***Please note: To submit for free, please visit http://giraffest.ca, or use the Friends of GIRAF category with the password that's in the rules and terms below. Otherwise we charge a small submission fee through FilmFreeway to help manage the number of submissions we receive as we have a very small previewing team, and free festivals receive an absurd number of submissions that are often unrelated to the festival's mandate. All submission fees we receive go to a prize for the jury award-winning films.***

An annual animation festival that runs each November at the Globe Cinema in Calgary, Alberta, GIRAF celebrates the spirit of independent, underground, and experimental animation, showcasing Canadian animators and presenting diverse animations from around the globe.

Presented by the Quickdraw Animation Society, a non-profit dedicated to the art of animation, GIRAF is committed to creating greater awareness for animation as an art form. We do this through interactive activities including workshops, artist talks, installations, live performances, and visiting artists (recent guest artists include Evan DeRushie, Renee Zhan, 24MemesPerSecond, Anna Firth, MidKnife Films, Phil Tippet, Amanda Strong, Sean Buckelew, Amy Lockhart, Kirsten Lepore, Caleb Wood, among many others), and through thoughtfully curated screenings.

Our festival focuses on presenting works that push boundaries through the development of new techniques, hybrid forms of creation, and challenging subject matter, and love discovering artists and films that have been missed by other festivals. Mostly, we are looking for independent and artful animated films to share with our audience in Calgary. That can mean abstract or narrative, hand-drawn or computer-generated, student films or well-established professionals, or somewhere in between. We want films we can be excited about, films that are pushing forward what animation can do, and films that make us feel things (even if that feeling is just "oh my gosh, this is ridiculous").

If you want a better sense of what we love, feel free to check out our past selections at http://giraffest.ca, or our ongoing Vimeo channel at https://vimeo.com/channels/indiemixtape

In 2022 we were happy to bring the festival back to the cinema with in-person screenings, however we learned over the pandemic that GIRAF does have an audience online. And screening a festival through secure online platforms does make these films accessible to communities of people that might not be able to make it to the cinema. So in 2024 GIRAF was offered in a hybrid (online and in-person) festival format for the first time in it's 18 year history. We are hoping to keep this mix of in-person and online format for GIRAF 20!

GIRAF believes in the payment of artist fees for all selected filmmakers. Artists will be paid a screening fee of approximately $80CAD for the presentation of their film at GIRAF.

We have two juried prizes, for best Canadian short film and best International short film. Funds raised through FilmFreeway submissions will go towards a cash prize for these two awards, which in 2023 worked out to approx. $200CAD for each of the winners—although we still encourage you to submit for free at http://giraffest.ca. Because the prize is based on submissions, we won't know the total value until submissions close.

The jury also has discretion to award honourable mentions to other films they find noteworthy.

An Audience Choice Award is selected through audience ballots at each screening.

Last year's winners were:
Best International Short:
dir. CHLOÉ ALLIEZ, VIOLETTE DELVOYE, 2021, France Belgium

Best Canadian Short:
dir. MICHELLE LONGPRE, 2022, Canada

Audience Choice (International):
dir. CHLOÉ ALLIEZ, VIOLETTE DELVOYE, 2021, France Belgium

Audience Choice (Canadian):
dir. ALAIN FOURNIER, 2022, Canada

Please, only send us animated short and feature films created on or after January 1, 2022.

No commercial work, please — some of those are super cool, but commercials, explainers, festival stingers and those sorts of things fall outside our festival mandate. Music videos are a grey area, and we don't book them very often, but if you've made a particularly amazing one, feel free to give it a shot.

Also, this festival is aimed at adults, and so we rarely book work that is explicitly targeted to children.

By submitting through FilmFreeway, you are submitting your film for consideration at the GIRAF animation festival in November, 2024. This means you really should be someone who is authorized to distribute the film you are submitting, and you will be held responsible for any issues and fees that arise from any misrepresentation on your part. It also means that the screener link and password will be shared with members of our programming committee, but we promise not to share it outside of that. Submission does not guarantee acceptance. We will contact all invited films at the email address provided, so please double-check that it is correct. No submitted films will be screened without permission from the appropriate rights holder.

If that all seems good to you, and your film fits the description above (not aimed primarily at children, not a commercial work), and you've read all of this, congrats, you are a Friend of GIRAF! Use the password IREADTHERULES to submit your film for free.

Overall Rating
  • Isaac King

    GIRAF is great! Thoughtful programming and great experience overall, despite the online format this year.

    December 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks, Isaac!