Never Grow Up at the Ottawa International Animation Festival

September 14, 2016


For the sixth consecutive year, creative agency McMillan has partnered with the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) to create eye-catching, zany promotional art.


The poster series, splashed with the tagline “Never Ever Grow Up,” depicts a cartoon octogenarian who’s got some seriously misplaced joie de vivre. Ignoring uneasy onlookers, he leaps into playgrounds, kiddie pools and birthday parties, and doesn’t seem willing to let his coke-bottle spectacles and wayward dentures hold him back.


Industry up-and-comer and Algonquin College student Chelle Lorenzen took the lead on illustration this year, with art direction from McMillan veteran Michael Zavacky, writing from Ian Driscoll and design from Jared Barter.


“It was kind of fun and a little gross,” says Zavacky of the design process. “We were thinking of our grandparents. … We were thinking of pushing these illustrations to the gross parts.”


That ick factor is what Zavacky aims for when considering the look of the OIAF campaign each year, playing to an audience that prizes all things dark, edgy and alternative. Posters from previous years have depicted dead bodies, anthropomorphic brains and sliced-up human heads.


“That’s what makes these posters every year stand out and get some attention, because people find them weird and creepy,” he says. “And we’re kind of flattered.”


The OIAF, one of the world’s best-known animation events, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with a five-day program of screenings, exhibits, competitions, workshops and entertainment for fans and creators alike. Since its beginnings in 1976, the festival has grown in attendance and participation from hundreds to thousands of people.


The 2016 event runs from September 21 to 25; visit for more details. — Karina Palmitesta



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