In 1976 the Canadian Film Institute hosted the first animation festival in Ottawa (originally called "the Canadian International Animation Festival"). The Festival was held biennially until 1982, when it left the CFI and Ottawa. The 1984 edition was held in Toronto and the 1986 edition in Hamilton. In 1988, the Festival returned to the CFI and to Ottawa and has since developed into the largest and most prestigious of its kind in North America, and internationally, is second only to France's Annecy International Animation Film Festival.

Over the past 20 years, the OIAF has presented hundreds of the best animated films from around the world, including most of the Academy Award winners (eg. THE WRONG TROUSERS, BOB'S BIRTHDAY, EVERY CHILD, THE FLY), and has routinely attracted every major and minor player in the animation community.

In 1997, the OIAF founded and hosted, in conjunction with the Canadian Film Institute, the world's first ever, International Student Festival of Ottawa (SAFO).


The aims of the OIAF are twofold. The Festival was initially developed, in accordance with the rules of the International Animated Film Association (ASIFA), to promote "the art of animation". And while this remains the main priority, the OIAF has also changed to accomodate the dramatic growth that has taken place in animation over the last decade. The animation community is increasingly industry driven and it is essential that, as a mirror of the animation community, the festival reflect these needs. As such, unlike any other animation festival, the OIAF consciously strives to maintain a balance between art and industry offering Professional Development and Training workshops, an Animarket Trade Fair, and a Commissioned Films Competition. At the same time the festival highlights the work of little known independent animators, studios, and countries in the Official Competition and retrospective programmmes, accompanied by detailed essays written by some of animation's leading academics and historians. In addition, the OIAF offers creative workshops, exhibitions, and a number of social events (eg. Picnic and Chez-Ani) aimed at maintaining the personable atmosphere that has made Ottawa so popular for both animators and industry representatives.

What's New- March 1998 (English) (French)

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