THE BEST OF CIFF: OUR Awards
Going into its 22nd year, the 11-day Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) has grown to be the biggest film festival in Alberta and the sixth-largest in Canada. CIFF showcases 175+ short and feature-length multi-genre films, from Canada and around the world.
With Academy Award® accreditation and juried cash prizes, CIFF is a world-class celebration of cinema’s best and brightest.
2021 FESTIVAL JURY AWARDS
$10,000 CAD: RBC Emerging Canadian Artist Award
This juried award is given to the Canadian director who creates the best first or second narrative feature film.
WINNER: ISLANDS, Martin Edralin
$5,000 CAD: DGC Best Canadian Documentary Award
This juried award is given to the Canadian director who creates the best documentary in the section.
WINNER: RETURNING HOME, Sean Stiller
$1,000 CAD: Best International Narrative Feature Award
This juried award is given to the international director who creates the best film in the section. The winner of this award also receives first right of refusal of a distribution deal with Gravitas Ventures.
WINNER: THE HILL WHERE THE LIONESSES ROAR, Luàna Bajrami
$1,000 CAD: Best International Documentary Feature Award
This juried award is given to the international director who creates the best documentary in the section.
WINNER: ASCENSION, Jessica Kingdon
$2,500 CAD: Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Short (Live-Action or Animated)
This juried award also qualifies the winner for consideration in the Animated Short Film / Live Action Short Film category of the Academy Awards®, without the standard theatrical run that a film typically needs to qualify for an Oscar® nomination.
WINNER: LIKE THE ONES I USED TO KNOW, Annie St-Pierre
Additional prizes for short films include:
$1,000 CAD: Best Live Action Short Film Award
WINNER: GIRL WITH A THERMAL GUN, Rongfei Guo
$1,000 CAD: Best Documentary Short Film Award
WINNER: CODED, Ryan White
$1,000 CAD: Best Animated Short Film Award
WINNER: BAD SEEDS, Claude Cloutier
$1,000 CAD: Devon Bolton Memorial Award for Best Alberta Short Film + $7,500 CAD Gift Certificate from William F. White International (see below for more information)
WINNER: LONG DISTANCE, Kiana Rawji
$1,000 CAD: Best Student Short Film Award
WINNER: THE BINDING OF ITZIK, Anika Benkov
$500 CAD: Youth by Youth Canada Short Film Award + $2,500 Gift Certificate from William F. White International + Scholarship to Vancouver Film School valued at up to $18,000
WINNER: IN THE WEEDS, Nick Milczarczyk
2021 CIFF AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARDS - PRESENTED BY TELUS
The best of the fest decided by the fans themselves! Most films at the festival are eligible for our Audience Awards and are based on the collective score of the audience ballots collected at each screening online and in-cinema.
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, ALBERTA FEATURE
WINNER: HERE & AFTER, Shaun Crawford
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, ALBERTA SHORT OR MID-LENGTH
WINNER: MEAN HAKEEM, Evan Bourque
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, CANADIAN DOCUMENTARY
WINNER: KIMMAPIIYIPITSSINI: THE MEANING OF EMPATHY, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, CANADIAN NARRATIVE
WINNER: DRINKWATER, Stephen Campanelli
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY
WINNER: THE RESCUE, E. Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE
WINNER: MASS, Fran Kranz
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
WINNER: JULIA, Betsy West & Julie Cohen
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, LATE SHIFT
WINNER: TITANE, Julia Ducournau
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, MUSIC ON SCREEN
WINNER: WE ARE THE THOUSAND, Anita Rivaroli
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, GENERATION NEXT
WINNER: RAISE THE BAR, Guðjón Ragnarsson
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, LIVE ACTION SHORT
WINNER: JUST DELIVERED, Rosie Gaunt-Mathieson
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, DOCUMENTARY SHORT
WINNER: JOE BUFFALO, Amar Chebib
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD, ANIMATED SHORT
WINNER: STEP INTO THE RIVER, Ma Weijia
THE DEVON BOLTON MEMORIAL Award for best alberta short film
Devon Bolton, along with his filmmaking and business partner sibling Kirsten, won Best Alberta Short at CIFF 15 years ago this year for their short film Shipwrecked. After CIFF, Shipwrecked would go on to be an official selection at over 25 international film festivals around the world, winning Best Short at five, including a BAFTA. It also screened at MOMA in New York and The National Gallery in Washington D.C.
The siblings went on to another award-winning short and were in development on four feature films in addition to their careers in commercials, videos, and branding. Devon was a self-taught filmmaker, respected creative marketing lead, and director, who was also skilled in cinematography, editing, visual effects, and colour grading. He was known and admired by colleagues, crew, and partners as a visionary talent and would often attract the same crews, agencies, and clients to work with him time and again. He was also known, however, to give newcomers some of their first opportunities in the industry – from actors to composers to animators. He loved to mentor.
In December 2019, after a long battle with mental health issues, Devon took his own life at the age of 47. It caught many by surprise. This award is being founded in his honour to help motivate local filmmakers to continue to pursue their dreams, shine a light on mental health in the creative communities, and celebrate the importance of mentorship.