Hothouse

Hothouse

TWELVE-WEEKS PAID APPRENTICESHIP IN REAL-WORLD ANIMATION FILMMAKING

Hothouse is an apprenticeship program for emerging Canadian filmmakers. Located in Montreal, Quebec, it was created in 2003 by NFB Animation Studio producer Michael Fukushima and executive producer David Verrall. The aim is to re-imagine ways of making animation that are faster, more flexible and that celebrate the shortest of short forms while maintaining creative and technical excellence, all hallmarks of NFB animation.

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

This program is for emerging creators from across Canada with the imagination, vision, experience and enthusiasm to relish the Hothouse challenge, to flourish in the Hothouse environment and to accomplish the making of a successful project within the program’s parameters.

Key aspects of Hothouse include the active participation of an experienced mentoring director, a team of NFB technical and post-production experts who support the filmmakers, and emphasis on the role of the producers as creative partners, all of which highlight the collaborative process of NFB filmmaking.
Hothouse takes place over 12 consecutive weeks in the NFB’s Montreal Animation Studio. Not merely funding nor school: Hothouse is instead a 3-month apprenticeship in real-world animation filmmaking.

Enter the Hothouse

  • All the Rage
    2014|1 min

    A mink walks into a fur store. Fantastic Mr. Fox meets The Shining in this stop-motion cautionary tale of what happens when we don’t think enough about what we buy.

    Inspired by found sound of two dogs growling, proudly animal-friendly, and produced as part of the 10th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • The Midway
    2014|1 min

    Children wait their turn for a once-in-a-lifetime roller coaster ride. A loving and poignant meditation on childhood and the passage of time.

    Inspired by found sound of a theme park in the distance, lyrically rendered in pencil and paper, and produced as part of the 10th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Focus
    2014|1 min

    A 1-minute cart ride through the mental shopping mall of attention deficit disorder.

    Inspired by found sound of a shopper’s vlog, hand-drawn without a light table, and produced as part of the 10th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Sweet Talk
    2014|1 min

    Oil-covered fish meet skateboards and the War on Terror in this razor-sharp satire of media, government, and the tycoons who take advantage of the system.

    Inspired by found sound of kids talking about oil and gas, hand-drawn with love and produced as part of the 10th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship, in collaboration with the Mexican Film Institute.

  • The Roommate
    2014|1 min

    Fed up with her roommate’s incessant shopping and hoarding, a girl takes matters into her own hands in this comical take on vlogging and the art of co-habitation.

    Inspired by found sound of a shopper’s vlog, nourished with Saturday morning cartoons, and produced as part of the 10th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • A Little Craving
    2014|1 min

    In this surrealist stop-motion animation, two disembodied wigs give in to their desires and grow themselves into something a little more whole.

    Inspired by found sound of two dogs growling, decadently delicious, and produced as part of the 10th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Mud
    2014|1 min

    Children guide the audience through a vision of shifting digital polygons in this CGI take of the beloved NFB classic Helicopter Canada.

    An expression of the experience of wonder and discovery, carved from pixels and produced as part of the 10th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • End of Message
    2014|1 min

    Voicemails get lost and found in space in this thoughtful commentary on the fractured act of communication and the spaces between people trying to express themselves.

    Inspired by found sound of missed voicemails, animated in inky black and electric colour, and produced as part of the 10th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship, in collaboration with the Mexican Film Institute.

  • Scientifiq Piqniq
    2013|1 min

    An adventure through the cosmic unveiling of the beautiful and strange macro/micro structures that unite us with the Universe.

    This film was made as part of the 9th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Grace Fall
    2013|1 min

    Grace Fall is about the struggles and joys of trying to perform impossibly well in a circus whose troupe members aren’t really visible, but can certainly be perceived regardless.

    This film was made as part of the 9th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Wake
    2013|1 min

    A woman looks out across a lake, where each drop of water contains a memory of a pioneer in women’s sports, preserved forever.

    This film was made as part of the 9th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Observer
    2013|1 min

    Smartphones cannot feel, smell or taste, yet they are not without their own senses. Using raw data from the low-level sensors of a cell phone, this film offers a unique point of view on the world as it might appear to our increasingly aware mobile devices.

    This film was made as part of the 9th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Itch
    2013|1 min

    Itch is an abstract expression of what it feels like to experience an eczema flare-up.

    This film was made as part of the 9th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Liberation
    2013|1 min

    Tormented forms struggle to break free of their bonds in this abstract animated short.

    This film was made as part of the 9th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Reverie.exe
    2012|1 min

    A sleeping computer dreams of humans forms, transforming their digital data into abstract and playful shapes. Movements, emotions, and musical lines are added layer upon layer until the complexity overloads the system and the dream ends. Reverie.exe combines Microsoft Kinect motion capture and music-driven visuals in an exploration of the connection shared between humans and machines.

    This film was made as part of the 8th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • PFFF
    2012|1 min

    A revolution is kicked off when one little cloud has enough of the sun’s tyranny.

    This film was made as part of the 8th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Flee
    2012|1 min

    A man wakes in a sea of sand dunes. He clutches a metal suitcase as if it holds something of great value. In the distance looms a distorted and inhuman city from which the man has apparently fled. An experiment in science-fiction/mystery, Flee wonders how many possible histories and possible futures can be implied in a single minute.

    This film was made as part of the 8th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship. 

  • Baaad Dream
    2012|1 min

    Baaad Dream pokes fun at selectively-bred mammoth sheep, whose out-of-proportion form makes them vulnerable to tipping over, and a very fat Farmer trying to save them until he himself tips over, with dire consequences.

    This film was made as part of the 8th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • The Visitor
    2012|1 min

    A small boy is left alone to play in a large and empty house. A dark cloud starts to seep in from behind the mail slot at the front door. As it fills the space, a monster forms. The boy runs away, but the creature is always near. The chase will not end until the boy discovers the source of his fears. The film uses a combination of 2D hand-drawn animation, 3D backgrounds and particle effects.

    This film was made as part of the 8th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Meltdown

    In this short animation, a polar bear must try his luck finding a job in the big city when the last of his Arctic ice environment disappears. It’s hard fitting into the human world, however, so this bear finds a more creative solution to his predicament.

    This film was made as part of the 8th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Blind Evolution
    2010|1 min

    Transformation, technology, higher powers, breath. These ideas and elements roil around inside Toronto artist and filmmaker Zane Kozak's CG-animated short, taking us on a somewhat troubling but eerily mystical journey from the human form to... something entirely different.

    This film was made as part of the 6th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Interoculus
    2010|1 min

    In an infinitely vast space, a woman, a man and a fish illustrate a flow of questions about perception. Pixillation and stop-motion animation enhance audience doubts about reality in Marie Valade's whimsical and playful test of how we see and perceive when watching 3-D films.

    This film was made as part of the 6th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Marvin Parson’s Inner Wild Wilderness
    2010|1 min

    Filmmaker Fred Casia, inspired by the iconic '50s-vintage View-Master stereo viewer and '60s-era TV nature shows, takes us on a weird and wacky 3-D safari through the jungle that is the human digestive system. With 2-D digital animation set into a diorama-esque stereoscopic space, Casia creates a small, bizarre gem.

    This film was made as part of the 6th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Pierogi Pinch
    2010|1 min

    As a young woman finds herself lost in daydreams while clumsily performing the tradition of making pierogies, she invokes the presence of her grandmother, who guides her through the messy ritual. The film is a fusion of hand-drawn animation, folk art and stereoscopic drawings made in space, by Calgary illustrator and filmmaker Kiarra Albina.

    This film was made as part of the 6th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Reflexion
    2010|1 min

    Two prisoners are trapped in a void. Trying separately to escape, they discover each other and have to overcome their fear in order to connect and find a way out. Or do they really discover themselves? Filmmaker Greg Labute renders an austere nightmare world using the SANDDE's stereoscopic animation drawing tool and a dark, slightly perverse imagination.

    This film was made as part of the 6th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Unlaced
    2010|1 min

    A myopic woman walks, then boogies, through a wintry urban landscape, her world view altered suddenly by a beat from within herself, transporting her to a rich and lush place full of green foliage. Animated in stereoscopic stop-motion, Winnipeg filmmaker Megan Turnbull's film creates a magical, miniature world entirely of out paper sculpture and pure invention.

    This film was made as part of the 6th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • A Cloud's Dream
    2011|1 min

    Watch as one cloud’s imagination soars from the familiar to the unknown on a captivating journey from dusk until dawn. Animated using partial audio waveform data, A Cloud’s Dream is a stereoscopic particle simulation that explores various cloud formations.

    This film was made as part of the 7th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Sick
    2011|1 min

    The body is a magnificent system. But its harmony can be interrupted, sometimes by subversive agents within. Sick uses stop motion to bring to life a knitted body in a fanciful journey through the pulsating organs and dark recesses of the human body.

    This film was made as part of the 7th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • The Big Swing
    2011|1 min

    The macabre tale of a child trying to overcome her fear of the swing.

    This film was made as part of the 7th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • The Kiss
    2011|1 min

    A slow, agonizing, juicy exploration of the oldest form of affection.

    This film was made as part of the 7th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Black Gold
    2011|1 min

    This animated short employs hand-drawn animation layered over stop-motion sequences of moving ink on drumskins to create a striking, mournful portrait of the Alberta tar sands.

    This film was made as part of the 7th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Missed Connection
    2011|1 min

    In this animated short, a delusional young man spots the girl of his dreams in his favourite café and weaves a self-indulgent fantasy story of their imagined life together. Missed Connection examines our universal desire to connect in a world of beautiful strangers.

    This film was made as part of the 7th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Git Gob
    2009|1 min

    In this animated short from the Hothouse 5 series, two creatures wonder, What is a hole? They have different points of view. Their debate leads to an idea, an idea that changes the world. This is a story of practical magic.

    This film was made as part of the 5th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Pearl
    2009|1 min

    In this animated short from the Hothouse 5 series, a lonely old lady sits in an empty room knitting. As her thoughts wander, her dreams take the shape of fanciful knitted creatures and objects that cocoon her in a pattern of wonder and comfort.

    This film was made as part of the 5th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Wiggles and Giggles
    2009|1 min

    In this animated short, a playful group is dancing when they become aware they're being watched by a huge, menacing head. When the head interrupts their good time, they take action in an unexpected way, forcing the giant head to undergo an altered state of mind.

    This film was made as part of the 5th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Family Album Number One
    2009|1 min

    In this animated short, a layered narrative exploring memory and family history is constructed using a collage of family photos, photocopies and personal audio recordings. The film explores the fragility of personal memory, and photos as physical tokens of that memory.

    This film was made as part of the 5th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Orange
    2009|1 min

    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.

  • Batmilk
    2009|1 min

    In this animated short, an oafish ghoul and his soft exposed brain are met with ruin when the brain is unexpectedly killed. Though paralyzed, the ghoul attains a fresh brain and is fed with new life.

    This film was made as part of the 5th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Roy G Biv
    2007|1 min

    In this short animation film Dale Hayward brings to life his watercolour on paper.

    This film was made as part of the fourth edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Balloons
    2007|1 min

    This short animation film is about two little men floating into the deep blue sky, tied to balloons. But then each decides the sky belongs to him.

    This film was made as part of the fourth edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • The Squirrel Next Door
    2007|1 min

    This stop-motion animation is about a spider who professes its love for a squirrel. An interspecies courtship unfolds between the two doe-eyed neighbours. This short film is a testament to the fact that there is truly someone for everyone and that love is species blind.

    This film was made as part of the fourth edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • One
    2007|1 min

    This minimalist piece of animation explores the origin of life.

    This film was made as part of the fourth edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Lost Monster Hop
    2007|1 min

    In this short animated film, a little banjo-picking monster is trying to find her way at a signpost by the railway tracks. She sets out and finds what she is looking for in a rather surprising way.

    This film was made as part of the fourth edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Biology Made Un-easy
    2007|1 min

    This short animation film is a close look at the microscopic world that surrounds us. Within each basic human interaction there is something strange festering under the surface, and we just need a good magnifying glass and a strong stomach to see it.

    This film was made as part of the fourth edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Margins
    2007|1 min

    This short animated film looks at the relationship between social spaces and taboos surrounding mental illness and other forms of marginalization. The film is intended as a mood piece, a chance encounter between a lone figure and an indifferent crowd.

    This film was made as part of the fourth edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Cumulus
    2007|1 min

    This short animation film is a multi–layered story of an accumulation of encounters between black clouds.

    This film was made as part of the fourth edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Meta Pre Ptolemy
    2006|2 min

    In this whimsical animated short, filmmaker Rachel Peters asks: "what if the laws of physics suddenly ceased to apply?" Peters explores this question through the tale of a man and his two goldfish as they prepare for the end of the world. Technique: drawn animation, digitally coloured and composited.

    This film was made as part of the third edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Feather
    2006|1 min

    In this short animation a little creature watches the transformation of a feather and follows a whale to where icebergs melt, leaving birds with nowhere to land. The materials used include old gloves, costume jewellery and Plasticine. Technique: puppet and object animation with drawn animation.

    This film was made as part of the third edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Swims
    2006|2 min

    In this animated short a figure floats in landscapes and spaces without a ground plane. There is only water. The reflected skies are endless and mirrored interiors are doubled in height. This film explores experiences within environments that are recognizable but surreal.

    This film was made as part of the third edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Vimy-Ridge
    2006|2 min

    In this short animation Damien Hess attempts to connect with the tragedy of the First World War, a conflict that helped define Canada. In this film he uses imagery of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial monument in northern France to summon up names, faces and shadows that are fading from our memory.

    This film was made as part of the third edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • A Prairie Story
    2006|1 min

    In this short animation film a prairie landscape undergoes a metamorphosis from rural idyll to over-urbanized dystopia. Director Anne Koizumi laments the changing face of her hometown of Calgary in this critique of the bacteria-like spread of suburbia and exurbia.

    This film was made as part of the third edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Square Roots
    2006|2 min

    In this short animated film a robot rambles about frenetically, receiving countless electronic messages through his antenna every second. Despite his fatigue and stress, he never slows down. The only thing that might bring his frantic journey to an end is a traffic accident.

    This film was made as part of the third edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • A Single Tear
    2004|2 min

    This short animation film is an “epic” adventure and a magical environmental fairy tale. Amy Lockhart uses cutouts, drawings and collage (captured and manipulated as digital multi-plane animation) to conjure up her whimsical world.

    This film was made as part of the second edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Ice Ages
    2004|1 min

    Seeking shelter from a thunderstorm, a man sits in a pub watching the ice in his glass melt away. Howie Shia marries his graphic illustration style with subtle animation and a haunting soundtrack to conjure up anxiety and foreboding. He used pen and ink on tracing paper and later composited and coloured digitally.

    This film was made as part of the second edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Glou Glou
    2004|1 min

    In this short animation film Marielle Guyot uses her computer skills with great artistic sensibility to bring the sea to life, death, and hopefully, life again.

    This film was made as part of the second edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Bones & Boats
    2004|1 min

    This short animated tale of Victorian-era folly ends in tragedy. Kevin Langdale's graphic style brims with the majesty of human ambition and the indomitable and sometimes destructive power of the natural world.

    This film was made as part of the second edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Eaude
    2004|1 min

    In this short animation Thea Pratt explores the exhilarating moment of a poetic dive. The movement of the puppet diver is influenced by Norman McLaren, Leni Riefenstahl and Busby Berkeley. Dancing light, frothing oceans, rolling rivers and calm lakes describe in photographic images the diver’s own stream of consciousness.

    This film was made as part of the second edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Immersion
    2004|1 min

    In this short animation film Megann Reid evokes the solitude and warmth of a bath. Drawn with water colour pencil crayons on frosted acetate, the animation was done under a digital camera.

    This film was made as part of the second edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • False Saints
    2003|2 min

    This experimental animation film examines society's deification of architecture and urbanization in the modern world and the impact on our relationship to nature. This is Sutherland’s first professional film and was made with the NFB Hothouse program for emerging filmmakers.

    This film was made as part of the first edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • System Error
    2003|1 min

    This short animation film is a pithy critique of society's commercialization of water, abetted by an utter disregard for the future. The film is a mixed media whirlwind of hyperactive animated collage.

    This film was made as part of the first edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Submerge: Kami No Yu
    2003|1 min

    This short animation film is a “water poem,” set in a Japanese ofuro hot bath. It explores water as a medium and repository for collective stories and was created in a hybrid new media form using animation, video and split screens.

    This film was made as part of the first edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • An Aqueous Solution
    2003|1 min

    This short animation is bleak and apparently grim, but it is an assertive statement on self-determination and the fundamental need for both dark and light. This is the first professional film by Jo Meuris.

    This film was made as part of the first edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.

  • Aquasnazz
    2003|1 min

    This short film is a marvellous example of extreme animation. Jacob Bauming shows us a whirling dervish of sensory overload, with a tenuous connection to snazzy “aquatics,” using them as a trigger for his wild and manic imagination.

    This film was made as part of the first edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.