‘A Bite of Bone,’ ‘Bob Spit,’ ‘Night Bus’ & ‘Shaman’s Apprentice’ Win Big at Ottawa

North America’s largest event of its kind, the Ottawa International Animation Festival announced the winners of the 45th Anniversary of the Festival on Friday, with Honekami (A Bite of Bone), Bob Spit-We Do Not Like People and Night Bus taking top Prizes, while Canada’s Angakusajaujuq: The Shaman’s Apprentice walked away with two awards. Hosted online, this year’s festival received 2528 entries from 38 different countries from around the world. Winners were chosen from the 107 animated works selected for official competition.

This year’s Competition Short Jury was guided by the expertise of Jodie Mack (United States), Anne Koizumi (Canada), the OIAF ‘20 winner for Best Narrative and Canadian Animation, and Kang Min Kim (United States), the OIAF ‘20 Grand Prize and Public Prize winner. The Competition Feature Jury was formed by Winnipeg animator Mike Maryniuk, Nadja Andrasev (Hungary) and Polish animator Mariusz Wilczyński, who took home the Animated Feature Grand Prize at OIAF ‘20. The Kids Jury included children from across North America between the ages of 8-12. The winners of the Young Audiences Preschool and Ages 6-12 Competitions were selected through the Kids Jury’s careful consideration.

Angakusajaujuq: The Shaman's Apprentice
Angakusajaujuq: The Shaman’s Apprentice

As per tradition, the OIAF ‘21 award statues were designed by Ottawa-based, scrap metal artist Tick Tock Tom. The statues are working phénakisticopes featuring an animation by New York artist George Griffin.

OIAF ‘21 continues online and in-person until Sunday, October 3. Throughout the weekend, audiences have the opportunity to watch the Official Competition screenings via VOD (OIAF Virtual Cinema), as well as behind-the-scenes talks and the retrospectives and special screenings. For those looking to attend in-person screenings in Ottawa, Archipelago (Félix Dufour-Laperrière) and The Best of Ottawa: Canadian Edition are screening at the recently reopened ByTowne Cinema on October 3 (COVID safety measures apply).

And the winners are…

Bob Spit - We Do Not Like People
Bob Spit – We Do Not Like People

Grand Prize for Short Animation: Honekami (A Bite of Bone) | Honami Yano | Japan

Jury Comment: This film was made on top of traditional techniques. But it has the power to lead us in a new direction. In an image composed of dots, we freely cross places and memories as if we are all small dots. After looking at the work, we can see why the director used these techniques. And it leaves a long lingering impression.

Grand Prize for Animated Feature: Bob Spit – We Do Not Like People | Cesar Cabral | Brazil

Jury Comment: For its melange of mainstream and DIY, documentary and fiction, ingenious and visually attractive story of an artist and his universe, the Grand Prize goes to Bob Spit – We Do Not Like People by Cesar Cabral, Brazil.

Special Mention: Elulu | Gabriel Verdugo Soto | Chile

Night Bus
Night Bus

Public Prize: Night Bus | Joe Hsieh | Taiwan

Canadian Film Institute Award for Best Canadian Animation: The Shaman’s Apprentice | Zacharias Kunuk | Canada

Special Mention: Meneath: The Island of Hidden Ethics | Terril Calder | Canada

Vimeo Staff Pick Award: Un kilomètre à pied (Ten, Twenty, Thirty, Forty, Fifty Miles a Day) | Mathieu Georis | Belgium

Best Non-Narrative Short: Anxious Body | Yoriko Mizushiri | France and Japan

Jury Comment: Without visual texture, the film touches our bodies through its visceral fusion of the subconscious, unconscious, and conscious states of the mind and body.

Anxious Body
Anxious Body

Best Narrative Short: Angakusajaujuq: The Shaman’s Apprentice | Zacharias Kunuk | Canada

Jury Comment: The Shaman’s Apprentice is a masterful work of storytelling and the sharing of traditional Inuit knowledge utilizing impeccably detailed sets, costumes, props and puppets and told beautifully with precision and care. Using the Arctic landscape as a metaphor to the spiritual world, Zacharias Kunuk invites us to learn about Inuit shamanism and spirituality, a part of Inuit culture that was hidden for so long by colonialism. Like the Shaman, Kunuk transmits his knowledge and teachings through this film, and it is as if he is turning to us at the end and asking, “What have we learned?”

Bento Box Award for Best Student Animation: Space | Zhong Xian | United Kingdom

Jury Comment: Space moves us through the cyclical nature of falling in and out of love with swooping shots, original and playful transitions, a simple yet bold and expressive style, and shows us that love, like animation, can be a cycle that repeats itself.

You Sold My Rollerskates?
You Sold My Rollerskates?

Animation for Young Audiences (Preschool) Competition: Bémol | Oana Lacroix | Switzerland

Special Mention 1: Konigiri-Kun Concert | Mari Miyazawa | Japan

Special Mention 2: S Is for Spiders | Warren Brown | Canada

Special Mention 3: Ink | Erik Verkerk & Joost van den Bosch | The Netherlands

Animation for Young Audiences (Ages 6-12) Competition: T’as vendu mes rollers (You Sold My Rollerskates?) | Margaux Cazal, Jeanne Hammel, Louis Holmes, Sandy Lachkar, Agathe Leroux & Léa Rey-Mauzaize | France

Special Mention: Only a Child | Simones Giampaolo | Switzerland

Animated Series Competition: One Day at a Time “The Politics Episode” | M.R. Horhager & Phill Lewis | United States and Canada

One Day at a Time "The Politics Episode"
One Day at a Time “The Politics Episode”

Virtual Reality Competition: Strands of Mind | Adrian Meyer | Germany

Commissioned: Johnny Flynn and Robert Macfarlane “Ten Degrees of Strange” | Lynn Tomlinson | United States and United Kingdom

Canadian Student Competition: Don’t Think about Her | Liza Desya | Sheridan College

Special Mention 1: Fleeting: Here and There | Gilnaz Arzpeyma | Concordia University

Special Mention 2: The GOAT | Alexandra Ouchev | Dawson College

Best Script: All Those Sensations in My Belly | Marko Djeska | Croatia and Portugal

Best Design: Abandoned Village | Mariam Kapanadze | Georgia

Best Animation Technique: Steakhouse | Špela Čadež | Slovenia, Germany, and France

Best Sound Design: A Family That Steals Dogs | John C. Kelley | United States

Jury Comment: A Family That Steals Dogs uses sound to enhance an already visually compelling portrayal of the loneliness of grief and the consequential chaos in the mind. The comforting sounds of fire crackling and rain falling make us feel more isolated while the otherworldly tones are hauntingly soothing, reinforcing the tension between the protagonist’s conflicting thoughts and emotions as we become familiar with the unfamiliar and vice versa.


Strands of Mind (VR)
Strands of Mind (VR)


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