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

Applications for the 2016 – 2018 Intake are now open! Submissions are due September 10 2016 at 12:00pm (noon.)

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.

The CJM Memorial Scholarship fosters the development and training of two emerging animators per calendar year through 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 publicly screen the completed films, ideally at our annual GIRAF International Animation Festival the November following the successful completion of the program.

PLEASE NOTE: We are changing the timeline of the CJM Scholarship this year from a 12-month program to an 18-month program. These new timelines are non-negotiable.

This eighteen-month long scholarship will be awarded to two successful applicants every September, with the program broken down into two phases: EDUCATION and PRE-PRODUCTION (September 2016 – April 2017) and PRODUCTION/POST-PRODUCTION (April 2017 – March 2018).

Successful Applicants will receive from QAS:

  • Up to 3 free animation courses at the Quickdraw Animation Society during the 2016 – 2017 course year
  • A two-year producing membership at the Quickdraw Animation Society (value of $50/year) granting access to our studios, equipment, and animation library
  • Free studio space and computer station for 1 year upon successful completion of classes and acceptance of film pitch
  • 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) available upon successful completion of classes
  • Access to an Animation Mentor for the duration of the scholarship
  • 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.


This year we are changing things up a bit to prevent burnout of our scholarship students, improve outcomes, and to reflect the time it takes to animate a short film.

The successful scholarship applicants are expected to adhere to the timelines laid out below.

September 2016 – April 2017

  • CJM Scholarship students take up to 3 free classes at QAS. We require students with no animation experience take Animation Fundamentals in the fall, and recommend Projects in Animation and After Effects in the winter, but the latter two classes are not required.
  • Students explore animation techniques and make time to do their homework from the QAS classes. (This takes up much more time than you would think.)
  • Students meet regularly with mentors to discuss their short film idea.
  • Students work on their concept, script, storyboards, technique, experiment with equipment, etc.
  • CJM Students do not receive any dedicated studio space or unlock their production credits until the successful completion of classes and finishing their pre-production.
  • QAS will support equipment or short-term studio requests from CJM Scholarship students by request if it is in the interests of the education of the CJM student or to complete their pre-production materials.

April 2017

  • CJM Students and their mentors meet with QAS staff to PITCH their final film.
  • It is totally cool if the film pitched at this meeting is different from the one you pitch when applying for the CJM Scholarship. We expect your idea to change and grow as you study with us.
  • This is the point where you are locking in what you will be spending the next year animating. Of course things change as you go, but this is where you, the scholarship student, and QAS, the producer, commit to bringing your idea to life.
  • QAS may come back saying the film is too ambitious, too long, the technique is something we do not have the resources to support, etc. That is OK! We want you to make the film you dream of! But there are practical considerations as well. We may ask you to change a few things but still accept your pitch.
  • Failure to attend classes, meet with your mentor, do your pre-production planning, or missing the pitch deadline will result in the student NOT receiving free studio space, equipment, rentals, or any production support.

April 2017 – December 2017

  • Upon successful completion of the first half of the scholarship and approval of the student’s film pitch, QAS will provide each CJM Student 1 year of free studio space from April 2017 – March 2018 (inclusive of a computer workstation and peripherals), 1200 production credits, and production support from the QAS Production Coordinator.
  • Students should aim to complete animation production by December 2017 – most of your main animation, scenes, shots, assets, and VFX should be wrapped up by the end of the year.

January – March 2018

  • This phase you should be wrapping up your film – doing your compositing, nailing down your sound design, doing final edits, color grading, fixing up sequences, etc.
  • Work with the QAS Production Coordinator on post-production and ensuring your animation/sound/final render is up to QAS Production Guidelines.
  • Your finished film is due to the QAS Production Coordinator by the end of March 2018.
  • (Of course, if you finish it earlier, we will be very glad and give you lots of compliments and candy.)


Dang, this timeline is too long!

No, our previous timelines were too short. QAS is making a major investment of time and resources into our CJM Scholarship students, and we are changing the program up a little bit to ensure our students can handle the workload, can finish their film without burning out, and do not waste our limited resources.

By adding these pitch deadlines before opening up the studio space and production resources, we can ensure that you are still serious about making a film with us, 8 months from now, once you gain some animation experience. Once you are ready to get into production of your film, you will receive the production resources to make it happen!


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. Our new facilities in Sunalta are much more accessible to people with mobility issues than our old location on 4th Street, but we are still ironing some of the kinks out. Please let us know if accessibility would be of concern in your application and we will work to make sure you can access our resources.

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 2016-18: 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 Call For Applications (.DOCX);

CJM Scholarship Application Form (PDF);

CJM Scholarship Application Form (.DOC);


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

© 2017 Quickdraw Animation Society. All rights reserved.