After much deliberation, the jury for the Quickdraw Animation Society’s annual GIRAF festival of independent animation has selected this year’s award-winning short films. Culled from over 1,300 submissions from over 77 countries, the films in competition at GIRAF represent the best in artful, independent animation from around the globe, and this year’s award winners are truly exceptional.

Before getting to the selections, though, a quick word on the GIRAF jury. The 2016 jury was:

Amy Lockhart: The visiting artist for GIRAF12, Amy Lockhart is an independent filmmaker, animator and artist. Her animations have screened at festivals nationally and internationally, including the Ann Arbor Film Festival and International Animation Festival in Hiroshima, Japan.

Chad VanGaalen: An illustrator, animator, songwriter and musical inventor, Chad VanGaalen is one of Canada’s most acclaimed independent artists. His animated sci-fi opus, Tarboz, won Best Canadian Short at GIRAF11 in 2015.

Nicola Waugh: Nicola Waugh is an independent film programmer and communications professional based in Calgary. She holds a Master’s degree from York University and Ryerson University’s joint Communication and Culture program, and was the Programming Director of the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers (CSIF) and Director of the $100 Film Festival from 2012-2016.


Best Canadian Short Film:

I Like Girls

I Like Girls

Diane Obomsawin, 2016

Adapted by cartoonist and animator Diane Obomsawin from her graphic novel “On Loving Women,” I Like Girls shares four stories of first love, infatuation, and sexual awakening. Candid, funny, and entirely disarming, it is also a heartfelt depiction of the struggles and joy that come with discovering your sexual identity.


Honourable Mention – Best Stop Motion:

Four Faces of the Moon

Amanda Strong, 2016

A haunting exploration of Canada’s colonial past and the reclaiming of Native languages and cultural practice, Amanda Strong’s stop-motion saga connects personal and political statements into a powerful animated work.


Best International Short Film:

Yùl and the Snake

Gabriel Harel, 2015

Yùl and the Snake is director Gabriel Harel’s first short film, but it feels like the work of a much more established artist. Visually, Harel’s distinctive illustration style and selective use of colour draw the viewer into the film, but it’s the narrative, with its themes of loyalty and brotherhood and its embrace of fantasy, that truly set Yùl and the Snake apart.


Honourable Mention – Best Portal Into Another Dimension:

Bottom Feeders

Matt Reynolds, 2015

A darkly comic glimpse at the struggle between two fictional species, Bottom Feeders was created as Matt Reynolds’ first-year film project at CalArts’s Experimental Animation MFA. Its imaginative design, grim humour and visceral sound design make for a truly memorable experience.


Honourable Mention – Best Experimental Narrative:


Kirsten Carina Geisser and Ines Christine Geisser, 2015

GIRAF was honoured to present the North American debut of this film from sisters Ines Christine Geisser and Kirsten Carina Geisser, which takes an unconventional approach to questioning the perpetual search for happiness.


Audience Favourite:

Fired on Mars

Nate Sherman and Nick Vokey, 2016

Fired on Mars won over the GIRAF audience with its blend of deadpan humour, corporate satire and sci-fi melancholy. Bringing the monotony of corporate culture to the world of interplanetary exploration, Nate Sherman and Nick Vokey’s film is both laugh-out-loud funny and surprisingly poignant.


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