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2021 Festival Awards

Our fourth annual festival was held last month, virtually once again across Canada. I’m so grateful to our staff, volunteers, audience, and especially to our filmmakers, and I want to recognize those films awarded by our juries and audience. Thank you to all our jury members for their hard work and for lending us their expertise. Congratulations to these filmmakers but also to all the rest of the filmmakers who allowed us to share their work during the festival. We enjoyed watching your films and we can’t wait to see what you’re working on next!

Award Winners 2021

Best Narrative Short

Dir: Tomasz Wolski

Jury statement: “The jury was really impressed by the film’s skilful execution, authentic performances, and ability to bring something fresh to the single-take format by emphasizing the interwoven nature of our lives. By bookending the narrative with a child’s innocent view of these events, the film generates unexpected layers of complexity. It sparks audience conversations by shining a light on how thes characters are wrapped up in their own perspectives and unable to acknowledge what connects them.”

Best Documentary Short

Since You Arrived My Heart Stopped Belonging To Me
Dir: Erin Semine Kökdil

Jury statement: “The jury’s decision for the winning film is testament to Mothers’ enduring love as well as their unwavering and unselfish strength. Emotional and heartbreaking, this documentary gives insight into Latin America’s socio-political corridors that have ramifications for families of the most vulnerable.”

Special Mention Joe Buffalo
Dir: Amar Chebib

Jury statement: “The documentary that the jury unanimously feels exemplifies Gandhi’s axiom of being the change one wants to see in society. Topical and heartwarming all at once, it speaks of not just overcoming your personal traumas, but being a beacon of learning and self preservation for future generations.”

Best Animated Short

Love Is Just A Death Away
Dir: Bára Anna Stejskalová

Jury statement: “For being so unique and innovative and imaginative, and also gross, but beautiful at the same time. We’re so excited to see what this filmmaker does next.”

Special Mention: To The Last Drop
Dir: Simon Schnellman

Jury statement: “For telling such a deep and powerful story in such a simple and entertaining way.”

Best Canadian Short

Joe Buffalo
Dir: Amar Chebib

Festival Director statement: “This award is given in memory of Anthony Turk McCourt. Tony was a close family friend of mine while I was growing up, and I’m pleased to have his memory associated with excellence in Canadian filmmaking. Joe Buffalo is a devastating but hopeful portrait of an indigenous man who suffered through the trauma of the residential school system, but who emerged from years of addiction and homelessness through his dedication to skateboarding and the community he found there.”

Audience Award

Dir: Pablo de la Chica

Festival Director statement: “This wonderful film shines a light on the work of the brave and compassionate Mama Zawaldi and her colleagues at the Lwiro Primates Rehabilitation Centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her loving and tireless service helping baby chimpanzees recover from trauma made a strong impression on all of us who saw the film.”