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Donald McWilliams

Donald McWilliams

Donald McWilliams is a documentary filmmaker whose work makes use of both live-action and animation techniques. He was inspired to become a filmmaker after meeting Norman McLaren in 1968. McWilliams would later work with McLaren, and this led him to make two films about the acclaimed NFB animator: Creative Process: Norman McLaren (1990) and Norman McLaren: Animated Musician (2014). Having also met McLaren’s long-time collaborator, Evelyn Lambart, McWilliams happily agreed to make Eleven Moving Moments with Evelyn Lambart in 2017. The film gave him the opportunity to bring Lambart out of McLaren’s shadow and recognize her contribution to his success, while highlighting her own beautifully crafted animation.

McWilliams’ other films include a trilogy of historical film essays: The Passerby (1995), awarded Best Cultural Documentary at the 1997 Hot Docs festival and selected as one of the 50 best film essays by the Vienna Film Festival in 2007; The Fifth Province (2003); and A Time There Was: Stories from the Last Days of Kenya Colony (2009). McWilliams also produced and edited Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square, which was nominated for the 1999 Oscar for Best Documentary Short.

McWilliams taught experimental animation and documentary production for several years in Norway. The Writers Guild of Canada has nominated his work twice for a best documentary script award. He has been a part of the NFB Animation Studio for close to four decades and was named Honorary President of the 2016 Ottawa International Animation Festival, a testament to his influence in animation circles.