COLUMBUS INTERNATIONAL FILM & ANIMATION FESTIVAL ARCHIVES

History of The Columbus International Film & Animation Festival 

The Columbus International Film & Animation Festival started in 1952 (making it the oldest film festival in the United States). Presented by Columbus College of Art & Design, the festival showcases world-class independent films from around the globe.


Check out some of the film festival’s notable moments since its start.


1950

The Columbus Film Council (later renamed the Film Council of Greater Columbus) is founded by Dr. Edger Dale, Professor Emeritus of The Ohio State University.


1952

The Columbus Film Festival — aka the Chris Awards — is introduced. Top Awards statuettes are modeled after the Christopher Columbus statue in front of Columbus City Hall.


1972

The festival goes global — and so does its name, becoming the Columbus International Film Festival.


1986

And the award goes to … Steven Spielberg, a Cincinnati native, who receives the festival’s first Governor’s Award. The award was created to honor an outstanding Ohio native whose work in film or video arts brings honor to the Buckeye State. Chris Award films are screened at the Upper Arlington Municipal Center. (Check out this poster!)


1987

Film council President Dan Prugh observes that the word “film” could be in transition.


1988

For the first time, the festival includes VHS videotape documentaries in its judging. Not long thereafter, the festival changes its name to the Columbus International Film + Video Festival. [Image of banner promoting the festival]


1995

For the first year in the festival’s history, a Columbus effort brings home the President’s Award for best of show. The Sam Nahem documentary about the Holocaust, Looking into the Face of Evil, includes interviews of three Columbus survivors of the Holocaust.


1997

Festival entries can now be submitted in CD-ROM.


2000

The Silver Chris Award, presented to the top work in each division, debuts. Only these winners are eligible for the festival’s top honor, the President’s Award.


2003

The President’s Award goes to Berga: Soldiers of Another War, the last documentary produced by four-time Oscar winner Charles Guggenheim.


2009

Along with traditional documentary and fiction divisions, the festival adds a group of new categories: Basement Film, Animated Film, and Broadcast Journalism.


2012

The film festival celebrates its golden anniversary. (Here’s a T-shirt created to mark the occasion!)


2013

Although LGBT films have long been part of the festival, that relationship is formalized with the addition of a category for films with a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender perspective.


2015

The film festival drops the Chris Awards and gives out best of category awards instead.


2016

The film festival officially merges with Columbus College of Art & Design and moves to the spring.


2018

The Columbus International Film + Video Festival becomes the Columbus International Film & Animation Festival, reflecting a greater emphasis on animation programming, including experimental animation and animation geared toward adults. The festival will also feature motion graphics and a video game showcase.


STRAD STYLESIGNATURE MOVE AMONG COLUMBUS INTERNATIONAL FILM + VIDEO FESTIVAL WINNERS

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The 65th Columbus International Film + Video Festival, presented by Columbus College of Art & Design, is pleased to announce this year’s festival winners.

Strad Style, directed by Stefan Avalos, won Best Feature Documentary, and Signature Move, directed by Jennifer Reeder, won in the Best Feature category.

“The films in this year’s festivals were incredibly impressive,” said Jeremy Henthorn, Executive Director of the Columbus International Film + Video Festival. “This year’s winners offered an eclectic mix of films that showcased a true love for their subject matter and focused on what drives us to make personal connections.”

Here are this year's award winners:

Best Feature Documentary: Strad Style, directed by Stefan Avalos

Best Feature: Signature Move, directed by Jennifer Reeder

Best Narrative Short: Cake, directed by Anne Hu

Best Doc Short: Mott Haven (After School), directed by Kyle Morrison

Best Animated Film: Moom, directed by Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo

Free Press Award: Cheshire, Ohio, directed Eve Morgenstern


Divisional Distinctions were awarded to:

Social Issue Division: All Governments Lie, directed by Fred Peabody

Humanities Division: Every Ghost Has an Orchestra, directed by Shayna Connelly

Medical Distinction: The Ocularist, directed by Chelsie Corso