Vancouver animated films Window Horses by Ann Marie Fleming and I Am Here by Eoin Duffy headline a rich selection of six National Film Board of Canada (NFB) animation and documentary films at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), September 29 to October 14, 2016.
Duffy’s first project with the NFB, I Am Here will have its world premiere at VIFF. This animated short combines modernist shapes and a riveting score by composer duo Menalon in its open-ended exploration of existence itself, as a mysterious traveller journeys across space and time in search of the origin of the universe, life, and God. The film features the vocal talents of Nicholas Campbell (Da Vinci’s Inquest) and is produced by the NFB’s BC and Yukon Studio in Vancouver (Shirley Vercruysse, producer and executive producer) and its Animation Studio (Maral Mohammadian, producer; Michael Fukushima, executive producer).
Born in Ireland, Eoin Duffy employs a signature style that blends clean lines and colourful graphics with a humorous approach to dark and complex themes. His films have received international accolades, including a shortlisting for Best Animated Short at the Academy Awards for The Missing Scarf (2014).
Making its hometown premiere is Ann Marie Fleming’s Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming, 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.
For over 25 years, Ann Marie Fleming has been making award-winning films that deal with family, history, memory and issues of identity, including such acclaimed works as Big Trees (2013) and I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors (2010). She adapted her 2008 NFB animated feature documentary, The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, into the graphic novel of the same name, which won Best Book at the Doug Wright Awards for Canadian Cartooning and was nominated for two Eisner Awards.
A new film by Alanis Obomsawin
NFB feature-length documentary is also being featured at VIFF, with the BC premiere of the latest film by legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin. Entitled We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice, it explores an epic court challenge over child and family welfare services for First Nations children on reserves and in Yukon, filed by the Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations against Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada. The film documents this landmark nine-year legal battle, giving voice to the tenacious childcare workers at its epicentre―especially Caring Society executive director Cindy Blackstock, who was spied on and harassed by the federal government.
A member of the Abenaki Nation, Alanis Obomsawin is one of Canada’s most distinguished filmmakers. For over four decades, she has directed documentaries at the NFB that chronicle the lives and concerns of First Nations people and explore issues of importance to all.
New NFB shorts from Quebec
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. In Blind Vaysha, adapted from a story by Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov and narrated by Caroline Dhavernas, Genie Award winner Theodore Ushev uses an expressive and powerful style, poised halfway between religious paintings and linocuts, to tell a captivating metaphoric tale about the difficulty of being in the here and now. Blind Vaysha has received four awards to date, including the Jury Award and Junior Jury Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. The film was produced at the NFB by Marc Bertrand, with the participation of ARTE France.
Janice Nadeau makes her solo directorial debut with Mamie (Folimage/NFB), the filmmaker’s personal and moving exploration of her own childhood, and in particular her relationship with her grandmother, animated through wonderful hand-painted watercolours. The film was co-produced by Corinne Destombes for Folimage and Marc Bertrand for the NFB, with narration from Quebec actress Isabelle Blais. Nadeau previously collaborated with Nicola Lemay on the award-winning 2014 NFB animated short No Fish Where to Go, and is a three-time recipient of a Governor General’s Award for her book illustrations.
Produced through NFB French Program’s 5 Shorts Project, Jean-Marc E. Roy’s Stone Makers shows us how a routine workday in a granite quarry can turn into a captivating industrial symphony: while men work in the background, various pieces of equipment and machines perform for the camera as if they were dancers in a contemporary ballet. This six-minute short is produced by Denis McCready and Colette Loumède (NFB) and Claudia Chabot (La bande Sonimage).
Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailer, credits, synopsis: Blind Vaysha | Mamie | Stone Makers | Window Horses
Vancouver International Film Festival
La bande Sonimage
Window Horses website
Online Screening Room: NFB.ca
Canadian media contact for Window Horses
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