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Persepolis set to open Ottawa animation festival

The Ottawa International Animation Festival opens Wednesday with Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi's animated film about growing up in Iran, based on her graphic novel.

The Ottawa International Animation Festival opens Wednesday with Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi's animated film about growing up in Iran, based on her graphic novel.

Satrapi, who now lives in France, won the jury prize at Cannes for her unusual work, which blends the personal and the political.

She thinks of herself as a humanist, and says it's individual stories that grab people of every background and culture.

"Politics is the basis — that is, in the background," she said in an interview with CBC Radio cultural affairs show Q.

"The problem when we talk about politics, it is this big concept. But it doesn't mean anything. It doesn't touch the individual or the personal level.… We don't talk about the individual, but individualism is the best part of democracy. If we lose that, we lose everything," she said.

The story is based on her experiences growing up in Iran around the time of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It is populated by a naughty little girl andgreat burka-clad figures who stand out as women and individuals.

"I like to laugh a lot,'' Satrapi said.

The festival continues for five days, finishing Sunday with a Best of the Festival gala at the National Arts Centre.

There are competitions for short animated films, new media productions, student films and televised animation for adults and children.

The festival will show 94 short films from around the world and three features, Persepolis, Norway's Free Jimmy and South Korea's Aachi and Ssipak.

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