Ottawa Winners: ‘Hipopotamy,’ ‘Seth’s Dominion’ Win Top Prizes

"Hipopotamy" by Piotr Dumala won the short film grand prize at Ottawa.

“Hipopotamy” by Piotr Dumala won the short film grand prize at Ottawa.

Veteran Polish filmmaker Piotr Dumala won the short film grand prize for Hipopotamy at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, which wrapped up its 2014 edition yesterday. Dumala’s film is described as: “A few naked women and children are bathing in a river. They are being secretly observed by a group of men, who, at one point, decide to approach them, in a violent manner, as if inspired by the behaviour of hippopotamuses.”

"Seth's Dominion" by Luc Chamberland.

“Seth’s Dominion” by Luc Chamberland.

The grand prize for feature film was awarded to Luc Chamberland for his live-action/animation documentary Seth’s Dominion about the life of Canadian cartoonist Seth. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada, the feature had its world premiere at Ottawa. Chamberland speaks about the film in this Ottawa Citizen interview.

A complete list of Ottawa 2014 winners is below:

The Nelvana 2014 GRAND PRIZE for Best Short Animation
Hipopotamy by Piotr Dumala (Poland)

Honorable Mention
Butter Ya’ Self by Julian Petschek (USA)

The 2014 GRAND PRIZE for Best Animated Feature
Seth’s Dominion by Luc Chamberland (Canada)

The 2014 Canadian Film Institute (CFI) Award for Best Canadian Animation
1000 Plateaus (2004-2014) by Steve Woloshen

Honorable Mention
Soif by Michele Cournoyer
MTL Rush by Matthieu Guimond

Sony Pictures Animation Public Prize
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos by Konstantin Bronzit (Russia)

Best Narrative Short Animation
Marilyn Myller by Mikey Please (UK & United States)

Honorable Mention
Phantom Limb by Alex Grigg (UK & Australia)

Best Laika Experimental/ Abstract Animation
Eager by Allison Schulnik (USA)

Honorable Mention
Totem by Caleb Wood (USA)

Walt Disney Award for Best Graduation Animation
Things Don’t Fit by Tim Divall (UK)

Honorable Mention
Somewhere by Nicolas Ménard (UK)
Crazy Little Things by Onohana (Japan)

Best Undergraduate Animation
Lesley the Pony Has an A+ Day by Christian Larrave (USA)

Best High School Animation
Priorities by Gints Zilbalodis (Latvia)

Honorable Mention
Dance of Death by Choi Ye Won, Lee young guen & Park So Young (South Korea)

Best Animation School Showreel
Rhode Island School of Design (USA)

Honorable Mention
Tokyo School of the Arts (Japan)

Best Canadian Student Animation
Soupe aux Carottes by Charles Lavoie, Concordia University

Honorable Mention
Lucy & the Limbs by Edlyn Capulong, Sheridan College
MTL Rush by Mathieu Guimond, Concordia University

Best Promotional Animation
Holland Animation Film Festival “2014 Festival Leader” by Andreas Hykade (Germany & Netherlands)

Honorable Mention
2013 Festival National du Film d’Animation “Fight!” by Marc James Roels (Belgium & France)

Best Music Video
Christopher Bono “Unity” by Tobias Stretch (USA)

Honorable Mention
James “Moving On” by Ainslie Henderson (UK)

Best Animation Series for Adults
Crime: The Animated Series by Sam Chou & Alix Lambert (USA)

Honorable Mention
Heaven’s Countryland Part 1: Childhood story of Kim Jong Un by David Oreilly (USA)

Best Short Animation for Children
Magic Time by Kine Aune (Norway)

Honorable Mention
Anatole’s Little Saucepan by Eric Montchaud (France)
The Fish-Tale Girl by Serhiy Melnichenko (Ukraine)

Best Animation Series for Children
Les larmes du crocodile by Agnés Lecreux, Steven De Beul & Ben Tesseur (France)

Honorable Mention
Regular Show “The Last Laserdisc Player” by JG Quintel (USA)
The Scent of Carrots by Arnaud Demuynck & Rémi Durin (France)


  • DJM

    Why would anyone want to animate Seth? Out of all the classic alternative cartoonist cannon of the ’90s, he is the most boring. Should’ve been Joe Matt instead!

    • Darkroar

      It was done by the National Film Board (of Canada). I guess Joe Matt is American although he lived in Canada at some point. The film was a documentary of his life with some animated sections; it wasn’t all animated. Seth was a pretty interesting guy actually (or at least with how the film was put together).

  • Jacob VanMeeter

    Wow, they really booed? That’s really disrespectful. I was at the original screening and there was some tension in the audience, but it got major applause with no boos. I can’t believe people booed. It is a very brutal film, and I get hating it, even being offended by it. But that is really rude to the people who worked themselves very hard to make it. It’s definitely not a positive depiction of rape, not that that is necessarily what the film is about as a whole, so I don’t get the point of booing in the first place.

    • Lori

      It’s disrespectful to the filmmakers to boo, but I think that some of the audience found the film itself disrespectful and thus that gut reaction. You look at film as an instrument of entertainment, of education, of escapism, but something about this particular film struck too close to reality.
      If you look at it as man’s behavior being comparable to animal behavior what are we to take away from it? I think that right now with gender inequality really being a major issue and talking point, watching women being raped whether fictional, in a documentary fashion, or on the street in real life, that doesn’t help the discussion at hand. Human behavior as animal behavior. It removes accountability.
      What’s so uncomfortable about it is that you want to scream while it’s happening. You don’t want to watch it happen. I had to turn my eyes away, to look into my lap because it made me feel so helpless and afraid.
      Am I better for having seen the film? I can’t speak to that at the moment. I left the theatre being disgusted by the sight of men. Even ‘Lesley the Pony Has An A+ Day’ couldn’t lighten my mood after the experience.

      • Jacob VanMeeter

        What a great response. I agree with everything you said. The film even made me a little disgusted at the idea that I am a man, these horrible, violent creatures being depicted on the screen. It was a weird moment. And the booing as a gut reaction makes a lot of sense. It’s a rough film to react to.
        It’s a short that should be viewed on it’s own, and not sandwiched between humor. Watching a bunch of rape scenes then quickly having to change over to something humorous seems, almost, inappropriate.
        It’s also interesting to hear a woman’s perspective on the film, so thanks for sharing that.

  • Darkroar

    I was at the 2nd showing I think. No one booed, but there were definitely people who looked uncomfortable watching it.

  • http://pickledperfection.blogspot.com/ Andrea K Haid

    I saw Hipopotamy at the Animation Show of Shows and Ron Diamond explained that the filmmaker was inspired by a documentary about Hippopotamuses. Hippos kill 3000 people a year and are very aggressive and considered the most dangerous animal in Africa. Wheras many cartoons anthropomorphize animals to be more human like, this film did the opposite, taking humans and having them act like hippos. When male hippos happen upon a new group of females, they will kill the babies so that the females will mate with them. Besides all that, the film was beautiful looking. I’m glad we were warned as the the nature of the film though.