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Norman McLaren

Norman McLaren

The young Norman McLaren began his filmmaking career in 1934, and the following year, two of his films won prizes at the Scottish Amateur Film Festival, where John Grierson offered him a job at the General Post Office Film Unit in London. In 1941, at the invitation of Grierson, who had become Canada’s first Government Film Commissioner, McLaren joined the National Film Board. The first films he made for the NFB were almost all intended to support the war effort. This didn’t prevent him from making several experimental films and founding an animation department. Over the course of his career, he mostly created experimental animation, with music as an important element. He also experimented with the use of dance and dancers. McLaren’s films have garnered more than 200 awards. Neighbours won an Oscar® in 1952, and Blinkity Blank received the Palme d’Or for short films at the 1955 Cannes festival. In 2009, Neighbours was added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, which lists the most significant documentary heritage collections. McLaren was a master and a source of inspiration for countless filmmakers, and audiences around the world consider his name to be practically synonymous with the NFB.