We put together a collection of NFB films to spook you out for Halloween. Break out the candy and enjoy... though you may want to keep the lights on.
Borrowing from classical mythology, this very short film illustrates the story of Syrinx, the nymph who attempts to escape the goat-god Pan’s amorous advances by fleeing to a nearby river for help, only to be transformed into hollow reeds. Syrinx is the first film by Ryan Larkin, an Oscar®-nominated director who began his animation career in Norman McLaren’s student group. The technique employed is charcoal sketches on paper; the accompanying music is Claude Debussy’s “Syrinx” for solo flute.
In this animated short, Sleeping Betty is stuck in bed, victim to a strange bout of narcolepsy. The King calls on his subjects to rescue her and they all respond to the call: Uncle Henry VIII, Aunt Victoria, an oddly emotional alien, a funky witch and a handsome prince. But will a kiss really be enough to wake the sleeping princess? The film, drawn in ink, is a classic example of the anachronistic and playful world of Claude Cloutier.
This animated short is a parody of the Frankenstein story. Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster only to find out that his creation is too shy to go out and frighten anyone. The good doctor and his malevolent assistant Trevor try to find ways of helping their creation overcome his condition. A film for anyone who's ever been shy.
This feature-length animation is a richly illustrated cartoon film with an environmental message: how much longer can humans foul their own nest and ignore the consequences? Made by a joint team of Canadian and Yugoslav animation artists, the film transmits its warning with unflagging humour, imagination, movement and design. In between animated sequences, Dr. Fred H. Knelman, Professor of Science and Human Affairs at Montreal’s Concordia University, comments on the importance of what is shown and on what lies in store if more responsibility is not taken on a global scale to conserve what is left of our vital resources.
In this very short animation, an apparition reveals itself through celluloid and transmits vestiges of a forgotten provenance. Have the onlookers interpreted its signs correctly or was the message misunderstood? Inspired by found sound of two people’s discovery of a mysterious event in the sky.
Produced as part of the 11th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship.
This animated short might possibly be the trippiest of John Weldon’s (The Log Driver’s Waltz) films. It follows the psychedelic adventures of one young man who thinks he’s in a career counselling appointment but actually ends up an unwitting participant in a psychological experiment. What follows is 11 minutes of surreal encounters, morphing characters and musical journeys through different hallucinogenic scenarios.
This animation short is an adaptation of Michel Tremblay's short story "The Devil and the Mushroom." A tale of supernatural power, greed and violence, it involves a sinister stranger who single-handedly transforms a quiet village into the scene of a phantasmagoric nightmare.
In this animated short from Richard Condie (The Big Snit), an old fool meets a young fool at a crossroads in the 14th century. The old fool stays behind while the young fool skips blindly down the wrong road. The old fool must then teach his young apprentice about the consequences of taking the wrong road. A quirky tale told without words.
This stop-motion animated film takes viewers on an exhilarating existential journey into the fully imagined, tactile world of Madame Tutli-Putli. As she travels alone on the night train, weighed down with all her earthly possessions and the ghosts of her past, she faces both the kindness and menace of strangers. Finding herself caught up in a desperate metaphysical adventure, adrift between real and imagined worlds, Madame Tutli-Putli confronts her demons.
This animated short is a visual representation of Goethe's poem, The ErlKing that uses sand-on-glass animation set to the music of Franz Schubert. The moving images, resembling woodcuts, capture the haunting, nightmarish quality of the tale of the ErlKing who steals and kills a little boy.
In this animated short, two chimney sweepers clear all the memories from their victim's brain in a quest to determine what goes on in a man's head. A chilling film filled with fearsome puppets inhabiting a world of strange objects.
Part figurative, part abstract, Drux Flux is an animated short comprised of fast-flowing images showing modern people crushed by industry. Inspired by One-Dimensional Man, by philosopher Herbert Marcuse, the filmmaker deconstructs industrial scenes and their terrifying geometry to show the inhumanity of progress.
This animated short film attempts to answer the eternal questions, What is dying? and How does it feel? Based on recent studies, case histories and some of the ancient myths, the afterlife state is portrayed as an awesome but methodical working-out of all the individual's past experiences. Film without words.
This animated short tells the tale of a vampire forced go out every night to separate children from their heads. The reason? His vain wife wants to replace her wrinkled head with one that is young and pretty. What a horror! Especially since the lady of the house is never satisfied and the heads keep piling up on the floor. How will our reluctant vampire ever get out of this vicious cycle?
This short animation tells the story of Saoussan, a young girl struggling to adjust to life in Canada after being uprooted from her wartorn homeland. She has come to seek a quieter and safer life, although memories of war and death linger, memories that are awakened when the children at her new school prepare for a scary Halloween. From Far Away speaks to the power within us all to adapt like Saoussan and to welcome a newcomer.
Part of the Talespinners collection, which uses vibrant animation to bring popular children’s stories from a wide range of cultural communities to the screen.
This documentary takes an in-depth look at the witch hunts that swept Europe just a few hundred years ago. False accusations and trials led to massive torture and burnings at the stake and ultimately to the destruction of an organic way of life. The film questions whether the widespread violence against women and the neglect of our environment today can be traced back to those times. Part two of a series of three films on women and spirituality, which includes Goddess Remembered and Full Circle.
Blending fantasy and reality, this animated short is a bold inquiry into an as yet unresolved problem - the nature of human identity. When a scientist creates a machine that can make copies of physical objects, including humans, a number of ethical questions arise. Is the technique moral? What of its safety? A film by Oscar-winning filmmaker John Weldon (who also wrote the catchy banjo tune that punctuates the story's changing moods).