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‘BoxBallet’ Takes Top Award at GIRAF Indie Animation Fest



North America

‘BoxBallet’ Takes Top Award at GIRAF Indie Animation Fest

The Quickdraw Animation Society has announced the winners of the jury and audience prizes at its 17th annual Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival (GIRAF | The Calgary-based fest took place November 19-28, streaming online across Canada. 

“GIRAF International Animation Festival wonderfully encapsulates the best of contemporary independent animation, bringing together top Canadian talent, as well as animation innovators from around the world. In 2021, its Indie Mixtape genre served up a little bit of everything, the Canadian Showcase featured some of the most beautifully creative works this country has cooked up over the last couple of years, and Cosmic Trips took us to other worlds and back,” said Canadian animator Greg Doble on behalf of the jury. “All this to say, GIRAF 2021 not only had something for everyone, but the best the world has to offer, perfectly curated on their online platform so that you can choose your own adventure! Entranced, shocked, heartbroken, or in stitches laughing, GIRAF 2021 had it all, and I personally can’t wait to see what GIRAF 2022 brings next.”

Doble was joined on the jury by Halifax-based curator, presenter and filmmaker Siloën Daley and by the writer-artist collective of Animation Obsessive.

 My Head Aches When I Look Too Long

My Head Aches When I Look Too Long

Juried Awards

Best Canadian Short Film: My Head Aches When I Look Too Long (dir. Callahan Bracken, 2020)

“A haunting meditation on self-worth, love and loneliness in the world of impersonal online infrastructure. With this painterly film, Bracken expresses mysterious truths about a digital way of life whose implications we’re only just beginning to understand.” – Greg Doble

Honorable Mention: Petal to the Metal (dir. Emily Pelstring, 2020)

“I’m not alone in feeling drawn to something tactile and showing life. Literally placing petals and garden found items to the metals in the alchemy found on light sensitive film stock then hand processing, Petal to the Metal allows the artist to work directly with the film, bypassing the camera lens and creating a beautiful play with nature.” – Siloën Daley

GIRAF Jury Honorable Mentions

GIRAF Jury Honorable Mentions

Best International Short Film: BoxBallet (dir. Anton Dyakov, Russia, 2020)

“The jury’s decision to select this film was swift. Funny and touching, with just-so animation and filmmaking, BoxBallet calls back to the cartoons of the Russian master Eduard Nazarov — while confidently pushing this style forward into the future.” – Animation Obsessive

Honorable Mention: Fall of the Ibis King (dir. Mikai Geronimo and Josh O’Caoimh, Ireland, 2021)

“Tensions build at the opera after the unlikely return of its lead actor. Fall of the Ibis King is a tale of love and jealousy which simmers with emotion throughout and boils to a dramatic crescendo. Directors Mikai Geronimo and Josh O’Caoimh masterfully weave together a story which is visually stunning and had the jury deeply invested in each decision its characters made.” – Greg Doble

GIRAF Jury Special Mentions

GIRAF Jury Special Mentions

Jury Special Mentions:

  • A Bite of Bone (dir. Honami Yano, Japan, 2021) | “There’s something for everyone in A Bite of Bone. From the heartfelt story, the creatively drawn ‘camera work’, to the outstanding technique, the film illustrates a man’s passions that will carry on into the next generation. ‘If you bite the bone you can be with your father forever.’” – Siloën Daley
  • And Yet We’re Not Super Heroes (dir. Lia Bertels, Belgium/Portugal/France, 2021) | “At first in darkness, I was drawn into the mystery. I became part of the story and then when the characters were revealed as high-contrast comic-like illustrations I believed them real. I was already drawn in. As the piece played out the honesty and creativity brought joy and captivated me.” – Siloën Daley
  • Camille (dir. Nathanaël Sonn, France, 2020) | “With the short film Camille, Nathanaël Sonn beautifully crafts a piece that is both visually gorgeous and deeply personal. With a runtime just over three and a half minutes, Camille manages to succinctly bring the audience along for a glimpse into one trans woman’s experience of self doubt and struggle with her past. It’s a tale which portrays an experience that may be foreign to some people, but all too familiar to so many within the LGBTQ2+ community. No matter where you may fall as an audience member, its deeply passionate story will have you captivated and emotionally invested.” – Greg Doble
  • Fledge (dir. Hani Dombe and Tom Kouris, Israel/France, 2021) | “An inspired piece of magical realism. Fledge uses its refreshingly specific and unique premise — a Russian family trying to fit into Israel during the 1990s — to tell a story about heritage, identity and individuality that resonates at the universal level.” – Animation Obsessive
  • Sanctuary (dir. Eva Matejovičová, Czech Republic, 2021) | “Sanctuary brought a ray of light. I recalled the power an animated short film has to connect with its audience — unlike any other medium. I felt blessed to take in this film through the GIRAF festival. Thank you, Sanctuary, for inspiring me and spreading love!” – Siloën Daley
Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics

Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics

Audience Choice Awards

Chosen by viewer ratings.

Canadian Short Film: Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics (dir. Terril Calder, 2021)

“Given its heavy subject matter, steeped in religious indoctrination, colonialism and deep inner turmoil, Meneath seemed like a long shot for an audience award — but it was far and away the festival’s highest rated film. Chalk it up to Terril Calder’s skill at balancing the film’s darker elements with moments of strength and triumph. Calder’s film navigates difficult themes and complex concepts with grace, resulting in a film that is both challenging and absolutely vital.”

Honorable Mention: The Clockwork Elves (dir. Nick Cross, 2020)

“This year’s festival audience wasn’t afraid to go dark. Nick Cross describes his latest film as either ‘a psychotropic exploration of spirituality and death’ or ‘tale of a little goofball hopped up on goofballs.’ It’s macabre, but darkly beautiful, rich in ambiguous imagery and impossible to look away from.”

Love Is Just a Death Away

Love Is Just a Death Away

International Short Film: Love Is Just a Death Away (dir. Bára Anna Stejskalová, Czech Republic, 2020)

“It’s surprising but fitting that a film about a worm piloting the body of a dead dog would be so good at pulling our audience’s heartstrings. Bára Anna Stejskalová’s directorial debut is sweet despite its excess of death and decay. Ultimately a story of a longing for love and connection, it finds humour and warmth in the strangest of places, striking a unique tone that resonated with the GIRAF17 crowd.”

Honorable Mention: Nocturne (dir. Alexander Dupuis, United States, 2020)

“To call Alexander Dupuis’ music video busy would be a dramatic understatement. The rush of colours, patterns and textures in Nocturne‘s 3D world should be utterly overwhelming, but somehow it all works, creating a transcendental trip through rippling, mind-warping worlds, and finding serenity on the far side of excess.”

GIRAF Audience Honorable Mentions

GIRAF Audience Honorable Mentions



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