Vermont Animation Festival welcomes Oscar-nominated directors as keynote speakers March 24

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Eighth Annual Festival Begins Friday, March 24

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Animation Festival has announced 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

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

Northern Vermont University is a two-campus institution of higher education that combines the best of our campuses' nationally recognized liberal arts and professional programs. At Northern Vermont University, our goal is to guide curious, motivated, and engaged students on their paths to success and their places in the world. NVU Online offers flexible, affordable, high-quality options for learners pursuing their bachelor's and master’s degrees as well as certificates. NVU offers a full range of associates, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees as well as credit and non-credit certificates and professional development courses. On July 1, 2023, Northern Vermont University will join with Castleton University and Vermont Technical College to become Vermont State University, a reimagined higher education institution building on the strong legacies of its founding institutions. Learn more at Vermont 

As northeastern Vermont's only full-service arts center, Catamount Arts is the cultural, entertainment, and arts home to 40,000 visitors each year, offering foreign, independent, and classic films; exhibitions by local and regional artists; live music, dance, and theater performances; summer camps and arts education programming; a regional box office for over 40 organizations; and a gathering space for community events. Catamount Arts is the proud producer of the KCP Presents Performing Arts Series;  First Night North; Circus Smirkus in St. Johnsbury; the EPIC Music Program; and the Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury Music Series

Combining and building upon the history of Castleton University, Northern Vermont University, and Vermont Technical College, Vermont State University will become a single accredited institution on July 1, 2023.

12.13.2022. Lyndonville, Vermont — The Vermont Animation Festival Vermont

Friday, March 24, 2023 - 1:00pm