'Miserable Miracle', 'Adam Changes', 'Zima' in the Ottawa International Animation Festival 2023 Winners

When Adam changes animation still / OIAF Winner 2023

The 2023 Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF, 20-23 Sep) awarded 'Miserable Miracle (dir. Ryo Orikasa) the Grand Prize for Short Animation and 'When Adam Changes' (dir. Joël Vaudreuil) the Grand Prize for Feature Animation respectively. Canadian animated short, 'Albums de familles' (Families' Albums) (dir. Moïa Jobin-Paré), takes home the award for Best Non-Narrative Short. 

This year’s DGC Award for Best Canadian Animation winner, 'Un trou dans la poitrine' (A Crab in the Pool) (dirs. Alexandra Myotte and Jean-Sébastien Hamel) was an essay on children's trauma.

The OIAF’s award n memory of the late Hélène Tanguay, the Hélène Tanguay Award for Humour, was awarded to the queer film 'Pipes' (dirs. Kilian Feusi, Jessica Meier, and Sujanth Ravichandran).
'Electra' by the Oscar-nominated Daria Kashcheeva, a film that retells the Greek myth in a stop-motion setting, was awarded the Wacom Public Prize. Best Narrative Short, 'Zima' (dir. Tomek Popakul and Kasumi Ozeki), painted a portrait of a world turned inhospitable leaving audiences to question their perception of self.

All winners:

Grand Prize for Short Animation

Winner: Miserable Miracle (dir. Ryo Orikasa)

Jury Comment: This film embraces animation as an intoxicating cocktail of image, word, and movement. It activates the spectator’s hallucinatory and synaesthetic sensibilities. For exploring the boundaries of animation and affirming it as a timeless and poetic art form, the jury awards the grand prize to Ryo Orikasa’s Miserable Miracle.

Grand Prize for Animated Feature

Winner: Adam change lentement (When Adam Changes) (dir. Joël Vaudreuil)

Jury Comment: This film about an impressionable teenager left an impression on us.  For the filmmaker’s skillful walk of the delicate line between irony and sincerity; for his mastery of the absurd; for the detail and precision of his artistic approach; and authentic heartfelt humour, this year’s Grand Prize winner for Best Animated Feature is Adam change lentement (When Adam Changes) by Joël Vaudreuil.

Wacom Public Prize
Winner: Electra (dir. Daria Kashcheeva)

DGC Award for Best Canadian Animation
Winner: Un trou dans la poitrine (A Crab in the Pool) (dirs. Alexandra Myotte and Jean-Sébastien Hamel)

Comment: For its daring, inventive, and sensitive approach to a difficult subject, and for its representation of how the imagination can transform trauma, the DGC Award for Best Canadian Animation goes to Un trou dans la poitrine (A Crab in the Pool) by Alexandra Myotte and Jean-Sébastien Hamel.

  • Honourable Mention: La fille au béret rouge (The Girl with the Red Beret) (dir. Janet Perlman)
     Comment: For its playful, joyful, kinetic, irrepressible exploration of Canada's oldest metropolis, Montréal, we give an Honourable Mention to Janet Perlman's La fille au béret rouge (The Girl with the Red Beret).
  • Honorable Mention: A Bear Named Jesus (dir. Terril Calder)
    Comment: For its witty, insightful, and penetrating exploration of the cultural consequences of European Christian colonization on Indigenous people, we give an Honourable Mention to Terril Calder's A Bear Named Jesus.


Hélène Tanguay Award for Humor

Winner: Pipes (dirs. Kilian Feusi, Jessica Meier, and Sujanth Ravichandran)
Comment: This year, we are presenting the Hélène Tanguay Award for the first time. Hélène loved to laugh and this award crowns a film whose humor matches her irreverent spirit. The Hélene Tanguay Award goes to a festive film that reminds us to always maintain the right level of pressure. Because, whether it’s blood circulation, sexual health, or plumbing, happiness is often a matter of pipes. The winner is Pipes by Kilian Feusi, Jessica Meier, and Sujanth Ravichandran.

Animated Short Competition - Category Prizes

Best Non-Narrative

Winner: Albums de familles (Families' Albums) (dir. Moïa Jobin-Paré)

Jury Comment: Best Non-Narrative: This film expertly combines a number of animation techniques into a meditation on photographic memory and materiality. For embracing cinematic experiences that exceed description, the jury recognizes Moïa Jobin-Paré’s Families' Albums.

Best Narrative

Winner: Zima (dir. Kasumi Ozeki and Tomek Popakul)

Jury Comment: The jury spent half of the night deliberating and discussing this haunting film. The filmmaker offers a deeply unsettling portrait of a world turned inhospitable and asks what it means to survive such a world physically and spiritually. For its striking narrative and artistic vision, the jury recognizes Kasumi Ozeki and Tomek Popakul’s Zima.

Best Commissioned

Winner: 14th Anibar Animation Festival Trailer 'Love' (dir. Sander Joon)

Jury Comment: This commissioned film captures the sense of celebration and communion at the heart of a film festival. For its economic worldbuilding and joyful design, the jury recognizes Sander Joon’s 14th Anibar Animation Festival Trailer 'Love'.

Bento Box Award for Best Student Animation
Winner: Cyclepaths (dir. Anton Cla)

Jury Comment: This film takes confident risks with its aesthetic choices and allows for ambiguity. For its uncanny and foreboding portrait of societal disorder, the jury recognizes Anton Cla’s Cyclepaths.

NBCUniversal Award for Best Canadian Student

  • Winner: Between You and Me (dir. Cameron Kletke, Emily Carr University of Art + Design)
  • Honourable Mention: Ruines d'équinoxe (Ruins of Equinox) (dir. Philippe Shewchenko, Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema - Concordia University)
  • Honourable Mention: Bliss (dir. Nadya Aubrey, Université du Québec à Montréal)

Animation for Teen Audiences 13+ Competition:  Winner: Daffy in Wackyland (dir. Max Winston)
Animation for Young Audiences 7+ Competition:

  • Winner: The Goose (dir. Jan Mika)
  • Honorable Mention: Swimming With Wings (dir. Daphna Awadish Golan)
  • Honorable Mention: Indlela Yokuphila (The Soul's Journey) (dirs. Dylan McGarry and Marc Moynihan)

Animated Series Competition
Winner: Haha, You Clowns 'Episode 1: Movie Night' (dir. Joe Cappa)
Comment: ​​Flipping the teen trope on its head, this is a work about how masculinity can be compassionate, kind, and gentle. It’s also a strangely touching work about grief and family that celebrates kindness, something we desperately need in this divisive and distracted time. The winner of the Best Animated Series goes to Ha Ha, You Clowns by Joe Cappa.

Virtual Reality Competition

Winner: My Inner Ear Quartet (dir. Koji Yamamura)
Comment: For its handcrafted feel and heartfelt storyline that weaves simple interactivity with a gentle but powerful narrative voice, the jury awards the Award for Best Virtual Reality Animation to My Inner Ear Quartet by Koji Yamamura.

Animated Short Competition - Craft Awards

Best Script

Winner: Box Cutters (dir. Naomi van Niekerk)

Jury Comment: Narratives of gender-based violence were a recurring theme in this year’s Festival. The jury recognizes Naomi van Niekerk’s Box Cutters for its sensitive and carefully plotted storytelling approach to this theme. The film loosely adapts a poem into a complex witness testimony with a thought-provoking conclusion.

Best Design

Winner: Furrie (dir. Lucie Grannec)

Jury Comment: This film’s design has an architectural sensibility and a juicy color palette. For its clever blend of analog and digital aesthetics, the jury would like to recognize Furrie by Lucie Grannec.

XPPen Award for Best Animation Technique

Winner: The Miracle (dir. Nienke Deutz)

Jury Comment: This film’s central technique is essential to its multilayered portrait of the character’s relationship to her body and environment. For its powerful use of transparent and opaque materials, the jury recognizes Nienke Deutz’s The Miracle.

Best Sound Design
Winner: Eeva (dirs. Morten Tšinakov and Lucija Mrzljak)

Jury Comment: The precise balance of sonic effects and silence was integral to the atmosphere and themes of this film. For its compelling use of sound to reveal character interiority and build audiovisual humour, the jury would like to recognize Morten Tšinakov and Lucija Mrzljak’s Eeva


Jury: Jessica Borutski (Canada), Xi Chen (China), Joel Frenzer (United States), Alla Gadassik (Canada), Parissa Mohit (Canada), and Matthew Rankin (Canada) as jurors for this year’s Official Competition.
Jury (feature films): Jessica Borutski, Joel Frenzer, and Matthew Rankin.
Jury (short films).  Xi Chen, Alla Gadassik  and Parissa Mohit.
The Kids Jury included children from the Ottawa area between the ages of 8-12, who selected the winners of the Young Audiences 7+ Competition, while the Teen Audiences 13+ competition was decided by the Teen Vote @ OIAF Public Prize.

Ottawa International Animation Festival took place 20-24 September 2023.

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