The Quickdraw Animation Society’s
Chris J. Melnychuk Memorial Scholarship
For Emerging Animators

Application Deadline: This Deadline Has Passed! Next Scholarship Applications Will Open in Summer 2016.

Our 2015 – 2016 CJM Scholarship Recipients:

Tank Standing Buffalo

Arielle McCuaig

Rachel Evans

Our 2014 – 2015 CJM Scholarship Recipients:

Yvonne Mullock

Joel Hamilton

Our 2013 – 2014 CJM Scholarship Recipients:

Heather Kai Smith

Eric Smith aka Rak

What is the Chris J. Melnychuk Memorial Scholarship?

The Chris J. Melnychuk Memorial Scholarship is a production-focused program offered by the Quickdraw Animation Society (or QAS) intended to assist individuals in making their first independent animated short film. The scholarship is a non-cash award open to Calgary, AB (and area) artists of all disciplines, at all stages in their careers, who are interested in the art of animation. No previous animation experience is necessary to apply for this scholarship.

This one-year long scholarship will be awarded to two successful applicants per year (September – August). The CJM Memorial Scholarship fosters the development and training of two emerging animators per year thru classes, mentorship, free studio space, free equipment and resource access, and a modest supply budget to create their first independent animated short film. QAS will publically screen the completed films, ideally at our annual GIRAF International Animation Festival the November following the successful completion of the program.

Successful Applicants will receive from QAS:

  • Up to 3 free animation courses at the Quickdraw Animation Society during the 2015 – 2016 course year
  • A one-year producing membership at the Quickdraw Animation Society (value of $50/year) granting access to our studios, equipment, and animation library
  • 1000 production credits (value of $1000)* to be used at the Quickdraw Animation Society for the rental of onsite studio space
  • 1200 production credits (value of $1200)* to be used at the Quickdraw Animation Society for the rental of animation equipment
  • A $200 supply budget (dependent on project needs)
  • Access to an Animation Mentor for the duration of the year
  • Public screening of your finished animation
  • NOTE: 1 production credit is worth $1 of studio or equipment rental at Quickdraw Animation Society and holds no cash value.

Am I Eligible For This Scholarship?

Probably! Our major requirement is that you have not yet made an animated film of significance that has been screened on the festival circuit – you need to be new (or new-ish) to the art of animation.

If you’ve taken courses at QAS or ACAD before, but haven’t yet made your own animated film, you’re totally eligible! Never animated before? You’re eligible too! We have had first-year ACAD students, established visual artists, sculptors, illustrators, experimental filmmakers, musicians, total newbies and more go through this program.

This scholarship is only available to artists based in or around Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This is not a remote opportunity – the scholarship takes advantage of our in-house resources, so being able to come down to QAS for classes, meetings, supplies, books, studio space, etc. is essential.

This scholarship is open to individuals of all genders, backgrounds and abilities. Please note that unfortunately the QAS studios are currently not accessible to individuals with mobility issues – we have a huge flight of stairs and no elevator. Let us know if this will be an issue in your application.

Successful applicants are judged by the strength and feasibility of their project proposal (more information below), their portfolio (if applicable), their resume/CV (their experience), the benefit of the scholarship to the applicant, and our assessment of the applicant’s ability to realistically complete a film within the project timeframe.

Sounds Sweet! What Do I Need To Apply?

To be eligible for this scholarship, applications must include the following:

The project proposal is meant to give us an idea of the concept behind your project as well as the techniques you might want to use. This should include a two-to-three-sentence summary of your project, a description of the ideas behind it and what you are hoping to achieve, and information about what animation techniques you would like to explore. Feel free to include any images or materials in with the application if it will give us a sense of what you are proposing, but please keep it concise.

We understand that the project is likely to change and evolve, especially as one takes classes and learns more about the art of animation, but the project proposal allows us to get a sense of your interests and approach. 

NOTE: All animation techniques proposed will be considered for the scholarship, including (but not limited to): hand-drawn, stop-motion, collage, cut-out, cameraless, mixed media, digital, 3D, experimental, etc.


  • Keep your project proposal short, sweet, and concise.
  • Visual examples, concept art, storyboards, or scripts help us but please keep it to the essential items to convey your project idea.
  • If applicable: include some items from your portfolio in the application, don’t just send us to your website. However, if you do have items online (video links, a portfolio page, etc.) please feel free to include links to them.
  • Your proposed film can be experimental, non-narrative, weird, etc. if you want. Or traditional, narrative, cute, etc. We don’t discriminate.
  • The goal of the scholarship is to help you make your first short animated film. Aim to create a film 3 minutes in length or less – anything over 5 minutes is going to be too much work for the scope of this program. This is not a pitch for a feature, TV series, or long-form short. Animation takes a long time to create, so keep it achievable.
  • We love all forms of animation at QAS! Feel free to propose whatever methods you wish to explore, but try to focus on only a few of them for your project. Do not include everything and the kitchen sink in your proposal unless you have a very clear reason for it – for example, “I want to create a short using 3D CGI, stop-motion clay puppets, projection mapping, cameraless animation, 2D hand-drawn, and pixilation…” That’s a lot of techniques to first learn, then use, in a short time-frame. Focus on a few that interest you right now, you can change your mind later.


How Do I Submit My Completed Application?

Please submit all required documents in a zipped folder, PDF Format. Each file and your folder should be labeled in the following format: Yourname_filename.pdf

Submissions are accepted by email only, labeled with the subject line: Chris J. Melnychuk Memorial Scholarship 2015-16: YourName

Send submissions and/or questions about the program or application process to Quickdraw’s Production Coordinator, Tyler Klein Longmire:

File Download: CJM Scholarship Call For Applications PDF; CJM Scholarship Application Form PDF


About Chris J. Melnychuk

Chris J Melnychuk

Chris was a Calgary-based award winning visual artist and filmmaker.  A long standing member at Quickdraw Animation, Chris joined the society in 1997, and dedicated his time to creating animation, teaching, and serving on the Quickdraw Board of Directors, and has since achieved an Honorary Membership for his dedication to the community.  His award winning animated films, Alien and Zap Girl Makes Toast, have toured worldwide, and he had a long-standing commitment to mentoring young artists and animators. 

C’est La Vie: The Chris J. Melnychuk Story documents the award-winning animator’s (Alien, Zap Girl Makes Toast) battle with tongue cancer.  Building on live footage from Chris’s last, unfinished film, C’est La Vie was created posthumously through the collaboration of 19 animators from the Quickdraw Animation Society in Calgary, Canada.  To honour Chris’ legacy, all proceeds from the project go towards supporting the Chris J. Melnychuk Memorial Scholarship – encouraging emerging animators to develop their artistic practice. 


Donate to the Project:



Glenbow Museum – Watch Me Move, Launch Party

Toronto Animated Images Society – Showcase 2012

Prairie Tales 2012, Various Locations

Animation Block Party, 2012

Hiroshima Animation Festival 2012

Ottawa International Animation Festival, 2012

Calgary International Film Festival, 2012

Edmonton International Film Festival, 2012

GAMA – Epcor Center Calgary, Feb 2013


To request a screening, contact


Film Information

Title: C’est La Vie: The Chris J. Melnychuk Story

Duration: 6:47

Year of Completion: 2011

Animators:  Micheal Welchman, Leslie Bell, Alan Ferguson, Richard Reeves, Kim Anderson, Melanie Aikenhead, Ola Birch, Ross Gibb, Caitlind r.c. Brown, Ryan McClure Scott, Brian Batista, Jessi Schroeyers, Tyler Frederick, Sitji Chou, Kristen Campbell, Jennifer Vallis, Katie Burns, Noelle Shaw, R.J. Taylor

SoundTrack: Wayne Garrett

Project Director: Karilynn Thompson

Editing: Brian Batista and Karilynn Thompson

© 2016 Quickdraw Animation Society. All rights reserved.