2019 Festival Awards Party

This year our festival Awards Party will take place Sunday September 22 at Paper St. Join us to find out who's been triumphant in our Jury award categories!

Doors 8 PM 

Awards start 8:30 PM



$10,000 CAD : RBC Emerging Artist Award: This juried category includes the first or second feature films of emerging directors from Canada. 

$2,500 CAD : Best Live Action or Animated Short Film Award. 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.

$2,500 CAD : Best Documentary Short Film Award

$2,500 CAD and $5,000 gift certificate for services and equipment from William F. White International: Best Albertan Short Film Award

$5,000 CAD and $1,000 Vistek giftcard: DGC Best Canadian Documentary Award




The best of the fest decided by you! 
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.


Audience Choice Award, Alberta Feature 

Audience Choice Award, Canadian Narrative Feature 

Audience Choice Award, Canadian Documentary

Audience Choice Award, International Documentary

Audience Choice Award, New American Cinema

Audience Choice Award, Headliner

Audience Choice Award, World Cinema 

Audience Choice Award, Late Shows 

Audience Choice Award, Alberta Short

Audience Choice Award, Narrative Short (Live Action or Animated)

Audience Choice Award, Documentary Short 





Our most committed audience members - those who view 10 or more films before the end of day Sept 29th - will receive a special ballot to vote for the Fan Favourite Award. 





The Fan of the Year Award recognizes the audience member who views the most films over the course of the festival. Winner receives a $1,000 Delta Airlines voucher. Details and contest entry rules here. After three fun years, this will be the last year CIFF is running this contest.



RBC Emerging Artist Award 

Bill Guentzler 

Bill Guentzler is the Artistic Director of the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF).  He joined the CIFF as a Cleveland State University intern in 1998.  Soon thereafter he was hired as a part-time Film Festival employee, and in 2000 a full-time Assistant Programmer position was created for him.  After years of different positions, he was promoted to Artistic Director in 2005.  Since he started at the festival, attendance has tripled, the 43rd CIFF in March/April 2019 welcomed over 105,800 attendees and screened over 450 films, making it one of the largest film festivals in the United States. As Artistic Director, he has served as a juror and panelist at numerous festivals throughout the world.  He holds a B.A. in Communications from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at CSU, which has named him as one their of 50 Fascinating Alumni.

Darren Dean 

Darren Dean is an American producer, writer, and director. A three-time Independent Spirit Award nominee, Dean is responsible for producing the award-winning features Prince of Broadway (which he co-wrote), Kinyarwanda, H.O.M.E., tangerine, and The Florida Project.” Darren is the producer of both THE INFILTRATORS and THE SHORT HISTORY OF THE LONG ROAD currently part of CIFF 2019.

Scott Lepp

Scott Lepp is a Calgary-based, independent film and television producer and founder of Iylond Entertainment Inc. whose first feature ICE BLUE had its World Premiere at the Calgary International Film Festival in 2017. He's since released two digital series', HUDSON and REALIZATION, is currently serving as Associate Producer on the APTN TV Series TRIBAL, and is on the board of directors for the Okotoks Film Society.


Canadian Documentary Feature Award

Matt Embry

Mathew Embry is one of the most prolific producer/directors in Canada. He has produced and directed non-fiction programs for CBC, Global, CTV, HBO Canada, PBS, Animal Planet, OLN and Telefilm. Mathew  directed the Toronto International Film Festival Official Selection Living Proof, which went on to screen theatrically in 19 North American cities. Working with Rogers he created a four-part documentary mini-series about hockey’s impact on first generation Canadians and, for CBC, Hell or High Water — a behind-the-scenes account of howCalgary overcame a catastrophic flood. Mathew’s first feature, Theo Fleury: Playing With Fire, screened at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

Lauren Avinoam

Lauren Avinoam’s from Toronto, Canada -- graduating Western University with an honors degree in Film Theory & History she became the lead festival strategist for OUAT Media. Later, she founded LA Publicity handling festival strategy for independent filmmakers. Then, she began to Produce and founded Jemstone Productions with partner Jed Mellick. She is also currently the Chair of Marketing & Festivals for WIP (Women Independent Producers). Lauren is also the producer of LOWLAND KIDS in CIFF 2019.

Peter Knegt

Peter Knegt is a writer, filmmaker and arts curator. He currently works for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where he produces numerous series and writes the Digital Publishing Award-winning column Queeries.


Best Live Action or Animated Short Film Award 

Mike Shields

Mike Shields has scored twenty-six feature films and numerous shorts.  Feature highlights include John Fawcett’s world-wide cult favourite “Ginger Snaps”, “Lucky Girl” - the first of six features for CTV, one of which being“100 Days in the Jungle” – a movie directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, which earned him a “Gemini” award, Robert Cuffley’s “Turning Paige” for which he was nominated for a “Genie”, “The Nutty Professor” for The Weinstein Company, Sundance smash “Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil”, and documentary feature “Unclaimed”.

Mike scored five seasons of the edgy and revered drama “Blackstone”.  His other television work includes the international series “Final 24”, the comedy “Moose TV” for Showcase, “Fixing Dinner” for the Food Channel, “So Chic” for Slice, CBC’s  "From The Hip" and “David Suzuki’s World”,  “Battle For Baghdad” and “Battle for the Arctic” for CBC’s “Doc Zone”, 3 seasons of “Oil Change” for Sportsnet/NHL, and award winning Myth Merchant Film’s “Hunt for the Mad Trapper” for Discovery Channel, and “Hitler’s Stealth Fighter” for National Geographic Channel.

Heather Young

Heather Young is a filmmaker living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After graduating from UNB and NSCAD University she made several short films including GREEN (2013), HOWARD AND JEAN (2014), FISH (2016) and MILK (2017). Heather is also the Programming Coordinator for the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival. MURMUR is her first feature film, and part of CIFF 2019.

Matthew Rankin 

Matthew Rankin was born in Winnipeg and educated at McGill and Université Laval. His short films have been presented at Sundance, Cannes (Critics Week), SXSW, Annecy and TIFF and he has been artist in residence at the MacDowell Colony, the Corporation of Yaddo and the Klondike Institute for Art and Culture. THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (2019) is Matthew's first feature, and part of CIFF 2019.