chef (Nick Smyth) is hired to cook a special meal for a rich and powerful couple (Jeff Sinasac and Sandra DaCosta) for midnight dinner party. The chef has an ethical crisis when he falls in love with the maid (Raven Cousens) of the household that finally puts him over the edge.

In "Slit," we meet Brad (Colin Price) who has an underground freelance business of cutting people for relief and profit. Brad meets his match when he meets an oddball client (Caleigh Le Grand) that has violent plans not just for him but for herself.

Tickets are $15.00 advance, and $20.00 at the door.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

California Dreaming: Comic-Con International San Diego 2015

It's been a few years since I last attended Comic-Con International in San Diego. It's on in full geeky glory right now, and while it would be nice to be there, I'm home in Ottawa and living vicariously through Facebook postings instead.

What thinking of San Diego does do is inspire me to work on my contribution to Hope Nicholson's The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. It's already a Kickstarter success, and will be a fantabulous collection when it's done. The line-up screams for exclamation marks. Margaret Atwood! Sam Maggs! Trina Robbins! Megan Kearney!, Danielle Corsetto! Brandy Lynn! Adrienne Kress! Stephanie Cooke! Diana McCallum ! Jen Aprahamian!  Katie West! and so many more. I love the cover by Gisèle Lagacé.

My story is called "Both Sides of the Table and Between the Sheets," and it will draw on my wonderful, awkward, funny and fun personal experiences as a geek girl. I don't think I'd have the gumption to go up against the A-list cosplayers at Comic-Con in San Diego now, but back in the day, I took a prize for entering the costume competition as Supergirl (along with Don Hutton as Brainiac 5).

My con cravings will be satisfied again in September when Ronn Sutton and I will be guests at Fan Expo Canada, taking place from September 3-6, 2015 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. It's a big show, and growing each year. While I will be behind the table taking commissions and the like, I am also hoping indulge my inner fan-girl and score a photo with Kate Mulgrew, who was a dynamite starship captain on Star Trek: Voyager and has impressed a whole new generation with her turn as Red on Orange is the New Black.

Still... despite the long travel, hefty hotel room prices and insane crowd, it would have been nice to be at San Diego. I'm thinking maybe next year, and maybe I better start planning right now.

-- Janet Hetherington

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Janet Hetherington and Ronn Sutton talk comics at Prose in the Park June 6

On June 6, Canada's newest literary festival and book fair PROSE IN THE PARK will take place in the Parkdale Park in Ottawa from 11 am to 6 pm.

Over 100 authors and publishers will be selling directly to the public hundreds of fine works of fiction and non-fiction. There is an amazing line-up of 79 moderators, panelists, special event authors and authors reading at the open-mic stage.

Janet Hetherington and Ronn Sutton will be appearing on the graphic novel panel along with Mark Shainblum and Jack Briglio.

Sketch Me In (graphic novel panel)
Mark Shainblum (creator of Northguard), Ottawa
Jack Briglio (author of True Patriot), Ottawa
Janet Hetherington (Aurora Award Winner and author of Eternal Romance), Ottawa
Ronn Sutton (illustrator of Lucifers Sword), Ottawa
Moderated by Kevin T. Johns
TIME: 4 pm - 5 pm

 Prose in the Park is free and everyone is welcome.

Click below for the full program.

For more on Prose in the Park and its fantastic line-up, visit the website:

You can follow Prose in the Park on Twitter at @proseinthepark1 and use the hashtag ‪#‎proseinthepark to help get the word out there.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Comics and movies in Ottawa this May!

May 2015 promises to be a busy month as Ronn Sutton and I get ready for two fun events:

  • Ottawa Comiccon: May 8-10 at the EY Centre in our hometown of Ottawa; and
  • JESSE JAMES: LAWMAN - May 28 - Movie premiere at the Mayfair Theatre in our hometown of Ottawa.

Ronn and I will be in artists alley for Ottawa Comiccon, with comics, art and stories to stare. We will be doing art commissions at the show. Looking for that special gift from Mother's Day for that motorcycle momma in your life? A great chance to get a copy of Lucifers Sword MC from Ronn, and he'll sign it too!

If you want to be part of the premiere of Jesse James: Lawman (with script by yours truly)be sure to pick up your tickets at the Comic Book Shoppe on Bank Street. ($10 each). the movie stars loads of local talent such as Andrew Galligan, John N. E. Hill and Lawrence Evenchick along with Kevin (Hercules, Andromeda) Sorbo and Peter (Easy Rider) Fonda! Directed by Brett Kelly.

See you on the red cape... I mean, carpet! -- Janet Hetherington

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Janet and Ronn - Rhymes with Comic-Con (Toronto and Ottawa)

After a successful Lucifers Sword MC:  The Life and Death in an Outlaw Motorcycle Club.graphic novel signing at Ottawa's Comic Book Shoppe on February 28, Ronn Sutton is packing his bags to bring more books to Toronto Comicon, taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from March 20-22, 2015.

Ronn and I (Janet Hetherington) are both guests at the convention, so look for us in artists' alley. Show hours are Friday: 4-8 pm; Saturday 10-7 pm; Sunday 10-5 pm. Ronn will have copies of Lucifers Sword available for purchase and signing, For whatever reason, the books have been hard to find in Ottawa, so this is a chance to get a copy from the artist himself if you don't have one.

I, alas, do not have any copies to bring of The Last Outlaw DVD, but if you have a copy and bring it, I will be happy to sign it.

Both Ronn and I will be taking commissions at the show, so see us for our availability and rates. Also stop by just to chat!

Then, on Mother's Day weekend, Ronn and I will be appearing at a show that's closer to home - Ottawa Comiccon. This comic-con is at the EY Centre in Ottawa (in Ottawa South, near the airport), The show runs May 8-10, 2015 on Friday from 2-8 pm; Saturday from 9:30-7 pm; and Sunday from 10:30-5 pm.

We always look forward to seeing old friends and new faces at the different comic-cons. And with spring finally in the air, it will be fun venturing out from the studio to get into the convention vibe.

See you there!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Artist Ronn Sutton signing Lucifers Sword at Ottawa's Comic Book Shoppe and Toronto Comicon

Get your motor running!

Artist Ronn Sutton will be signing copies of his newest graphic novel Lucifers Sword MC at The Comic Book Shoppe at 228 Bank Street, Ottawa, on Sat. February 28, from 1 to 4 pm.

Ronn will also be appearing with Janet Hetherington at Toronto Comicon 2015, taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from March 20 to 22. The couple will both be showcasing comics and art.

Looking for adventure?

Lucifers Sword MC: The Life and Death in an Outlaw Motorcycle Club is the new 96-page high-octane graphic novel now available from Motorbooks.

Lucifers Sword MC is a gritty, fictionalized, insider look at life as a 1960s U.S. biker club member. Written by Hells Angel member Phil Cross and illustrated by former Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and Starbikers comic book artist Ronn Sutton, the graphic novel takes readers on a wild ride from the late 1940s through to the 1970s.

The characters in Lucifers Sword MC are fictionalized, but based on real bikers – including Cross, who appears as the club’s prospect, Frenchie. As fans of the TV show Sons of Anarchy know, a prospect is a rookie member. Readers experience rough-and-tumble club life first-hand through Frenchie’s eyes.

Artist Ronn Sutton did an enormous amount of research before taking pencil to paper. He watched Sons of Anarchy as well as classic movies such as The Wild One, Easy Rider and Angels Die Hard. He also read magazines like In the Wind and books like From Gypsy Joker to a Hells Angel (Cross’s autobiography) and Hells Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs by Hunter S. Thompson.

After the research, the real work began. “This is the biggest project I’ve worked on in my 40-plus year career as a comics artist,” Sutton says. “For five months I drew 15 hours per day, 7 days a week, trying to do my best work ever.”

Sutton illustrated Lucifers Sword MC in the traditional comic book method, drawing in pencil first and then inking with black India ink. The graphic novel has a full color cover and black-and white interior. Sutton made dramatic use of black and white so action jumps off the page.

Motorbooks’ Lucifers Sword MC: The Life and Death in an Outlaw Motorcycle Club has world-wide distribution and is available in bookstores, comic book shops and via Amazon online.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Phil Cross has been an active member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club for over 43 years. His autobiography From Gypsy Joker to a Hells Angel (2013) is also available from Motorbooks. This is Cross’s first graphic novel, co-authored and edited by long-time motorcycle enthusiast Darwin Holmstrom.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Ronn Sutton ( is based in Ottawa, Canada. He has been drawing comic books for decades, including a nine-year run illustrating Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. The over 200 comic stories Ronn has drawn include Fear Agent, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Honey West, The Phantom, his creator-owned Starbikers as well as horror, humor, adventure, historical and romance comics.