An international jury has announced the winning films for this year’s Ottawa International Student Animation Festival (SAFO 03).  Of 1,200 entries received by festival organizers, 72 films were selected to compete for seven prizes.  Filmmakers representing eight countries were awarded the following prizes during the closing ceremonies held earlier this evening at the National Archives of Canada in downtown Ottawa.

The Nelvana Grand Prize     

The jurors awarded the Nelvana Grand Prize, the festival’s highest honour, to Son of Satan by Jean-Jacques Villard of California Institute for the Arts, California.

Son of Satan
Best First Film

The Stone of Folly by Jesse Rosensweet (Sweet Thing Production/National Film Board of Canada) was chosen for “its interpretation of a medieval misconception and its intelligent and atmospheric execution.”
Stone of Folly
The National Film Board of Canada Award
for Best Graduate Film


Le Faux Pli by François-Xavier Lepeintre, Antoine Arditti, and Audrey Delpuech of France’s SUPINFOCOM was selected for “its personal use of 3D computer animation to create a truly original and absorbing world.”

Best Post-Secondary/Undergraduate Film

Cats by Chris Choy of California Institute for the Arts for its “excellent sense of timing and visual impact” in the telling of a cats’ rebellion.

Best High School Film

What! by Rocco Pisano, (a recent graduate of Chicago’s Willowbrook High School), for its “raw energy, inventiveness, and pure expression of individuality.”

Best Children’s Film

“For the children’s mature articulation of personal situations, and in appreciation of their optimism while confronting difficult issues,” the jurors decided to share the award between two films, Paz Em Jacarezinho (Peace in Jacarezinho, Shanty Town) made by various students from Brazil and Joey’s Adventure by Rachel Everitt of Scotland.

Grand Prize - Best School

For exhibiting a high level of consistency and diversity, the Best School Show Reel was awarded to the Turku Arts Academy of Finland.

In addition, honourable mentions were presented to Crouching Ninja, Hidden Snowman by Aidan O’Hara of Canada, Crimenals by Gregory Araya representing the University of Southern California, Hôtel du Phare by Tugdual Birotheau representing ENSAD of France, and How to Cope with Death by Ignacia Ferreras of the United Kingdom.  The ‘Gouda Special’ Award was presented to young filmmaker Pallas Bane of the United States for her film, The Big Cheese, and a honourable mention for the funniest educational film was given to American animator Kurt Nellis for his graduate film Proper Urinal Etiquette.

Jury members included the head of the NFB’s French animation studio Marcel Jean, self-taught corrupt-collage American filmmaker Martha Colburn, Palme d’Or winning filmmaker Oscar Grillo of Britain, and Ink Tank producer and animation professor Richard O’Connor from New York.

Celebrating young filmmakers is the founding principle of the student animation festival, an event created to highlight the work of emerging student, graduate, and first-time filmmakers.  The first student animation festival in the world, the Ottawa festival provides a supportive venue for young animators to showcase their work away from larger festivals where it is often over-shadowed by big-budget studio entries.

For more information about the festival, call (613) 232-8769, email: or go the festival's website at

The next Ottawa International Animation Festival happens September 22 to September 26, 2004.