A still from Jasper Kuipers’ Finity Calling
Jasper Kuipers’ Finity Calling can be see in the Possible Worlds pack on November 22 | Still: Courtesy of Quickdraw Animation Society

GIRAF Animation Festival

Quickdraw Animation Society showcases the best of independent works for milestone year

Amy Jo Espetveidt

  • Location Various Venues 
  • Price Pay-What-You-Can
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Back for its 15th year with a special pay-what-you-can model, join Quickdraw Animation Society for its annual festival showcasing the best of independent animation from around the globe.

The Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival (GIRAF) celebrates the spirit of independent, underground, and experimental animation. GIRAF always shares films that push the boundaries of what animation is capable of as a medium and this year’s lineup is no exception!

“GIRAF has spent 15 years making the case that animation is a vital, surprising, expressive, and complex artistic medium, by showcasing the best short and feature animated films from around the world,” says Quickdraw Animation Society Executive Director Peter Hemminger. “The best way to see that is by, well, seeing that. We want everyone to have the chance to fall in love with this medium, so we’ve made this year’s festival pay-what-you-can. Really, there’s no excuse not to give it a shot.”

Hemminger also points out that the lineup is full of mature works not meant for young audiences.

With quirky and stunning animation alike, this year’s festival features stop-motion and VFX legend Phil Tippett, animators Sonya Reynolds and Lauren Hortie, and so much more.

Don’t miss this celebration of the art of animation and be sure to check out these fantastic events:

On LGBTQ2S+ Animation

November 21, 2019, 7:00pm
Globe Cinema (617 8th Ave. SW)

A short collection of essays and comics exploring queer contributions to the art form, celebrate its launch at the festival’s opening screening. Featuring contemporary animation from queer creators, Lauren Hortie and Sonya Reynolds (aka MidKnife Films) will be in attendance and sharing their gorgeous, shadow-puppet-style stories of Toronto’s queer history.

Possible Worlds

November 22, 2019, 11:00pm
Globe Cinema (617 8th Ave. SW)

Anything is possible in an animated world! From Zorg II’s curiously collaged epic about a would-be alien movie star to the striking strangeness of Finity Calling’s stop-motion realm, Possible Worlds is packed with visions you’ve never seen before. This shorts package is sure to be a festival highlight!

Local Animators Panel Discussion

November 23, 2019, 12:30pm
cSPACE King Edward (1721 29th Ave. SW)

Featuring a group of artists who’ve made animation careers here in Calgary, check out this conversation about how they made it happen as well as the benefits and the challenges of working as an animator in our city. The talk is sure to give aspiring artists some insight into what it takes to make a career here.

Phil Tippett’s Mad God Trilogy

November 23, 2019, 9:00pm
Globe Cinema (617 8th Ave. SW)

An experimental animated film set in a Miltonesque world of monsters, mad scientists, and war pigs, this stunning work is directed by stop-motion and special effects master Phil Tippett. In it, every set, creature, and effigy is hand-crafted and painstakingly animated using traditional stop-motion techniques. Tippett will be in attendance so be sure to grab tickets while you can and don’t miss this macabre masterpiece.

Chris J. Melnychuk Scholarship Spotlight

November 24, 2019, 6:00pm
QAS Studios (2011 10th Ave. SW)


The Quickdraw Animation Society has a long and proud tradition of helping aspiring animators create their first films, and one of the ways they do so is through the Chris J. Melnychuk Scholarship and Residency. Named for a long-time Quickdraw member with a passion for inspiring others, see a selection of scholarship films from recent years, plus work from the program’s late namesake.

GIRAF Animation Festival runs November 21 to 24, 2019 and the full schedule can be found at giraffest.ca. All screenings for this anniversary year are pay-what-you-can thanks to a sponsorship from the Alberta Media Arts Alliance.