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Stills of the award-winning alumni films at the Ottawa International Film Festival 2017

Arts alumni win prizes for films celebrating Indigenous heritage

September 28, 2017

Sheridan alumni took home top prizes at the Ottawa International Animation Festival last week. Christopher Auchter (Computer Animation ’05) won for Best Animated Film or Series for Young Audiences, while Amanda Strong (Bachelor of Illustration ’09) took home the Canadian Film Institute Award for Best Canadian Animation.

“It’s wonderful to see our arts graduates recognized at such a prestigious festival,” says Ronni Rosenberg, Dean of Sheridan’s Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design. “As Canada works through issues of reconciliation with its Indigenous communities, it’s refreshing to see the judges reward such powerful and personal stories.”

Auchter’s film The Mountain of Sgaana: A Magical Journey into the Haida Underworld, reflects his Haida heritage. It tells a tale of a young man who is stolen into the spirit world, and the woman who comes to his rescue. Strong’s Four Faces of the Moon also shares Indigenous stories. The 13-minute film follows an Indigenous photographer as she travels through time, revealing the impact of colonialism on her Métis, Cree and Anishinaabe ancestors. Auchter’s and Strong’s works stood out from 105 short films representing 85 countries that were selected to compete at the competition, which ran from September 20 to 24.

Sheridan is world-renowned for its Animation and Illustration programs, which attract students to the Trafalgar Road Campus in Oakville, Ontario. Graduates of the programs go on to work at studios across North America, and have won many awards, including Oscars. Sheridan’s Animation cluster includes the Bachelor of Animation and Bachelor of Game Design, as well as post-graduate certificates in computer animation and visual effects.

Pictured top right: Stills from the award-winning films The Mountain of Sgaana: A Magical Journey into the Haida Underworld and Four Faces of the Moon.