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GIRAF17 Jury Awards

After hours of viewing and careful deliberation, it's time to announce the winners of this year’s jury prizes at GIRAF17

GIRAF 17 festival poster: a frog eats a fly, its tongue twists to spell out the word GIRAF

We’re proud to share the winners of this year’s jury prizes at GIRAF17. The festival jury was Greg Doble, an animator and director of short animated films currently based in Montreal, QC; Siloën Daley, founder of Halifax's Carbon Arc Cinema and the Animation Festival of Halifax, and currently part of Nelson, BC's Civic Theatre Society; and Animation Obsessive, an outlet run by a small collective of writers and artists in the United States. We're grateful to the jury for working their way through over 11 hours of short films and difficult deliberations to arrive at the award-winners below.

(While you're here, why not look at our Audience Awards?)


GIRAF International Animation Festival wonderfully encapsulates the best of contemporary independent animation, bringing together top Canadian talent, as well as animation innovators from around the world. In 2021, its Indie Mixtape genre served up a little bit of everything, the Canadian Showcase featured some of the most beautifully creative works this country has cooked up over the last couple of years, and Cosmic Trips took us to other worlds and back. All this to say, GIRAF 2021 not only had something for everyone, but the best the world has to offer, perfectly curated on their online platform so that you can choose your own adventure! Entranced, shocked, heartbroken, or in stitches laughing, GIRAF 2021 had it all, and I personally can’t wait to see what GIRAF 2022 brings next.

- Greg Doble

An image of a boxer in a tracksuit with bandages on his face, sitting at a table with a tea cup. Text: Jury Award, Top International Short Film, Boxballet, Anton Dyakov, Russia, 2020

The jury's decision to select this film was swift. Funny and touching, with just-so animation and filmmaking, BoxBallet calls back to the cartoons of the Russian master Eduard Nazarov — while confidently pushing this style forward into the future.

- Animation Obsessive

A figure in leotards hangs from the end of a cable. Text around it reads GIRAF 17 Jury Award, Honorable Mention – Top International Short Film; Fall of the Ibis King; Mikai Geronimo, Josh O'Caoimh; Ireland; 2021

Tensions build at the opera after the unlikely return of its lead actor. Fall of the Ibis King is a tale of love and jealousy which simmers with emotion throughout and boils to a dramatic crescendo. Directors Mikai Geronimo and Josh O’Caoimh masterfully weave together a story which is visually stunning and had the jury deeply invested in each decision its characters made.

- Greg Doble

A close-up drawing of a person cradling their head in their hands. Surrounding text: GIRAF 17 Jury Award, Top Canadian Short Film; My Head Aches When I Look Too Long; Callahan Bracken; Canada; 2020

A haunting meditation on self-worth, love and loneliness in the world of impersonal online infrastructure. With this painterly film, Bracken expresses mysterious truths about a digital way of life whose implications we're only just beginning to understand.

- Greg Doble

A ghostly image of a hand holding a flower. Surrounding text: GIRAF17 Jury Award, Honorable Mention Top Canadian Short; Petal to the Metal; Emily Pelstring; Canada; 2021

I’m not alone in feeling drawn to something tactile and showing life. Literally placing petals and garden found items to the metals in the alchemicy found on light sensitive film stock then hand processing, Petal to the Metal allows the artist to work directly with the film, bypassing the camera lens and creating a beautiful play with nature.

- Siloën Daley

An adult and two children walk through the woods. Surrounding text: GIRAF17 Jury Award; Special Mention; A Bite of Bone; Honami Yano; Japan; 2021

There’s something for everyone in A Bite of Bone. From the heartfelt story, the creatively drawn ‘camera work’, to the outstanding technique, the film illustrates a man’s passions that will carry on into the next generation. “If you bite the bone you can be with your father forever.”

- Siloën Daley

Several silhouetted figures of varying sizes sit in a very large convertible. Surrounding text: GIRAF17 Jury Award; Special Mention; And Yet We're Not Super Heroes; Lia Bertels; Belgium/Portugal/France; 2019

At first in darkness, I was drawn into the mystery. I became part of the story and then when the characters were revealed as high-contrast comic-like illustrations I believed them real. I was already drawn in. As the piece played out the honesty and creativity brought joy and captivated me.

- Siloën Daley

A person sits in a bathtub, their face hidden by their long hair. Surrounding text: GIRAF17 Jury Award; Special Mention; Camille; Nathanaël Sonn; France; 2020

With the short film Camille, Nathanaël Sonn beautifully crafts a piece that is both visually gorgeous and deeply personal. With a runtime just over 3 and a half minutes, Camille manages to succinctly bring the audience along for a glimpse into one trans woman’s experience of self doubt and struggle with her past. It’s a tale which portrays an experience that may be foreign to some people, but all too familiar to so many within the LGBTQ2+ community. No matter where you may fall as an audience member, its deeply passionate story will have you captivated and emotionally invested.

- Greg Doble

A girl with feathers coming out of her skin stares sadly into a bathroom mirror. Surrounding text: GIRAF 17 Jury Award; Special Mention; Fledge; Hani Dombe, Tom Kouris; Israel/France; 2021

An inspired piece of magical realism. Fledge uses its refreshingly specific and unique premise — a Russian family trying to fit into Israel during the 1990s — to tell a story about heritage, identity and individuality that resonates at the universal level.

- Animation Obsessive

A child cuddles a happy dog. Surrounding text: GIRAF17 Jury Award; Special Mention; Sanctuary; Eva Matejovičová; Czech Republic; 2021

Sanctuary brought a ray of light. I recalled the power an animated short film has to connect with its audience — unlike any other medium. I felt blessed to take in this film through the GIRAF festival. Thank you Sanctuary for inspiring me and spreading love!

- Siloën Daley


Animation Obsessive

Animation Obsessive is an outlet for shared passion. Run by a small collective of writers and artists in the United States, it celebrates animation from around the world — including the overlooked and underappreciated stuff. The Animation Obsessive newsletter reaches a global web of professionals, students and enthusiasts in animated art, and has been cited by publications like De Filmkrant, 2x2, Naked Capitalism, The Ringer and more.

Siloën Daley

Siloën Daley has supported the art of cinema for over twenty years as a curator, presenter, and filmmaker. In 2010 she founded the only independent cinema in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Carbon Arc Cinema, as well as the Animation Festival of Halifax. She has attended major film festivals and conferences in North America and Europe, shown her films internationally, and mentored and taught numerous emerging filmmakers. The pandemic helped to inspire a return to her childhood home of Nelson, British Columbia where she is proud to join the team at the Civic Theatre Society and continue supporting independent cinema in Canada.

Greg Doble

Greg Doble is an animator Born and raised in Canada. Since graduating from the Alberta College of Art and Design with a BFA in Media Arts in 2011, Doble has moved to Montreal, QC, where he currently works as an animator and director of short animated films. His work is easily recognizable by its playful absurdity and whimsical nature.