Hothouse - Animation Propagation
Imagine Native - Original. Indigenous. ONF/NFB



The National Film Board of Canada, in partnership with imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, is seeking submissions from Indigenous filmmakers and artists of any age who are intrigued by animation art, for the 12th edition of Hothouse. This edition will be a 22-week paid apprenticeship in all-inclusive, real-world animation filmmaking and will be a mix of full-on training and part-time creating.

Orientation, initial training and post production services will take place at the NFB Animation Studio in Montreal, which is located on unceded Indigenous lands. The Kanien’kehá:ka Nation is recognized as the custodians of the lands and waters as Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal is historically known as a gathering place for many First Nations. Once orientation is completed, selected participants will have the option of continuing to work on their projects either from Montreal or their residing territory (urban or remote). Equipment can be provided for those working from their home territory.

We are looking for two Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit or Metis) artists residing in Canada who are willing and able to create in a hands-on animation experience. This is a chance to explore Indigenous storytelling/artistic practices through animation. Selected applicants will be supported by and paired up with an Indigenous Associate Producer, as well as an Indigenous Mentoring Director, who will both be there to assist each project through production from start to finish in this intensive experience. Hothouse is about re-imagining ways of making animation, ways that are faster, more flexible, and which embrace the many possibilities in the animation process while maintaining creative and technical excellence.


Associate Producers: Amanda Roy and Amanda Strong
Mentoring Directors: TBD

Deadline: Wednesday January 9, 2019

Program Dates:
Feb 18 – 28, 2019 Orientation and pre-production in Montreal (full time)
March 4 – June 30, 2019 Production in residing territory or Montreal (part-time)
July 1-19, 2019 Post-production and wrap in Montreal (full time)

  • Your proposal can be based on any theme and can be as imaginative as you want. We welcome both traditional and contemporary stories, experiences and perspectives.
  • You can propose any animation technique that is feasible within the Hothouse framework and with which you have ability.
  • It’s important to reveal a thoughtful relationship between your concept and your chosen technique (whether hand-drawn, stop motion, 3D CGI, collage, 3D printing, mixed media, etc).
  • We’re open to ideas that involve interactive or real-time elements (kinect, Oculus Rift, machinima, data visualization, Processing, etc) but you must demonstrate a thoughtful reason behind the use of technology. Your proposal must demonstrate that you have the necessary know-how to execute the project as proposed – including working in collaboration with the Hothouse 12 team in Montreal.
  • The animation must be completed in the 22-week allotted time frame. Project viability is a key deciding factor in the mentoring team’s selection process.



Submissions must include:

  1. An outline of your idea and intent, artistic approach, and motivation for participating in Hothouse. This outline can be EITHER in the form of a one-page written statement, OR a 3-minute video – whichever format you’re most comfortable in.
    1. Explain the relationship between your concept and the animated approach you intend to work in.
    2. Explain what are your equipment needs (hardware, software, props, cameras, specialized equipment, materials etc)
    3. Indicate where you prefer to work for the duration of production: either at NFB in Montreal, or your home territory. If the latter, please briefly describe your work environment (ie. is it a home studio? Is it in a film co-op or community centre?) and all the equipment you have access to, as well as equipment you do not have but which you will need (ie. drawing table, digital tablet, etc). If you don’t have a preference about location, please state this explicitly.
  2. Two or three design samples (to demonstrate the look and feel).
  3. A Bio and a One-page résumé/CV.
  4. One example of a previous film (animation or otherwise) no more than 5 minutes, or an excerpt from a previous film, no more than 5 minutes. Please send only 1 option. Media must be submitted as a URL. Do not send hard copies. If you don’t have a finished film, don’t worry, but make sure you show off what you can do in your outline and design samples. Or, if you can, make a short animation test and show off your ability.

Submissions must be received by email to 5pm PST on Wednesday January 09, 2019. The two successful candidates will be notified by Wednesday January 16, 2019.

We are available to answer any questions or to provide clarification on the project or its criteria. Please contact the Associate Producers at


We look for:

  • strength of idea
  • your ability with the chosen animation technique
  • your conviction of vision, creative maturity, authenticity
  • your willingness to embrace the Hothouse challenge

Submissions are accepted from across Canada and should be in English.

You must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant (no exceptions)
  • Be Indigenous to Canada (First Nations, Metis, Inuit)
  • Have some experience in animation filmmaking (including animation workshops) or a related field (ie. fine arts, film, graphic design, photography, traditional arts and crafts, electronic arts, computational arts, etc.)
  • Be open and willing to learn
  • Be relatively new to auteur animation filmmaking
  • Be prepared to commit for the period of twenty-two weeks.



  1. Propose the film you want to make, not the film you think the NFB might like.
  2. Pay attention to clarity of idea and intent in your proposal. If you’re unsure about something, admit it and explain why and what you intend to do about it.
  3. Ambiguity is not a virtue in a proposal. Cinema is a two-way conversation so someone other than yourself must be able to understand/feel/appreciate/be provoked by what you’re saying.
  4. Remote production is not meant to be a challenge to the social aspects of Hothouse nor a shift toward a more independent production model. The goal is to give access to people who cannot, or prefer not to, relocate.
  5. Become familiar with Hothouse. See previous Hothouse films here. Check out behind-the-scenes videos and info about past editions here.
  6. Be sure to read the Rules & Regulations for a better understanding of what we expect from you and what you can expect from us.


Hothouse participants will direct an animation short, maximum 1 minute in length, from creative inception all the way through final sound mix and video release in twenty-two intensive weeks. The NFB provides – within reasonable limits of budget and availability – the tools, resources, advice and support to master this challenge within the filmmaking community of the NFB.

By making a submission, participants agree to these expectations:

  1. Each Hothouse participant receives a fixed artist’s fee of $8,600.
  2. Travel arrangements for those living outside the Greater Montreal area will be made by the NFB in January. The NFB will pay for two return trips to Montreal and back, at the best possible rate. If participants prefer to relocate to Montreal, a modest stipend will be offered to help defray actual costs of local accommodation.
  3. Participants must be able and prepared to work from February 18 to July 19, 2019.
  4. Projects can use digital or analogue techniques and must be no more than 1 minute in length. They must respect the parameters of Hothouse, including available resources and expertise in the Animation Studio.
  5. Participants must be prepared to work with the Hothouse creative team, which includes Associate Producers trainees, Mentoring Director, Producers, Technical Director and Coordinator, Composer, Sound Designer, Editor, and the rest of the NFB Animation filmmaking community.
  6. Participants must be prepared to engage fully, which includes mandatory work-in-progress reviews and workshops, discussions with producers and creative and technical crew and frequent contribution to the NFB Hothouse 12 social media platforms.
  7. Participation with and inclusion in the INSIDE HOTHOUSE 12 making-of documentary is granted by all Hothouse participants in acceptance to the Hothouse offer.
  8. Adherence to five locked delivery dates: offer response, story sign-off, picture-edit lock, final mix, and video online.
  9. Projects shall be subject to the NFB’s standards for production and distribution, which includes the applicable collective agreements. Hothouse participants will retain copyright in the script material in accordance with the terms of the WGC scale agreements.


Hothouse is an apprenticeship program for emerging Canadian filmmakers. It was created in 2003 by NFB Animation Studio producers Michael Fukushima and David Verrall. The aim is to make animation more quickly and more flexibly in celebration of the shortest of short forms while maintaining the hallmarks of NFB animation: creative and technical excellence.

This is not “quick and dirty” but rather “intense and amazing.” Think of horticultural hothouses where gardeners create optimal growing conditions to encourage the flowering of exotic orchids and other blooms in weeks rather than months.

Hothouse is not merely funding nor school: it is an apprenticeship in real-world animation filmmaking.

Animation at the NFB

Initiated by Norman McLaren in 1941, animation filmmaking at the NFB has been recognized ever since as a cornerstone of NFB activity, garnering many international awards for excellence and innovation. Today’s NFB continues the commitment to a diversity of eclectic and experimental exploration of animation as art. The panoply of artistic visions, driven by the passion and imagination of their creators, reflects novel styles, methods, subjects, and cultures and is expressed across the country.


imagineNATIVE is the world's largest presenter of Indigenous screen content. The organisation is recognised locally, nationally, and internationally for excellence and innovation in programming and as the global centre for Indigenous media arts. imagineNATIVE (legal entity: The Centre for Aboriginal Media) is a registered charity committed to creating a greater understanding of Indigenous peoples and cultures through the presentation of contemporary Indigenous-made media art (film, video, audio and digital media).

imagineNATIVE is an Indigenous-run organisation located on the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat nations. We acknowledge the Dish With One Spoon covenant, a treaty whose spirit is one based in collective stewardship and sharing of land and resources, and one which extends to all nations living in present-day Toronto.