Artistic Directors

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Artistic Directors

The Festival of Animated Objects (FAO) is seeking candidates for artistic directors. These candidates will be mentored for one year by our current Co-Artistic Directors Xstine Cook and Peter Balkwill. Applications can be sent to the FAO Managing Producer at by January 26, 2024.

Who we are

The FAO is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting mask & puppet related performance, films and artworks. As an incubator and producer of mask, puppetry, and animated objects we are the primary curator and presenter of local, national and international puppetry in Western Canada. We strive to provide Alberta audiences with the chance to experience the breadth and diversity of these innovative art forms.

Vital to the development of puppetry as an art form, the festival not only provides a platform for Alberta creators to showcase their work but is also a forum for an international exchange of ideas, providing learning opportunities for professional and emerging artists, and for the public at large to find expression through animated objects.

We’re looking for individuals who
  • Are passionate about performing, media, and visual arts.
  • Appreciate the magic of puppetry, mask, and animation.
  • Have an artistic background in one or more of these mediums.
  • Are actively involved in one or more of these artistic communities and has an awareness of the landscape of these communities locally, nationally, and globally.
  • Understand the collective nature of presenting a festival and values collaborative and community-driven work, respect and can work within the financial realities of a non-profit organization.
  • Share our values in maintaining an equitable organization, prioritizing the inclusion of racialized, Indigenous, and disabled artists, and ensuring an inclusive and accessible festival for people of all backgrounds.
  • Are available for festival planning and programming year-round.
  • Are local to Calgary or a surrounding area.
Descriptions of Roles

Co-Artistic Director, Live Programming

  • Sources local (Calgary and Alberta-based) and non-local (Canadian and international) artists.
  • Works within the organization’s budget to secure quality programming.
  • Maintains awareness of new live puppetry and mask shows nationally and internationally.
  • Visits other festivals to scout programming (such as Casteliers in Montreal, Bridges in Mississauga, and Festival Mondial in Charleville)*.
  • Maintains relationships with artistic directors of these festivals and arranges co-productions with Montreal and Mississauga when possible.
  • Maintains relationships with artists, arts administrators, sponsors, festival partners, and others in the local community.
  • Liaises with local and non-local artists, and supports planning of tours and productions.

*travel funding may be sought through the individual or the organization

Co-Artistic Director, Screenings & Exhibitions

  • Strong connection to the film community.
  • Curates two collections of animated shorts, or selects and mentors an emerging curator.
  • Selects a feature length animated film and supports its presentation.
  • Maintains and seeks out relationships with community partners like Nanton Grain Elevators, Quickdraw Animation, Nakoda A.V. Club, CUFF, CIFF, etc.
  • Curates exhibitions relating to animated art forms.
  • Expands perspectives of the festival through exhibition artists.
  • Develops and maintains relationships and partnerships with art galleries and other venues for exhibitions, such as window gallery displays.

The artistic director positions are honorarium based. For the first mentored year, the honorarium will be $1,000 each. For the second year, the honorarium will be $5,000 each. These amounts are open for discussion and expansion depending on available grant funding.

  • Interviews will take place in early- to mid-February, with selection by March 1, 2024.
  • Announcement of the newly selected Co-Artistic Director mentees will take place during the 13th Festival of Animated Objects (March 11 – 24, 2024).
  • April 2024 – March 2025: mentored curation and planning for the 14th FAO, for an anticipated 5 hours/month.
  • April 2025 – March 2026: solo artistic direction for the 15th FAO, for 5 – 10 hours/month
How to apply

Please send your CV, a letter of interest and two references to by January 26, 2024. If this method presents barriers and you would prefer to apply another way, please let us know.

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