I love these films. I could invent a unifying thread that binds them together but I love them because they are distinct, each an expression of the unique imagination and artistry of the women who created them.
From the meticulously hand-crafted Wild Life by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, and Soup of the Day by Lynn Smith, to the dark and mysterious My Little Underground by Elise Simard and The End of Pinky by Claire Blanchet, to the hilarious ShowPeace piece Dinner For Two by Janet Perlman and the snappy Orange – done by Sylvie Trouvé in a span of a few weeks as part of the Hothouse mentorship program – they are whimsical and provocative, functional but fun.
And they exemplify the kind of filmmaking that is nurtured in the NFB animation studios, where the idea, the medium and the personalities behind the film curl into a singular auteur expression.
These filmmakers approach their work with care and courage and a spirit of experimentation that is exciting to witness. Their films are poetry, history, memoire, fable….
…did I mention I love these films?
Producer, Animation Studio
This Oscar®-nominated animated short tells the story of a dapper young remittance man who is sent from England to Alberta to attempt ranching in 1909. However, his affection for badminton, bird watching and liquor leaves him little time for wrangling cattle. It soon becomes clear that nothing in his refined upbringing has prepared him for the harsh conditions of the New World. A film about the beauty of the prairie, the pangs of homesickness and the folly of living dangerously out of context.
In this autobiographical animated short, Elise Simard crafts the story of a young girl seeking self-discovery and rebirth. Drifting between real and imagined events, the film uses time-lapse photography with ink and pastels, creating a haunting, compassionate exploration of addiction and existence.
When it comes to conflict, even chameleons won't change! Peace in the rain forest is disrupted when two chameleons literally get stuck in a conflict, with catastrophic results. Relationships are severed, opportunities are lost, innocent bystanders are harmed and violence seems imminent. Luckily for the lizards, a frog observing the fracas turns into exactly what they need - no, not a prince - a mediator.
Dinner for Two tackles conflict in a lively, humorous and provocative way. It shows that amidst the chaos that differences create, there are still paths to reconciliation.
This film is part of the ShowPeace series of lively animated films about conflict resolution. This series has received support from UNICEF and Justice Canada. For teaching guides, a parents' guide and recommended resources visit www.nfb.ca/showpeace
Technique: Cel animation
This animated short poses some interesting questions: what if buildings pulsed, trees tapped out beats, or shadows could whistle a tune? Through the creative interpretation and animation of the city's natural rhythms, Orange orchestrates a contagious urban dance.
This film was made as part of the 5th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.
This short animation adapted from a short story by Heather O’Neill, who also narrates the film, follows three fallen angels seeking companionship in Montreal’s red-light district. The survivor of traumatic childhood experiences, Johnny is a handsome thief who finds himself drawn to Mia’s fragile beauty. Both have a soft spot for Johnny’s best friend and partner in crime, Pinky. But when one of Pinky’s endearing quirks sets off a tragicomic chain of events, Johnny plots his revenge with methodical detachment. Peopled with characters living on the margins of society, this film casts light on the frailty of human relationships. The film features hand-drawn pencil and pastel animation rendered in stereoscopic 3D.
This animated short presents a dilemma faced by a couple every time they go out to eat. Will their culinary differences douse the flames of romance, or will love prevail? Set to a rollicking doo-wop song by Canadian songwriter Alexander (Zander) Ary, the film brings Lynn Smith's gouache paintings to life as she animates directly under the camera. This short is a tasty comic narrative that skips along an array of tantalizing dishes. Vocalists Susie Arioli and Zander Ary each bring a unique interpretation to this funny, charming song.