GIRAF 14: Quickdraw’s 14th annual animation festival shines a spotlight on stop-motion

Thursday 15th, November 2018 / 10:31

by Morgan Cairns


GIRAF highlights: The Magnificent Cake

Always genre-bending and always boundary-pushing, Quickdraw Animation Society is back with their 14th annual animation-only film fest, Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival, or, GIRAF for short. Featuring the best-of-the-best of animation from around the world, as well as a heavy helping of local works, viewers can expect the newest and most innovative in the world of animation. With offerings for fans of every age and every taste, here are five of BeatRoute’s can’t-miss highlights from this year’s fest.  


Visiting Artist, Amanda Strong 

“Simply put, her work is amazing and utilizes stop motion animation to it’s fullest,” states Quickdraw’s Programming Director Ryan Von Hagen. Based out of Vancouver, Strong is a Michif, Indigenous filmmaker and media artist having done work for such organizations as the CBC and the National Film Board, as well as directed several short films, including “Hipster Headress”, a proclaimed “Public service announcement alert for a messed AF world” for white people who still think it’s ok to appropriate headdresses as a festival accessory. Along with a presentation of her films, Strong will also lead workshops, as well as an artist talk and installation at TRUCK Gallery.  


This Magnificent Cake 

Continuing with this year’s emphasis on stop-motion, This Magnificent Cake uses puppets to play out the stories of 5 different characters in colonial Africa: a troubled king, a middle-aged Pygmy working in a luxury hotel, a failed businessman on an expedition, a lost porter, and a young army deserter. Sweeping awards at festivals across the globe (including the Grand Prize for Features at the Ottawa International Film Festival) this Belgian film exemplifies the pure artistry of the genre, and animations ability to go beyond the talking-animal flicks of our youth.  


Ruben Brandt, Collector 

When psychologist Ruben Brandt begins to suffer from violent nightmares by legendary works of art, he begins to believe that if he were to own the artworks haunting his dreams, the nightmares will stop. He rounds up four of his clients (who happen to be expert thieves) to help him execute his plan, but as one could expect, Ruben soon becomes a wanted criminal known only as “The collector”. A sort of animated-thriller, Ruben Brandt, Collector is fast-paced and fun, while simultaneously being a stunning work of animation.  “Every frame is beautifully rendered,” notes Von Hagen. And with art references aplenty, art-history buffs are sure to be giddy with all the easter eggs director Milorad Krstić has sprinkled in the film.   



For this year’s retrospective film, GIRAF will be host to a 30th anniversary screening of Czech animator Jan Švankmajer’s 1988 dark stop-motion fantasy, Alice. An adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in WonderlandAlice starts out as a live-action film, but suddenly to stop motion as soon as young Alice falls down the rabbit hole. A darker telling of the tale than the Disney version of your childhood, Alice plays out like a surreal dream, with the caterpillar (simply made up of an old sock and fake teeth) being significantly more nightmare-inducing.  


Shorts Packages 

With four different short’s packages to choose from, GIRAF’s shorts are perfect for every fan. Whether you’re an animation connoisseur or a curious newbie, the shorts “Mixtapes” offer up a little bit of everything and are sure to appease every taste. Our pick? The Late Night package is always a highlight, featuring some of the weirdest, darkest, and most surreal animation you’re bound to find. 


GIRAF runs from November 22-25 at The Globe Cinema. For full schedule and showtimes, visit 

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