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Come join us for the May long weekend for an animation making challenge!


May 20, 2022May 23, 2022

Long-Weekend Animation Challenge!!


2011 10th ave SW, Calgary AB T3C 0K4



For the past 15 years, intrepid teams of animators would spend four days over the May long weekend locked in the Quickdraw Animation Society studios making brand-new animated films from start to finish during our annual ANIMATION LOCKDOWN production event! We jam as many animators as possible into the studios, working shoulder-to-shoulder, sleeping under desks, sharing meals, and getting sloppy until the morning light. Participants will enter the studios on Friday night, and leave Monday afternoon having created incredible new animated films eligible for amazing prizes.

This year, the Quickdraw Animation Society will be participating nationally with the 48 Film Festival. This partnership won’t change the legacy of QAS’ own Lockdown. However, it does mean that TWO SHORT FILMS from each participating area will be selected for an in-person screening in Spring 2023 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto!


This year’s theme is IMPOSSIBLE SHAPES. You know, optical illusions that seem to represent the 3D world, however when you look deeper into its construction, converging lines and perspective rendering techniques trick the retina into a forever-search of the abyss that is vanishing point. Penrose triangle, Penrose stairway, Freemish crate and the impossible trident are the popular anomalies that you won’t find in nature, but maybe will find in an artist's math workbook. 

M.C. ESCHER used IMPOSSIBLE SHAPES in a search for endlessness, repetitions, patterns, dimension of space - But you might interpret IMPOSSIBLE SHAPES as being a bad hair day, or , or a dress that would be ~impooooosssible~ to move in. 

Examples and Inspiration:


This year’s Animation Lockdown will be held in-person and on-site, from Friday, May 20th through Monday, May 23rd, 2022 (Orientation and onboarding will be Friday May 20th 7PM - 9PM) We are excited to return to in-person and to share the studio together!

  • 1x SECRET CAMERA TECHNIQUE: We will announce the specific technique  on the first day. You must use this technique for at least one shot of your film.
  • 1x SECRET EDITING TECHNIQUE: We will announce the requirement  on the first day. 
  • 1x SECRET LANGUAGE: Details to be unveiled on the first day!
  • 1x SECRET LOCAL MUSIC PICK: You must incorporate at least 1x track into your film, however you wish. You do NOT have to use the full track, or make a music video! However, you DO have to use one of these selections. You could even use it to spice up your opening title or credits!

Films that do not incorporate the above theme and technical requirements, or are not finished and uploading by 6pm on Monday May 23 2022, may not be included in the screening and will not be eligible for the National 48 challenge and/or prizes.

Participants can work by themselves, or form a team. Teams are not required, but can be a fun way to collaborate with your pals. In your registration, please indicate if you are a solo participant that would like to work with others. We will try to pair you up with teams of 2-4 people. 

QAS Staff will be on-site/available during the entire event for help, tech assistance, and moral support.

The Lockdown is intended to be an in-person event, but you are allowed to work from your own home studio. If you do decide to work from home, please indicate in your registration. Understand that home-studio workers are still expected to come in-person to the orientation and Saturday/Sunday dinners, and deliver your film in-person on a physical hard drive. We cannot provide rental equipment for those working at home, as that equipment is reserved for all in-person participants, so if you choose to work from home you must have access to everything you need. 

 Participation is limited to Producing Members who are local+. You must be a current Producing Member to play, and if your membership is expiring soon you will be asked to renew your QAS membership.

By “local+” we mean we can only support Calgary-area animators, Alberta artists, and the QAS global diaspora. This is NOT a worldwide event, we do not have the capacity to host this event for new folks from away who do not have a previous connection to our Society. Reach out if you want to participate but aren’t sure if you are eligible.

Animation experience isn’t necessary, but is highly recommended – this isn’t an intro to animation workshop. New animators, students, and those just starting out are welcome, as are experienced animators wanting a new challenge. Some familiarity with your production method of choice is recommended as well, since we won’t be able to teach you a new software skill over the weekend. We will troubleshoot and advise as best we can.

Older youth (13+) are welcome to participate but must have adult supervision. If we get enough youth we may recommend they team up. Anyone under 18 is advised to have their guardian contact us in advance of registering.

Quickdraw aims to create a safe and welcoming space for all members, and we want our participants to reflect the diversity of our community. We strongly encourage Indigenous peoples, official language minorities, people with disabilities, racialized people and women to register. If you may encounter physical, mental, financial, or other barriers to participation, please let us know and we will do our best to support you.

QAS reserves the right to cancel or refuse registrations, cap the number of participants, or remove participants before or during the event. Signing up is not a guarantee you will participate. We’ll try our best to accommodate everyone, but disrespectful behaviour, harassment, or otherwise unchill actions towards other participants or QAS Staff will get you removed from the event.


This is a long-weekend event, broken up into three distinct phases. How you manage your time is up to you.

  • Email Erin to confirm what gear you need for the Lockdown event. This can include requesting specific studio space, but understand that we need to share.  
  • Any questions, email: production@quickdrawanimation.ca
  • We will host an in-person orientation to introduce the Lockdown, meet each other, and reveal the KEY (aka technical requirements) on Friday, May 20, 2022 at 7pm. The requirements will also be sent out over email.

You can start animating after 7pm Friday, once the challenges have been released. Take the time to do your pre-production, start storyboarding, watch online tutorials, get supplies, choose your music track, etc.

  • QAS Staff will support work sessions and tech support 10am to 8pm for each of the four days.
  • Participants have these four days to complete the bulk of their animation. You’re welcome to keep your own hours, work all night, etc. but support will only be available during the times listed above. (We have to sleep sometime…)
  • QAS will provide dinner on Saturday and Sunday - let us know your dietary restrictions when you register!
  • Online resources, cloud storage, and video chat services will be available to participants 24/7. After hours will not be moderated, so use at your own risk.
  • You should aim to have most of your animation production finished by end of day Sunday. Leave yourself time for sound, editing, and troubleshooting!
  • QAS Staff will be supporting participants 10am to 6pm on Monday
  • Final, rendered films WITH SOUND are due at 6pm on Monday May 23, uploaded (or uploading) to QAS FilmDrop server at HQ

Again, any films that haven’t begun uploading by 6pm on May 23, 2022 may not be screened, and will definitely NOT be eligible for prizes.

During the Animation Lockdown we encourage you to join us at HQ to share your daily updates, meet other animators, and hang out - we will be offering dinner on Saturday and Sunday plus plenty of snacks and chances to meet fellow animators participating!


Please go to THE SIGN-UP PAGE to see a full breakdown of costs for our lockdown!


We will award the following prizes at the in-person screening on JUNE 4, 2022 at Contemporary Calgary's DOME theatre


Top-scoring film, weighted 1 (ok) to 5 (amazing)


2nd top-scoring film


3rd top-scoring film


Sponsored by CAOS

$200 cash prize, selected by a jury of experienced animators and curators.




Thanks to:

  • Calgary Animated Objects Society
  • Shelf Life Books
  • Pages Books
  • Sunnyside Art Supply
  • Stash Needle Art Lounge
  • Blackbird Myoozik
  • Another Dimension Comics
  • CJSW


All participants in the lockdown are expected to follow the set standards listed in our Code of Conduct to ensure a safe space for all members.

The Code of Professional Conduct indicates the expected standards of professional conduct for participants of the Animation Lockdown but is not an exhaustive list of such standards. In the event that the set standards are not met by a participant, they will be given up to one warning depending on the circumstance of the misdemeanour. If participants continue to ignore the set standards, they will be removed from the lockdown and all equipment/software shall be returned immediately. In such a case, they will NOT receive a refund. Quickdraw has no tolerance for ignorance or misconduct. We pride ourselves on being a safe space of inclusivity and community which applies to our online services, workshops, classes etc. 

Click here to read the terms