McLaren Now celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Norman McLaren, the great Canadian filmmaker and founder of animation at the National Film Board. Presented by the NFB in partnership with the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, this program demonstrates that his spirit of innovation and exploration is alive and well in today’s animation.
Marcel Jean Artistic Director Annecy International Animation Film Festival
We invite you to watch this first of three McLaren Now programs and discover films made by some of McLaren’s artistic heirs. Two more programs will be launched at the Annecy festival in France, taking place June 9 to 14, 2014.
Snip Steven Woloshen 2004 In this short animation set to the music of Fats Wallen, coloured ink and small pieces of film stock are heaped directly on the film's surface, creating a cameraless film. Shards of film fly off the screen as the filmmaker considers such diverse topics as film censorship, cutting his daughter’s umbilical cord, and jazz music, all in abstract expressive form.
Electroflux Rose Bond 2008 In this short animation, the past comes knocking as an animator struggles with creative malaise. Transformed from a street installation into a video, ElectroFlux offers a voyeuristic glimpse of the creative process and references inspirations from the past, inluding Norman McLaren, Len Lye, and the filmmaker herself. Comedic, complex and cleverly attuned to time’s passage, Judith Gruber-Stitzer’s inventive soundtrack ranges from contemplative to cacophonous.
Zounk!Billy Roisz2012This short animation is generated with analogue techniques using a video mixer and transducer and then transforming the project into digital video montage. The film is comprised of a random choreography of colourful, flashing screen signals that sink back into black. The images are triggered by the soundtrack's own frequencies, resulting in an idiosyncratic mix of brutality and tenderness. The film plays on the history of abstract art; references range from Hans Richter to Piet Mondrian to Oskar Fischinger.
Notes on a triangleRené Jodoin1966In this short animation film the triangle achieves the distinction of principal dancer in a geometric ballet. The triangle is shown splitting into some three hundred transformations, dividing and sub-dividing with grace and symmetry to the music of a waltz. The film's artist and animator is René Jodoin, whose credits include Dance Squared and several collaborations with Norman McLaren. Film without words.
Korean AlphabetKim In Tae1967This short animation is a colourful introduction to the Korean alphabet. The film, which marries visuals by Kim In Tae, a young Korean filmmaker training in the NFB’s Animation Studio, and synthetic sound by Norman McLaren, was made to teach the alphabet to Korean children, but its slick graphics and modern soundtrack will appeal to anyone.
SynchromyNorman McLaren1971This animated short by Norman McLaren features synchronization of image and sound in the truest sense of the word. To make this film, McLaren employed novel optical techniques to compose the piano rhythms of the sound track, which he then moved, in multicolor, onto the picture area of the screen so that, in effect, you see what you hear.
From April 11 to June 1, 2014, several contemporary projects incorporate McLaren’s iconic images into videos projected on architectural facades in Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles. Take a walk through this dazzling site-specific video installation and experience animation like never before.
The legacy of Norman McLaren’s work is shared between Canada and Scotland, the country of his birth. On the occasion of his centenary, screenings, exhibitions, workshops, and performances will take place around the United Kingdom, celebrating McLaren’s innovative techniques and creative spirit.