This feature-length documentary shines a much-deserved spotlight on Evelyn Lambart, who stood side-by-side with Norman McLaren for 21 years. Dubbed The First Lady of Canadian Animation, Lambart was an accomplished animator in her own right. This compilation, playfully contextualized by filmmaker Donald McWilliams, aims to prove just that.
This feature length documentary is a journey into Norman McLaren’s process of artistic creation. A cinematic genius who made films without cameras and music without instruments, McLaren produced 60 films in a stunning range of styles and techniques, collecting over 200 international awards and world recognition. Drawing on McLaren's private film vaults, a gold mine of experimental footage and uncompleted films, this film explores McLaren's methods, including his celebrated "pixillation" technique.
Brilliantly mixing animated sequences and archival footage, Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre paints a touching portrait of virtuoso pianist Oscar Peterson. As with her previous films (McLaren’s Negative and Jutra), Saint-Pierre pursues her bold and personal approach with this animated documentary of Oscar Peterson at the twilight of an exceptional career, as he wistfully meditates on the price of fame and the impacts of the artist’s life on family life. From the young prodigy’s beginnings in Little Burgundy to his triumphs on the international stage alongside the biggest stars of his time, Oscar explores the profound solitude of an artist constantly on tour, and the difficulty in reconciling his professional success with his role as husband and father. Set to the tunes of Peterson’s sometimes catchy, sometimes melancholy-tinged compositions, the film alternates between animated sequences and footage of radio and video interviews to tell a heartfelt story about a life in jazz.
In Margaret Atwood: Once in August, filmmaker Michael Rubbo attempts to discover what shapes the celebrated writer's fiction and what motivates her characters. As one of Canada's most distinguished poets and novelists, Atwood is also one of this country's most elusive literary figures.
This short documentary profiles Quebec-born singing sisters Kate and Anna McGarrigle. The sisters enjoy international acclaim—although outside of the mainstream—for their inimitable style, their talent as songwriters, and especially their unassuming, informal personalities. With camera and sketchbook in hand, artist and filmmaker Caroline Leaf captures the sisters’ endearing qualities. The result is an easygoing, sometimes whimsical portrait of the famous sisters on and off stage. Highlights include excerpts from the sisters’ Carnegie Hall performance and a look at their songwriting and recording processes.
This documentary shares a behind-the-scenes look as husband and wife Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker demonstrate the pinboard technique of film animation they invented together. With a group of NFB artists and animators, they share and explore the techniques and astounding visual effects achieved by filming patterns and shadows created using 240,000 pins.
This short animation by artist and animator Evelyn Lambart offers a wordless plea for the right of all living creatures to a clean, unpolluted environment. With rich colour and intricate animated motion, the film features birds, butterflies and other woodland creatures succumbing to air pollution caused by human inventions.
This film is part of a series of television programs including interviews with the directors of short animated films as well as the films themselves. This video includes 2 animated shorts: Quilt (by Gayle Thomas), an animated tribute to patchwork quilting and Scant Sanity (by John Weldon), an exploration into the nature of the mind and reality in which a person seeking job counseling receives psychiatric treatment instead, thereupon becoming convinced of the reality of his own internal world.
This short film brings together animation workshops led by award-winning independent animator Caroline Leaf. The film, which discusses and demonstrates Leaf’s artisan's approach to narrative filmmaking, explores 3 techniques she pioneered during her 20-year tenure at the NFB: sand, paint-on-glass and scratch animation.
This feature documentary offers a glimpse of contemporary Cuba’s rich musical culture through the experiences of renowned Canadian soprano sax player and flautist Jane Bunnett. Jane and her husband, trumpeter Larry Cramer, are surrounded by the charm of Old Havana as they connect with some of the city's finest musicians—like singers Bobby Carcasses and Amado Dedeu —for a recording session. Bunnett and Cramer then venture to small towns like Cienfuegos and Camaguey, where they hook up with local musicians and visit music schools. Global music fans will be captivated by the performances of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, a celebrated Afro-Cuban rumba group, and Desandann, a 10-member a cappella choir that sings in Haitian Creole.
A detailed retrospective of the animation film at the National Film Board of Canada, of the techniques employed, and of the men and women who used and sometimes invented them. Documentary footage explains the techniques, and clips from NFB films illustrate the often spectacular results. Topics include Norman McLaren, hand-drawn-on-film and pixillation techniques, the "sing-along" animated songs of the 1940s, Alexandre Alexeieff's pinscreen, and Evelyn Lambart's fairytale improvisations.