Skip To Content

North America’s largest animation festival announces official selections for its 45th year

By Apartment613 on July 20, 2021

Curators of the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) announced their official selection of films for its 45th edition.

The festival organizers drew their selection from a record-breaking 2,528 entries from more than 100 different countries.

Canadian creators are well represented in this year’s festival curation: Among the official selections, 35 Canadian films and series made the cut. In the panorama screenings, 18 Canadian films were selected.

Festival goers can look forward to animations spanning genres like comedy, horror, absurdity, and drama.

More films, screenings, industry talks, and events are expected to be announced before the festival unfolds virtually from from Sept. 22 to Oct. 3.

This year’s slate of Canadian films don’t shy away from the social and political problems that have been thrown into sharper relief in recent years.

“This crop of Canadian competitors features an array of innovative techniques and designs from almost every corner of Canada, along with stories and themes that tackle an assortment of preoccupations and challenges like residential schools,” says the festival’s Artistic Director Chris Robinson in a press release.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by OIAF (@ottawa.animationfestival)

Meneath: Hidden Island of Ethics (Terril Calder) explores the challenges of a young girl examining her mixed European and Indigenous ancestry. Calder, a Métis artist from Port Frances, Ont. who’s currently based in Toronto, refuses to shy away from the subject’s complexity.

Angakuksajaujuq, or The Shaman’s Apprentice (Zacharias Kunuk) is another film that’s sure to be an audience favourite. Kunuk, an Inuk artist based in Iglulik, Nvt., won the Fipresci Award for this animation at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival this year. Kunuk’s film follows the journey of a young shaman who must face her first test and understand why a member of her community has become ill.

Ottawa is represented in the Canadian Student competition by Algonquin College students Isaac Lyons and Noah Henman.

Algonquin College is gaining a reputation for its animation program, ranked in 2020 as one of the top animation colleges internationally by Animation Career Review, a leading resource for aspiring animators worldwide.

The school has provided top notch talent to major studios such as Disney and Nickelodeon, as well as at the many studios that make up Ottawa’s thriving animation industry.

A crown jewel in Canada’s animation industry, the National Film Board (NFB) has a solid showing at this year’s OIAF with films in both the Official Competition and Canadian Panorama. Affairs of the Art (Joanna Quinn and Les Mills) was a favourite at Annecy 2021, winning the jury’s “Special Distinction for Direction” award. Mauvaises herbes (Claude Cloutier) is sure to visually stun audiences by taking them to a bizarre world populated by carnivorous plants. Impossible Figures and other stories (Marta Pajek) is the final installment in Pajek’s trilogy and explores the dichotomy of what was and could have been.

Other Canadian competition highlights include Guillaume Pelletier-Auger’s visual feast, What the Walls Feel as they Stare at Rob Ford Sitting in his Office and Brandon Blommaert’s electric +.

This year’s virtual Ottawa International Animation Festival runs from September 22 to October 3, 2021. Visit for the complete schedule and lineup.