2020 AWARDS
And Special Mentions

We’re excited to be able to announce the winners of this year’s jury prizes at GIRAF. Our thanks go out to this year's awards jury (Laura Anzola, Myfanwy Ashmore, and Court Brinsmead) for their time and deliberation in selecting these films. We know from programming them that picking favourites is next to impossible, but the care and thoughtfulness they brought to the jury process is reflected in this outstanding collection of films.

Jury Awards
AUDIENCE Awards

Our AUDIENCE AWARDS ARE GIVEN TO THE FILMS WITH THE HIGHEST
OVERALL RATINGS FROM THE AUDIENCE BALLOTS ON THE CINESEND PLATFORM.

AUDIENCE
Award
Best
INTER
NATIONAL
Short
Film

Honorable
mention

AUDIENCE
Award
Best
Canadian
Short
Film

In the Shadow of the Pines | Anne Koizumi | Canada | 2020

Honorable
mention

Jury Awards

Our jury awards for Best Canadian Short Film and Best International Short Film both come with a $200CAD cash prize for the filmmakers.

Jury
Award
Best
Canadian
Short
Film

In the Shadow of the Pines | Anne Koizumi | Canada | 2020

Through an endearing combination of stop-motion animation, family photos and archival footage, Anne Koizumi’s beautiful short film offers a highly personal glimpse into her experience growing up between cultural identities in the Calgary suburbs, and the struggles she faced coming to terms with the loss of her Japanese immigrant father — who also worked as a janitor at her school. Exploring themes of shame, grief and otherness, Koizumi’s short film is a well-crafted, emotional journey full of colourful scenes and delicate sets, that will open your heart and make you reflect on the everchanging way we see ourselves and others within the world.

- Laura Anzola

Honorable
mention

WhateverTree | Isaac King | Canada | 2020

The jury enjoyed this thoughtful take on the complexity of social media’s footprint, its impact and its potential to serve as a gateway to appreciating things off screen. The integration of social media screens and interfaces was lovely and showed a delicious attention to detail. 

- Myfanwy Ashmore

Jury
Award
Best
inter
national
Short
Film

Genius Loci | Adrien Mérigeau | France | 2020

Genius Loci was an immediate standout in the festival offerings. It is brimming with gorgeous, poetic imagery. The main character Reine takes a dreamlike odyssey guided by an unseen force and supposes if the sounds of the city can be music, then so too can everyday objects and encounters be art. It’s a dazzling blend of mixed media, narrative and the ineffable, distraction and focus, order and chaos. A real tour de force.

- Court Brinsmead

Honorable
mention

Freeze Frame | Soetkin Verstegen |
Belgium | 2019

Animators are fond of saying that to animate is to imbue with life, not merely create the illusion of movement. Freeze Frame deconstructs and meditates on the very essence of film: as a way to capture, preserve, and commit to memory, and in the process uncovers a means of giving life to something new. Captured in what appear to be glass plate black and white exposures, it is mesmerizingly beautiful on screen. And did we mention parts are animated with ice?

- Court Brinsmead

Jury
Award
Best
Alberta
Short
Film

Stache and the Inner Walk | Joanne Fisher | Calgary | 2020

A thoughtful homage to surrealist artist Salvador Dalí by animator Joanne Fisher fascinates and reminds us of the inherent power of animation and its capacity to give life and personality to anything — in this case, Dalí’s iconic mustache. Excellent use of traditional animation techniques like anticipation, exaggeration and acceleration fills the little Stache with energy and curiosity throughout its surreal journey. These skills, mixed with a great musical score, make us all wish we had such a cool mustache!

- Laura Anzola

Honorable
mention

Darkening | Abbey Bennett | Calgary | 2020

This quirky, relatable animation explores changing states between upbeat, celebratory, spirited moments in tandem with moments of seemingly dark internal conflict, viewed in parallel and intensifying along the way. Feels kind of like November darkness creeping in, or, say, a pandemic…

- Myfanwy Ashmore

Special Mentions

Best
Weird and Wonderful

Now2 | Kevin Eskew | USA | 2019

“Who's grooming whom?” asks animator Kevin Eskew as we’re confronted with poodle robots, kitsch ’90s stock illustrations, metal cutting blades and Jell-O-y puzzle pieces. Now 2 contemplates mundane existence and the underlying machinery of domestic life in suburban America. This short rewards a contemplative viewing, so pour a frothy Miller Lite to drink it in. 

- Court Brinsmead

Best Sound design

Any Instant Whatever | Michelle Brand | UK | 2019

Animator and sound designer Michelle Brand has created a highly dynamic and rhythmically complex feast for the eyes and ears. Opening with a quote from pioneering experimental musician Alvin Lucier’s I am Sitting in a Room, Brand’s electroacoustic soundscape is a complex interweaving of percussive instrumentation, foley sound and field recordings that challenges the way we appreciate the passing of time and the acoustic properties of the spaces we inhabit. Brand’s tightly knit audiovisual composition fills our visual field with images reminiscent of Kandinsky paintings and an aural delicateness that makes us wish we could stop time to appreciate the instances that take place in between. 

- Laura Anzola

Best Experimental Animation

Jo Goes Hunting – Careful | Alice Saey | France, Netherlands | 2020

Alice Saey creates a magical and hypnotic universe, full of detail and mystery, resulting in an absolute delight for the eye. Highly technical shape-shifting patterns offer a refreshing take for a fluid and colorful music video that reminds us of the fragility of our environment and how intertwined we are with it, revealing a new meaning to what it means to be careful. 

- Laura Anzola 

Best Abstract Narrative

Marbles | Natalia Spychala | Poland | 2019

This beautifully rendered animation seemingly draws informed elements and influences of Bauhaus design principles along with whimsical lines akin to Alexander Calder’s mobiles.  Objects become abstracted pendulums become lines become shapes.  A kind of anthropomorphic Rube Goldberg moveable drawing of the passage of time in quotidian life. 

- Myfanwy Ashmore

Special Jury Mention

Hudson Geese | Bernardo Britto | USA | 2019

If David Foster Wallace invites us to Consider the Lobster, so filmmaker Bernardo Britto would have us consider the Canada Goose. And his wife, Sherona. In the turbulent and unflinching jetstream of human progress, this charming dark comedy invites us to take wing with a flock of Canadian Geese. To soar over our cities, consider our connection to the natural order of things, and perhaps ponder our own speciesism. This gem is a perfect blend of comedy and profundity, and a master class of restraint in storytelling.

- Court Brinsmead

Special Jury Mention

SH_T HAPPENS | Michaela Mihályi and David Štumpf | Czech Republic, Slovakia, France | 2019

I loved this gallows humour take on accidents, despair, pain, drowning in sorrow and tenacity of human endurance, wrapped up with a sprinkle of salty hope. 

- Myfanwy Ashmore

Special Jury Mention

Machini | Frank Mukunday and Tétshim | Democratic Republic of Congo | 2019

Self-taught duo Tétshim and Frank Mukunday deliver a poignant commentary on the ongoing human and environmental impacts of the Congolese lithium and cobalt extraction industry that feeds the production of electrical devices used around the globe. Employing a clever use of chalk, stone and rusted metals as source materials, Tétshim and Mukunday create a beautiful and thoughtful organic world that is multilayered and offers clever depth of field and surprising perspectives shifts. Humans made of rocks crumble to pebbles under the weight of manual labour while an ever-expanding cloud of green pollution reminds us that the devices we consume and discard with ease come with an often overlooked cost. 

- Laura Anzola 

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