North America's biggest animation festival closed Sunday night, as the Ottawa International Animation Festival drew people from around the world to the National Arts Centre.

One of the appeals for animators is the chance to see their idols up close.

"This is one of the only venues where you can come and see a film and then turn around an hour later and see the filmmakers walking around," said animator Pilar Newton. "It's a very accessible and open and friendly festival."

Filmmakers said that friendly praise helps them feel appreciated.

"Today people came to see me and they digest the film, I think," said Canadian animator Frederick Tremblay. "So many people came to see me and they said they liked it even if it's kind of depressing."

This year's festival ran from Wednesday to Sunday at venues around the city, and a group of film students from Rhode Island said they took in nearly every screening to learn from the submissions.

"We get exposure to all kinds of different animation across the world and I think it was really great to have that opportunity," said Elizabeth Gearreald.

Organizers said about 2,000 films were submitted, with U.K. animator Phil Mulloy's Dead But Not Buried winning Best Animated Feature.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Katie Griffin