Ottawa International Animation Festival

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Kihachiro Kawamoto at the 2006 Ottawa International Animation Festival, sitting next to the puppet of the main character from his film "The Book of the Dead".

The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is an animation film festival in Ottawa, established in 1976. Its current festival director is Chris Robinson.[1]


In 1976, the Canadian Film Institute founded the biennial Ottawa International Animation Festival. First held August 10 to 15, 1976, the OIAF created a gathering place for North American animation professionals and enthusiasts to ponder the craft and business of animation. It also provided their international colleagues with a unique opportunity to gain an appreciation for and access to the North American scene.

Canada's capital was a natural choice for an international animation festival. Home to animation innovator Norman McLaren, some of Canada's first private animation studios, and the former headquarters of the National Film Board, Ottawa's animation community provided a nurturing atmosphere for the fledgling festival.

In 1997, the OIAF launched the International Student Animation Festival of Ottawa (SAFO). Held in alternate years to the OIAF, the SAFO was created to provide a venue for student and emerging animators to draw extra attention to their work. Children, high school, undergraduate, graduate and first-time filmmakers were provided with a distinct venue to show their films, discuss issues, and meet other young filmmakers, animation educators, and industry representatives. When the OIAF moved from a biennial to an annual festival in 2005, the student categories become a part of the main festival.

Since the beginning, the OIAF has put out a call for entries for films to compete for festival prizes, including the prestigious Grand Prize, the festival's highest honour. Beginning with just over 400 films at the 1976 festival, the number of entries received for OIAF 09 was a record-breaking 2,185 films, the most entries ever received by any international animation festival to date.

To further meet industry needs, the OIAF organized its first-ever Television Animation Conference (TAC) in 2004, a chance for Canadian and international animation producers, broadcasters, and buyers to network, discuss industry issues, and do business. The two-day annual conference is held during the festival at the Chateau Laurier Hotel in downtown Ottawa.

Founded at the dawn of computer animation, the festival continues to display the latest in animation technology, while still celebrating the variety and talent behind so-called traditional animation. From the first computer-generated animation workshop led by National Research Council scientist Nestor Burtnyk in 1976 to the expansion of the New Media category from one umbrella to four sub-categories in 2004, the festival remains on the cusp of animation's cutting-edge.

In 2008, the Ottawa International Animation Festival celebrated its 32nd anniversary with a number of very special events, including a gala screening of Richard Williams’ classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit? in honour of its 20th anniversary. Lauded in the press and enjoyed by thousands of attendees, OIAF 08 not only paid tribute to the past but launched the Festival toward more success in the years to come.

Grand prize winners[edit]


  1. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (6 February 2012). "Meet Mr. Robinson" (Interview). Animation Magazine. Retrieved 13 February 2012. 

External links[edit]