Grant Writing Season is upon us! Click here to register for our online grant writing workshop

GIRAF19 Awards

We’re proud to share the winners of this year’s jury and audience prizes at GIRAF 19!

We’re proud to share the winners of this year’s jury and audience prizes at GIRAF. This year's jury included our visiting artist Emily Pelstring, a master of the witchcraft in animation (and, the winner of the honorable mention Top Canadian film in GIRAF17 for her film Petal to the Metal!) Laura Harrison, an American artist and animator of The Limits of Vision (a part of this year's Late Night: Testimonials pack!), and Teresa Tam, a visual artist whose practice utilizes spaces and experiences that are familiar and then alter them into something a bit foreign through re-interpreting and re-creating.

We're grateful to the jury for working their way through all the short films, experiencing them with the live GIRAF 19 crowd (as well as the 2nd floor of Quickdraw for the few they couldn't catch due to flight traffic!) and all the difficult deliberations they had with each other in order to arrive at the award-winners below.


Jurying a film festival like GIRAF demands that you give screening after screening your full attention, try to remember everything you saw, and then compare apples and oranges. After watching what felt like hundreds of short animations in the span of one weekend, with eyeballs glued open, it’s amazing that we are still able to form coherent sentences. Yet, here we are, and we have the incredibly warm and enthusiastic community around this festival and Quickdraw to thank for making this process fun and fascinating.

We knew making choices would be a challenge after seeing the quality and range of films in the first screening. Each one had something special to offer to audiences, whether it was a truly innovative style, a new technique, an original way of telling a story, or some ineffable charm. The three of us all have different tastes, concerns, and things that move us based on our own experiences. But we also enjoyed the opportunity to notice what makes a film work for us, and we embraced the challenge of articulating that to each other. We loved so many of the films for different reasons and are thrilled to honour these selections as ones that stood out.

- Emily Pelstring, Laura Harrison & Teresa Tam


Our jury awards for Best Canadian Short Film and Best International Short Film.

JURY AWARD for GIRAF19 - a crab in the pool dir. alexandra myotte, jean-sebastien TOP CANADIAN SHORT FILM.

Shows a screenshot of a boy holding a hot dog and looking lightly shocked

This film’s eccentricity had a purpose within the narrative and felt true to a child’s perspective. The transitions between fantasy and reality were handled beautifully. The meaning of the narrative was revealed slowly and with subtlety, offering audiences an emotionally moving window into the experience of grief. We also appreciated the details that transport us to suburban Quebec.

honourable mention top can. short film

cut knife creek
dir. beric manywounds, ben pipstem, alanna bluebord-onespot, ryan von hagen

We would like to commend this film for the unique way that animation is used to archive oral tradition and as an important means of record-keeping. It feels like this story is part of a much longer story, one which we hope continues to be interpreted through animation.

jury award
top international short film
the house of loss dir. jinkyu jeon

The way this story is animated is bound with everything it asks the viewer to reckon with: generational divides; the inevitably changing world; care for the suffering. The film helps us access painful states of being in an uncompromising way, ultimately allowing us to be softened by the tenderness of holding loss without release or solution.

jury award giraf19
honourable mention top int. short film
i'm late
dir. sawako kabuki

screenshot shows a woman looking to the top right of the frame. She has long hair and is wearing a pink t shirt

We were struck by the variety of testimonials of bodies that can and are often expected to experience pregnancies. The short film was a poignant confrontation with the anxiety around childbirth.


The film takes one by surprise with its way of disintegrating bodies and relationships. With its dissolving boundary lines, it expresses a dissolution of self that one might feel in becoming a parent.

We appreciated the sideways humour of this film, which snuck up on us as the film escalated in self-reflexivity and took one witty, surprising turn after another.

The very beautifully executed oil-painted style, reminiscent of Corot, lends itself well to the long-ago mythological feeling of the story.

This contemporary film made in the tradition of visual music harkened back to Norman MacLaren with its use of recognizably hand-made optical sound. The precision of the synaesthetic audiovisual play, the quality of the sound production and the composition of the soundscape made this film stand out.


We ask our audience to rate all the shorts they watch at GIRAF, so we can say with mathematical certainty that the films below are the selections that blew their minds.

Congratulations to all the filmmakers!




Laura Harrison

Laura lives and works in Chicago. Her animations focus on marginalized, social outcasts with their own sub cultures. These fringe characters provide a focal point for her concerns with diaspora, trans humanism, gender and the loss of touch in an overwhelmingly visual world.

Teresa Tam

Teresa is a visual artist whose practice utilizes spaces and experiences that are familiar and then alter them into something a bit foreign through re-interpreting and re-creating. Her work is also developed to include and emphasize visitor interactions as integral components. She focuses on themes that touch upon alienation within nebulous belonging, excessive labour, and an obsession with objects that contextualizes relationships and realities of diaspora individuals.

Emily Pelstring

Emily Pelstring is an artist and filmmaker, and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Film and Media at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Her work across media installation, experimental film, and performance situates the moving image and sound in relation to overlapping concepts drawn from science, magical traditions, and religious texts. Her artistic inquiries bring together questions around the contingency of the cinematic spectacle: the interdependence of space, bodies, electricity, apparatus, and cultural perceptions. Her projects have been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council, and exhibited internationally in museums, galleries, DIY spaces, and festivals. Emily is engaged in ongoing artistic collaborations with Jessica Mensch and Katherine Kline, her “sister-crones” in the trio The Powers, and was a core organizer of an international symposium called The Witch Institute, which brought together scholars, artists, and practitioners to explore the figure of the witch in art and media.


Congratulations to all filmmakers, what a fantastic time GIRAF19 was! See you all next year!