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The NFB at the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF)


Diane Obomsawin’s deeply personal new film, I Like Girls, has its world premiere;

Theodore Ushev makes highly anticipated return to OIAF

September 7, 2016 – Ottawa – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Between September 21 and 25, nine National Film Board of Canada (NFB) productions and co-productions will screen at the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). Making its world premiere in official competition is I Like Girls by Diane Obomsawin. The festival is featuring two more NFB animated films in competition: Ann Marie Fleming’s feature-length Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming and Theodore Ushev’s short Blind Vaysha, which has received five awards to date, including the Jury Award and Junior Jury Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Diane Obomsawin (Kaspar, 2012; Here and There, 2006) turns her latest graphic novel into an animated short film in her trademark playful style. I Like Girls uses endearing anthropomorphic figures to tell real-life stories, revealing the nitty-gritty about the first loves of four women who share funny and intimate tales of one-sided infatuation, mutual attraction, erotic moments, and fumbling attempts at sexual expression. The film is produced by Marc Bertrand and executive produced by Julie Roy.

Written and directed by Fleming, Window The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming Horses:  is a feature animation about love—love of family, poetry, history, culture―in which a young Canadian poet embarks on a whirlwind voyage of discovery. The film’s voice actors include Sandra Oh, Ellen Page, Don McKellar, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Nancy Kwan. More than a dozen animators, including Kevin Langdale, Janet Perlman, Bahram Javaheri and Jody Kramer, worked on the film with Fleming. Window Horses is co-produced by Stickgirl Productions (Ann Marie Fleming), Sandra Oh and the NFB (Shirley Vercruysse and Michael Fukushima), and distributed in Canada by Mongrel Media. Ann Marie Fleming has also been invited to be part of the festival’s Competition Short Jury this year.

Vaysha is not like other young girls: blinded by what was and tormented by what will be, she’s unable to see the reality that exists in the present. Adapted from a story by Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov and narrated by Caroline Dhavernas, Theodore Ushev’s Blind Vaysha is a captivating metaphoric tale about the difficulty of being in the here and now, using an expressive and powerful style poised halfway between religious paintings and linocuts. Blind Vaysha was produced at the NFB by Marc Bertrand and executive producer Julie Roy, with the participation of ARTE France.

The NFB’s latest collaboration with French animator Franck Dion and four new shorts from its Hothouse program for emerging animators will also be screening in the Out-of-Competition Canadian Panorama:

The Head Vanishes (Papy3D/NFB/ARTE France) is Dion’s second NFB co-production, following the multi-award-winning 2012 animated short Edmond Was a Donkey. In his new 10-minute short, he takes us inside the faltering, fragile mind of a woman living with dementia who is determined to take the train to the seaside, as she does every summer. Winner of the Cristal Award for a Short Film at Annecy, the film is produced by Franck Dion and Richard Van Den Boom for Papy3D, Julie Roy for the NFB and Hélène Vayssières for ARTE France.

The NFB’s Hothouse program has helped kick-start the careers of some of Canada’s most acclaimed animators. Malcolm Sutherland was the mentoring director for the 11th edition, for which animators created works based on snippets of found sound. Four short animations from the program are being featured at OIAF: Mindfork, by Montrealer Catherine Dubeau; Him, by Lorna Kirk from Halifax; Little Big Bang by Duncan Major of St. John’s; and U.F.O. by Winnipeg’s Rhayne Vermette.

Also screening at the festival out of competition, Munro Ferguson’s VR animated film Minotaur takes audiences on a journey through seven stages: birth, childhood, mission, labyrinth, monster, battle and death/rebirth. Through purely abstract, moving images, Minotaur conveys corresponding emotional states: calm, love, joy, surprise, fear, anger/hate, and death/rebirth, leading again to calm. Renowned Canadian composer Kid Koala’s haunting, contemporary score accentuates the hero’s quest for redemption. The VR producer for the project is Jelena Popovic. Michael Fukushima is executive producer and Eloi Champagne is technical director.

Distinguished NFB filmmaker and producer Donald McWilliams has also been named Honorary President of the festival this year. McWilliams is a former collaborator with Norman McLaren whose directorial credits include the landmark 1990 documentary Creative Process: Norman McLaren, as well as his 1995 NFB experimental doc The Passerby, named Best Cultural Documentary at Hot Docs. His credits as NFB producer include the 1998 Oscar-nominated animated documentary Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square, by Shui-Bo Wang.



Related Products

Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailer, credits, synopsis: Window Horses | Blind Vaysha | The Head Vanishes

Associated Links

Ottawa International Animation Festival
Mongrel Media
ARTE France


Window Horses website

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  • Nadine Viau
    NFB Publicist – Montreal
    C.: 514-458-9745

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    Director, Communications and Public Affairs, NFB
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  • About the NFB

    The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a leader in exploring animation as an artform, a storytelling medium and innovative content for emerging platforms. It produces trailblazing animated works both in its Montreal studios and across  the country, and it works with many of the world’s leading creators on international co-productions. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including seven Oscars for NFB animation and seven grand prizes at the Annecy festival. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.