HOOF IT Not pictured: hooves.

LAIKA is 10 years old? The animation studio is 10 YEARS OLD?! Oh cool, a chance to see 2009's Coraline on the big screen!

That's right: The annual NW Animation Festival is back, and along with a retrospective screening of Coraline, they're offering a week-long series of talks, events, and a curated lineup of animated shorts from all over the world. This year there are 153 of 'em in a variety of programs. Aside from the short film nights, there's a family-friendly daytime program (Sat May 14), an experimental program (Thurs May 12), a Spanish language program (Sun May 15), and a queer animation night (Tues May 10)! Those all sound like really great ideas. Great ideas, NW Animation Festival!

My thoughts on a few of the films: I was surprised to see Wenyu Li's Go to City ELE on the family-friendly playbill—although it attempts to convey a little pig in the big city metaphor about appearances, its punchline lands on the gruesome death of a very sexy female pig. That's not good for kids. (Or... is it?) Another short from the family-friendly lineup is Seth Boyden's Hoof It, which reminds me of a cleaner, less butt-obsessed Ren & Stimpy cartoon. (Do we even want that?)

Baths, by Tomek Ducki, stands out for its nonverbal storytelling: In a flurry of grunts and bathhouse echoes, two older ladies seem to open a rift in time in a spa. But Futon, by Yoriko Mizushiri, was my favorite: A film about a sexy girl in bed, thinking about food, seems like it would appeal to anyone, but the beautiful marriage of the music and the interplay of shape and meaning exemplify animation as an art form. How is an animated film doing something that only animation can? Futon is a great example.