The following is a transcript of our programming director Ryan Von Hagen’s presentation of the volunteer awards at Quickdraw’s 2020 Annual General Meeting.
As the Programming Director, I am usually the first person of contact when people go out to a screening we put on through Saturday MASS or GIRAF, or if they come into QAS looking for more information on classes, want to rent our facilities and/or equipment for a production, or if I meet someone new and they are just curious about QAS.
I find myself always starting with a mouthful — “The Quickdraw Animation Society is a member-driven, artist-run, non-for-profit, charity, dedicated to any and all things animated.” Now all of that is true, but I take a huge amount of pride in that member-driven part. Yes, we have a governance Board of Directors and what I believe to be an amazing staff of Erin, Mihaela, and Peter, along with Tyler — who is finishing up his work in the Production Director position in the short coming.
But what makes QAS so special is that the members take pride in their involvement with QAS. Our members each carry a strong sense of empowerment and ownership for how they can use the space, equipment, and whatever resources to better the community. 2019/2020 saw just over 1700 volunteer hours completed, which is amazing.
First, we would like to acknowledge Mike Hooves, Abbey Bennett, and Nina Patafi with the QAS Outstanding Volunteer Award.
I am so grateful to be at an organization that is able to work alongside its membership and fight for the visibility everyone deserves. For over 15 months Quickdraw was able to form a committee made up, in part, by Mike, Abbey, and Nina to start conversations around queer contributions to animation. We commissioned essays to writers locally and internationally to help start telling the history of queer representation in animation as well as queer filmmakers telling their stories and why that is important.
Even if the stereotype that animators are introverts is true — Nina, Abbey and Mike stepped up and did the work by presenting at GSAs around Calgary, giving out free zines, hosting Q&As, and creating a strong resource for people to see LGBTQ2S+ animation. This was a project where QAS learned from its membership, stepped back to position of support, and offered all of our resources to give it a strong platform to stand on.
Secondly, we would like to acknowledge Toby Duska with the QAS Outstanding Volunteer Award.
This has got to be the fourth time Toby has received this award, and I just had to acknowledge their contributions to QAS again.
When our legendary Quick Kids instructor, JF, announced that he was going to be moving from Calgary and thus stepping away from instructing the Quick Kids course, Toby stepped up. Prior to JF leaving, Toby met with Erin as well as JF to make sure that the Quick Kids students would not miss a beat. This selflessness is what makes QAS tick. Toby has been volunteering in the Quick Kids classroom for around 2 years, the expertise, support, leadership, and care they share in the classroom does not go unnoticed. Thank you Toby can’t wait to see where your future takes you.
We would also like to acknowledge Troy Kokol with the QAS Outstanding Volunteer Award.
Troy is a new member of the society for 2019 and he instantly jumped right into the community. After inquiring about the Chris J. Melnychuk Scholarship, Troy found a home in the Animation Fundamentals class. Every time I would see him after class he would pass me saying, “Man, I love this place. Who knew!” When the volunteer call went out for the GIRAF 15 festival Troy volunteered for every single time slot. Literally every slot — I had to email him a couple times to tell him he couldn’t be in two places at once. He responded with, “shouldn’t be a problem — I’ll just leave 5 minutes early to be 5 minutes late. Oh, and guess who liked my Facebook post about the festival?” (It was Phil Tippett.)
Thank you for your over 20 hours of GIRAF support and having the agency behind your support. GIRAF is our festival! Troy actually just finished an animated music video titled Like a Record that will be premiering on YouTube on July 6th!
We would like to acknowledge Wil Knoll with the QAS Outstanding Volunteer Award.
Wil is a hacker. I don’t know his official title, but he is a computer genius. And Wil used his computer smarts to make a dream of the new QAS studio a reality. A fast, hardwired server that all our computers can access! This is a huge accomplishment for efficient data transfer, QAS legacy documentation, and accessing the mass amount of resources that are available at QAS. Wil put in over 40 hours completing this project when it was just outside of staff capacity. Wil’s efforts in creating the QAS server is something that will affect hundreds of projects going forward and has already changed how we as staff operate day to day!
Last, but not least we would like to acknowledge Tank Standing Buffalo with the QAS Outstanding Volunteer Award.
I could go on and on about Tank’s endless support of the Quickdraw Animation Society from him moving boxes, tables, and chairs with short notice from QAS staff, to him cleaning up the Production hot desks and floors.
What stood out in 2019 was Tank’s agency to see QAS’ resources as his own; to better advance not only his skills as an animator, but at the same time promote QAS. Tank came to Tyler and I in September with the idea of carving pumpkins into an animation at a local Halloween and horror expo, Hex Fest. We all met a couple times to think about the best strategy, equipment, and tools to be successful and then for four days Tank carved pumpkins with a QAS banner overhead and talked to expo goers about the Society. He welcomed other QAS members to join him in the booth and made a really awesome animation. Thanks Tank.
I want to end by saying that those are just some quick stories of members volunteering with us. There are so many people that help hold this co-op society together that really do amazing work in our community. I want to continue to encourage all of our members to be proud of being a part of Quickdraw, take ownership, and know that we will offer our support through resources and platform to make member-driven initiatives successful.