OIAF Opens Virtual Pitch Contest for 2021

The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) and Mercury Filmworks invite Canadian creators to join Pitch This! 2021, a competition that aims to kickstart a new animated series concept. The deadline for submissions is June 15 at 5 p.m. EDT.

Pitch This! is a highlight of The Animation Conference (TAC), the OIAF’s industry-focused forum that runs September 22 to October 3. During its 17 years as part of the OIAF, TAC has helped launch many projects including 2020’s winner, The Silly Duck Wizard. Creator Terry Ibele spoke about the impact of the win:

“Winning Pitch This! was a truly phenomenal experience that pushed my project into development. OIAF also partnered me with mentor Julie Stewart, whose expertise helped refine my pitch. As a result, I signed with a production company (who I met at the festival) a few weeks later.”

As the OIAF returns online for 2021, all its programs including Pitch This! will have wider reach. Not only will professional development opportunities be more accessible than ever before, but a program like Pitch This! can open up doors for new voices.

“Without the physical and financial barriers of attending the Festival to participate in the popular event, we hope to see even more diverse projects and stories and highly encourage underrepresented creators to submit to the program,” said Azarin Sohrabkhani, OIAF’s Industry Director. “This opportunity includes a valuable mentorship component with animation executives, access to development resources, and will give creators the attentive ear of potential partners, collaborators and financiers.”

Ten semi-finalists will be partnered with experienced mentors from the industry, who will not only offer invaluable feedback on their idea but, throughout the summer months, will also help them prepare for their 10-minute pitch in front of the judging committee.

The two presentations making the biggest impact will face-off in the Finale, going head-to-head in front of a panel of platform executives and the entire TAC audience. Finalists will compete to win the prize package from Pitch This! partners, which includes a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Mercury Filmworks, a Harmony Premium Annual license and online training course courtesy of Toon Boom, and two TAC Animapasses to OIAF 2022.

Heath Kenny, Chief Content Officer at Mercury Filmworks, commented, “After such a fantastic experience at last year’s event we really wanted to reconnect with our community of Canadian creators and continue to share our development teams experience and collective knowledge. Our energy and our passion is devoted to helping Canadian creators find their voice and bring original content to a global marketplace and what better platform than Pitch This!”

Mercury Filmworks will complement the Pitch This! mentorship with a series of workshops for mentees on developing and pitching content from an indie Canadian studio perspective.

Pitch This! 2021 is open to Canadian projects only, spanning all demographics from preschool to adult series. Inclusive projects and underrepresented creators are strongly encouraged to apply, in particular women, BIPOC and 2SLGBTQIA+ members of the animation community. Proposals should include: project format and target demographic; a project synopsis, including logline and character descriptions; at least one episode synopsis; and the bios of key creators. Concept art is recommended but not required.

All application information for Pitch This! 2021 can be found here.

Film festival entries for OIAF are open until May 31; more info at animationfestival.ca.

Ottawa International Animation Festival
Ottawa International Animation Festival


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