Ottawa International Animation Festival

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The poster for OIAF 2019. Design by Steve Angel.

The Ottawa International Animation Festival is an annual animated film and media festival that takes place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The OIAF was founded in 1975, with the first festival held from August 10 to 15 in 1976.[1] Initially organized by the Canadian Film Institute on a biennial basis and with the co-operation of the International Animated Film Association, the Festival organization now remains in the hands of the CFI. It moved from a biennial to an annual festival in 2005. Today the festival is recognized as the largest animation festival in North America, and regularly attracts upwards of 25,000 attendees when it is held each September.[citation needed]


The Ottawa International Animation Festival was founded in 1975 by various figures in the world of Canadian animation, most prominently Bill Kuhns, Frederik Manter, Prescott J. Wright, Frank Taylor, and Kelly O'Brien. Many Canadian film and media institutions, such as the National Film Board of Canada, Télévision de Radio-Canada, CBC Television, and Cinémathèque Québécoise also played a fundamental role in building the festival into its present state.

Canada's national capital Ottawa was chosen as the host city due to its already strong film culture, being the former home of the NFB as well as many of Canada's first animation studios. Additionally, Ottawa was (at the time) home of famed Canadian animator and filmmaker Norman McLaren, who went on to be recognized for his contributions to the field of animation by the festival as its first Honorary President.

The OIAF experienced a brief change of location in 1984 when it was moved to Toronto and subsequently to Hamilton, Ontario in 1986 before settling back in Ottawa in 1990, where it has remained since. In 1999 the festival office suffered a fire, leading to many of the files from past years being lost. Nevertheless, the festival has continued to thrive. In 1997 the Ottawa International Student Animation Festival (SAFO) was founded and held in alternate years to the larger OIAF. In 2005 the OIAF moved from biennial to annual and as such the student categories became part of the main festival.

In 2002 the festival premiered its business conference component, originally called the Television Animation Conference and now known simply as The Animation Conference or TAC. The Animation conference runs concurrently with the festival and is aimed more at industry professionals than the general public, providing those in the animation industry an opportunity to network with their colleagues.

Today the OIAF continues to grow and is known in the festival world for its practice of pitting both commercial and independent projects in competition with one another, a strategy which leads to a wide breadth of styles and formats. The OIAF features traditionally-drawn animated films, animation made with computer graphics, and more recently, even projects made in virtual reality.

Grand prize winners[edit]


The following venues host events and screenings during the Ottawa International Animation Festival:


  1. ^ Levy, David B. (May 1, 2006). "The Ottawa International Animation Festival". Your Career in Animation: How to Survive and Thrive. Allworth Press. p. 225. ISBN 1581154453.
  2. ^ Ottawa International Animation Festival Announces 2020 Winners|Skwigly Animation Magazine
  3. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (2016-09-25). "'J'Aime les Filles,' 'Louise' Take Ottawa Grand Prizes". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 2016-09-29.

External links[edit]