2021 Shortsfest Award Winners

Jury Awarded Oscar®-qualifiers

Best Animation: O BLACK HOLE (Renee Zhan, UK)


Jury Statement: “This film is a feast for the eyes, zany and at times very strange in the best possible way! The director expertly uses a variety of animation techniques to explore the story of a woman who turns herself into a black hole, devouring everything in her path to escape loneliness but ultimately learns the powerful lesson of letting go.”

Best Comedy: AFFAIRS OF THE ART (Joanna Quinn, UK/Canada)


Jury Statement: “Drawings, the artful nude portrait, obsession and a sister with a penchant for taxidermy make Affairs of the Art a saucy visual romp brimming with laughs.”

Best Documentary: WE HAVE ONE HEART (Katarzyna Warzecha, Poland)


Jury Statement: “Combining an ingenious narrative voice and a canny mixture of animation, dramatized letters, found and observational footage, this film inventively draws the audience into a true story of love and loss. The director employs a sure hand and a light touch to conjure a moving examination of tenderness and emotional bonds in times of both war and peace.”

Best Drama: MARLON BRANDO (Vincent Tilanus, The Netherlands)


Jury Statement: “With a style as natural as the performances captured, Marlon Brando stands out among coming-of-age films. The satisfying and emotional narrative about friendship shows that depth doesn’t have to be sacrificed in this category.”

Best Short Short: THE FOURFOLD (Alisi Telengut, Canada)


Jury Statement: “Painting is combined with plants and other natural objects to evoke the energy, rhythms, and often fragile beauty of the earth. In its economic running time, this small gem of handcrafted animation both honors Indigenous Mongolian beliefs and rituals and offers a pointed message of environmental concern.”

Additional Competitive Awards

Audience Award: CLOSE TIES TO HOME COUNTRY (Akanksha Cruczynski, USA)

The Ellen Award: WE HAVE ONE HEART (Katarzyna Warzecha, Poland)


Jury Statement: “Ellen Kohner Hunt valued originality, and she valued high artistic merit. Polish director Katarzyna Warzecha has achieved both by mixing animation with found footage to create a highly original family odyssey in a film with humor, love, and a lot of heart.”

Best Student Short + Youth Jury: PLAISIR (Molly Gillis, France)


Jury Statement: ‘This film immediately captured our attention with its captivating performances and evocative images. With a subtle and playful hand of the director we are immersed in the natural splendor of southern France and our hearts are warmed by a woman’s search for healing and connection. It’s our pleasure to award the best student short to Plaisir.”


Youth Jury Statement: “The Youth Jury finds this film necessary to watch for audience members in our generation due to the relevant themes of finding one’s self physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As young adults, this is a pivotal time when we are faced with uncomfortable growth which leads us to find and accept our true selves, rather than the version of us shaped by others. This was shown throughout the film with talented acting set in the beautiful backdrop of France complemented by intricate sound design, and the thoughtful use of natural light to ground the production. The juxtaposition between awkward moments, lighthearted comedy and authenticity resonated with our jury and we believe it will leave an impact amongst our peers. This film should be shown to young adults because it provokes self-reflection and forces you to think about challenging yourself through uncharted territory. We learn the most in unexpected situations as it is expressed in Plaisir.”

Vimeo Staff Pick: SINKING SHIP (Sasha Leigh Henry, Canada)