OIAF Guide
The OIAF Guide to Getting Animated! 

For the College Kidz
The Ottawa International Animation Festival is the highlight of the year for animation college students across the country- and the world! Keep reading to find out what events you should definitely attend, what parties you should party, and how to get here!



You gotta party like a Canadian, eh?


American and international students may be pretty excited to visit Ontario, what with its alcohol and cannabis legal use age being 19. So, have fun, but be safe! Only purchase cannabis from a government authorized retailer. Don’t give alcohol or pot to your friends under 19. Don’t smoke it anywhere you wouldn’t normally be allowed to smoke. Don’t try to take any home with you. And don’t mix alcohol and weed. Learn more about cannabis use in Ontario so you can stay alert and stay safe: ontario.ca/page/cannabis



Friday night is just for you; the Student Party & Screening at Club SAW. It’s all ages, but those of you 19+ will need your ID to purchase alcohol. You can watch a screening of films by students of Algonquin, Seneca, and Sherdian and party (responsibly) with other animation students from all over the world! And no one should miss our biggest, bestest, partiest party- NightOwl on Saturday night.



You gotta werk werk werk!


On Saturday morning, take your hangover to the Exposé Fair at the NAC to talk to animation companies looking to hire. Go to the Animation Exposé talks while you’re there, too, and walk away full of animation industry knowledge- and maybe a job!



You gotta get here!


Toronto & Oakville students can take care of their pass and their travel in one bundle! (Select Sheridan/Toronto Travel + Weekend Pass) Get on our bus on Friday morning and get to Ottawa in time to start using your Student Weekend Pass. Get your tired butts onto the bus again Sunday afternoon to get home. Don’t forget to book your accommodations ASAP! The city will book up! The OIAF has a comprehensive list of places to stay on the website- something for every price range. Save your money by getting a hostel or cram as many as you can into your hotel room if you have to!



You gotta watch it!


High on your schedule priority should be the Canadian Student Competition and World Student Panorama. You’ll see films from your friends, classmates, and see what students are making all over the world! Then see who wins at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening.



No matter how you get here, how long you stay, or what you wanna do- you're sure to have fun and make friends at OIAF this year! (Ya, "make friends" sounds cheesey, but seriously- you're going to meet some amazing people!)

For the Kool Teenz

This September 25-29, downtown Ottawa will be filled with animation fans and professionals here to watch the latest, most cutting-edge animation in the industry. Aside from tons of screenings to go see, there is so much stuff for you totally tubular teens to do! (And most of it is freeeeee!)

Whether you’re an amateur animator looking to learn more skills and meet with schools or just a big fan of animated hits like Steven Universe and Big Mouth, you’ll be able to fill your weekend with tons of fun!



Dreaming of being an animator?

Get your high school to bring your class to the National Gallery on Friday, September 27 for Toon Apprentice Day. At no cost to the school, or individuals, you and your friends can attend a day of presentations by animation schools, student competition screenings, and partake in a VR workshop! This day will be invaluable to students interested in pursuing animation after high school. Tell your teachers you want to go! Or ditch school and come on your own, that’s cool with us.


Then, on Saturday, September 29, come to the NAC for the Exposé Fair. Meet with even more animation school representatives and some of the animation studios that make your favourite shows! The Fair is open to the public, and so is the Tech Pavillion where you can learn about and try out virtual reality. The future is now! Live drawing art sessions and fireside chats with industry professionals are also happening, all for free!


But if you’re really serious, you’ll want to get some hands-on training, right? How does learning character design with the studio that made Netflix hit Hilda sound? Mercury Filmworks and the Algonquin College Animation Program will teach you character design techniques as you learn to draw Hilda herself on Sunday, September 29 1pm-4pm at Algonquin College.



What else can you do for FREE?


Want to check out the Festival but can’t cough up the cash? Of course not, you’ve got to spend your money on memes and baes and Neopets! (Those are still cool, right?) Get your squad together on Saturday, September 28 and get to the NAC to pick up your Toon Apprentice Pass! It’s free if you can show us your valid high school ID. (No promises we won’t laugh at your awkward photo.) With your pass, you can go to all the Animation Exposé talks happening at the NAC (You don’t want to miss your chance to see Rebecca Sugar talking about Steven Universe The Movie, do you?), and anything else happening at the Festival, until 6pm.


Volunteering ain’t cost no thang! Well, it will cost you your time, but in exchange for your time (at least two 4-hour shifts) and hard work (nah, it’s usually not that hard) you will get your Volunteer Pass, which is nearly as good as a full AnimaPass! (There are a few restrictions.) You need to get those volunteer hours to graduate, so might as well get them doing something cool. Sign up online and get ready to have fun being a part of North America’s largest animation festival (#brag).



Ready to party down?


You’ve got moves to bust and a groove thang to shake. Saturday night’s the night! The night of NightOwl. September 28, 9pm - 2am you can dance your way all over one of the coolest buildings downtown- the Ottawa Art Gallery & Arts Court. You know, that new big white cube attached to the haunted old courthouse. That cube will be full of live music performances, DJs, and gallery tours and the haunted courthouse (Yes, there are jail cells in the basement. Yes, they are haunted.) will be full of VR, sketching cosplay models, and more DJs! There will be more than one spot to get yourself a fancy mocktail and snacks. It’s two buildings, four levels, indoors, outdoors, all ages. Maximum levels of fun will be achieved! This one will cost you, though- $15 in advance or $20 at the door.


Are you convinced? Will we see you in September? (The answer is yes or you’re grounded.)

It's the Best Time of the Year to Volunteer!

There are many ways to experience what goes on at OIAF during those crazy five days but volunteering might just be the most fun! 



What do volunteers do?

No matter what volunteer role you are in, you will be surrounded by other enthusiastic volunteers having fun, supportive staff members, and the excited animation fans attending the Festival. Volunteering is a great way to get an inside look at the latest and greatest in the animation industry, make new friends and network connections, learn and develop new skills, and just take a step out of day-to-day life to be part of the fun and excitement of helping make North America’s largest animation festival happen!

We have tons of available positions, including (but not limited to): 

  • Shopkeeping at the Aniboutique
  • Barista/bartending at Chez Ani Café
  • Set up/tear down of events
  • Reception, ushering, security, general helper
  • Party Crew
  • VR Assistants
  • Floaters (you never know what you’re gonna do!)
  • Pre-Festival office assistant
  • Cosplayers
  • And more!!


What's in it for me?

You mean other than all the fun you will have? Well, volunteers who sign up for two (4-hour) or more shifts will earn their Volunteer Pass. It’s pretty much an AnimaPass with a few exceptions. You’ll get to keep your super cool OIAF Volunteer t-shirt to remember the good times forever. And you’ll be invited to the OIAF Volunteer Appreciation Party in October!



We can’t do it without you!

The OIAF is able to happen every year because of the hard work of a small and dedicated staff all year and the 200+ volunteers who generously give their time leading up to and during the Festival. Without volunteers, guests wouldn’t be able to get into screenings, enjoy the parties, buy merch from our shop, or be able to find their way around the venues! Volunteers are greatly appreciated and valued by the OIAF team and OIAF guests.

Let’s do this!

Check out the Volunteer page for even more details about volunteer roles, and then register, log in, and fill out the Volunteer Form to get assigned shifts from the Volunteer Coordinator. (And if you have any more questions, contact the Volunteer Coordinator directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call the OIAF office at 613-232-8769)

What last year’s volunteers liked about volunteering at OIAF:

“Friendly, enjoyable atmosphere.”
“Meeting the people who create the content on television was eye opening and the free pass didn’t hurt as an incentive.”
“I enjoyed working with the lovely employees.”
“The Festival itself and witnessing artistic, creative, innovative talents. Also meeting the OIAF family, be it the coordinator, manager or fellow volunteers. Each person I met was fantastic. I also enjoyed interacting with guests. I had a blast.”



Even if volunteering isn’t going to be a part of your Festival experience, now you know how crucial volunteers are to the OIAF machine. Be sure to give volunteers a big THANK YOU whenever you see them around!

Get Ready!
The Ottawa International Animation Festival is only two months away! Are you ready?



Buying a Pass and/or Tickets

If you want to see anything, you’ll need a pass or a ticket. Pass options include the AnimaPass, if you want to attend all five days; a Weekend Pass, if you can only get away for the weekend; and Day Passes if you have to cram as much into one day as you can! Animation Industry professionals will want to get their TAC Pass or TAC AnimaPass to get into The Animation Conference (TAC). And passes have benefits that tickets don’t- passholders will get into venues quicker with their own line and a flash of their pass, only passholders can come to the nightly parties and the Animator’s Picnic, and every type of pass comes with an OIAF Delegate bag full of goodies from our sponsors!

Find the pass right for you on the Pass Types page and then you’re ready to order! You’ll need to sign up and log in before you can go to User Menu and select Order Pass. Choose the pass you want and then pay up!

Not ready to commit to a pass? Every screening & talk (and there are a lot packed into those five days) has tickets available for purchase in advance online, as well as at the door (if there are seats left). Looking at 5 or more events you want to attend? Go for the OIAF Ticket Six-Pack. Six tickets for the price of five- and you get to use the passholder line! Order your Six-Pack the same way you order a pass and find ticket links on each event page (coming next week, along with the schedule).



Book a Room

Visiting from out of town? You’ll need somewhere to crash! The OIAF can hook you up with deals on some of Ottawa’s hotels. Go to our Accommodations page to find OIAF exclusive offer codes to use when booking your room. Book soon, before the city fills up!



Prepare your Mind to be Blown

Want to know what to expect? Not yet convinced you’ll have a good time? Have a look at our Vimeo channel and watch films from previous years’ competitions to see the kind of memorable content you can expect again this year. And watch last year’s Festival trailer to see how much fun everyone has at OIAF!