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Water Cooler: With no SpIFF this year, enjoy these animated international films on Kanopy instead

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 26, 2021

Watch 2017’s Oscar-nominated “Loving Vincent,” the first fully painted animated film, for free online with Kanopy.  (Courtesy of Loving Vincent)
Watch 2017’s Oscar-nominated “Loving Vincent,” the first fully painted animated film, for free online with Kanopy. (Courtesy of Loving Vincent)

It’s about this time of year that Spokane usually gets to enjoy the diverse programming of the Spokane International Film Festival, which highlights independent films from the Inland Northwest and the global community. One of the staples of SpIFF’s annual program is the animation showcase which brings in short and feature-length animated films for children and adults.

Unfortunately the pandemic has left theaters closed, so to cope in the meantime, visit and browse their wide selection of animated films, some of which were shown at SpIFF in previous years. Here are a few films in Kanopy’s offerings, all free to stream with a local library card.

“Loving Vincent”: This Oscar-nominated film is the first fully painted feature film. It tells the mysterious and tragic story of Vincent van Gogh’s death, with each frame painted in a style inspired by van Gogh’s many works. Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman. 2017. PG-13. 95 minutes.

“The Painting”: Enter the world of a painting, in which the kingdom is divided into three castes: the beautifully colored world of the Alldunns, the partially complete world of the Halfies and the vaguely outlined world of the Sketchies. Claire runs away from the kingdom after being chastised for her love for Ramo, and in Ramo’s pursuit to find her, he and his friends discover the edge of the painting and accidentally tumble into the Painter’s studio. Directed by Jean-Francois Laguionie. 2011. TV-PG. 80 minutes.

“Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles”: Enter the world of Paris in 1930, where famed surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel is broke after the release of his controversial film “L’Age d’Or.” Miraculously, his friend and sculptor Ramon Acin wins the lottery and the two of them head to the mountains of their native Spain to film a documentary. Directed by Salvador Simó. 2018. Not rated. 80 minutes.

“A Cat in Paris”: Dino is a cat who lives a double life. By day he lives with a little girl, but by night he leads a life of crime, working with a cat burglar named Nico who slips through the night, swishing from one rooftop to another. Directed by Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli. 2010. PG. 65 minutes.

“Tehran Taboo”: This animated drama follows the lives of those who challenge modern Iranian society and break taboos as a form of personal emancipation. Directed by Ali Soozandeh. 2017. Not rated. 97 minutes.

“A Letter to Momo”: A hand-drawn comedy that follows Momo, a girl who only has an incomplete letter to remember her father by. She moves with her mother to the remote Japanese island of Shio, and she discovers three mischievous spirit creatures living in her attic who may help her discover what her father had been trying to tell her. Directed by Hiroyuki Okiura. 2011. Not rated. 121 minutes.

“Chico & Rita”: A celebration of the passionate music and culture of Cuba that follows Chico, a young piano player and Rita, an extraordinary singer, who are united by their dreams and love of music. The film explores jazz history and features animated cameos and works of Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Cole Porter, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Tito Puente and Chano Pozo, among others. Directed by Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal and Tono Errando,. 2010. Not rated. 94 minutes.

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