December 7, 2016 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
Three hit National Film Board of Canada (NFB) films have just added to their lustre with a selection to Canada’s Top Ten, an annual list of the country’s finest short and feature-length films, announced by the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on December 7.
Winners of a combined 30 Canadian and international honours to date, the NFB films chosen as among the very best of 2016 are Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s documentary Angry Inuk (Unikkaat Studios/EyeSteelFilm), Ann Marie Fleming’s feature animation Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming (Stickgirl Productions/Sandra Oh/NFB) and Theodore Ushev’s latest NFB animated short, Blind Vaysha.
These acclaimed films will be featured as part of the 16th Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, taking place in Toronto from January 13 to 26, 2017, as well as a tour of Canadian cities that will see these films travelling to Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Regina, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Halifax and Ottawa. Canada’s Top Ten is selected annually by a TIFF panel of filmmakers and industry professionals.
Seal hunting, a critical part of Inuit life, has been controversial for a long time. Now, a new generation of Inuit, armed with social media and their own sense of humour and justice, are challenging the anti-sealing groups and bringing their own voices into the conversation. In Angry Inuk, Iqaluit-based filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril joins her fellow Inuit activists as they challenge outdated perceptions of Inuit and present themselves to the world as a modern people in dire need of a sustainable economy.
Selected by festival-goers for the Audience Award at its world premiere at Hot Docs, Angry Inuk has since received the Alanis Obomsawin Best Documentary Award at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the award for Best Canadian Feature at the Dreamspeakers Film Festival, as well as the Magnus Isacsson Award at the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal. Earlier this week, Arnaquq-Baril also received the DOC Vanguard Award from the Documentary Organization of Canada.
Angry Inuk is produced by Arnaquq-Baril and Bonnie Thompson (NFB), and executive produced by Bob Moore, Daniel Cross, and David Christensen (NFB).
Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming
Written and directed by Vancouver’s Ann Marie Fleming, Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming 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.
Awards to date for Fleming’s film include the Best Canadian Feature Film Award at the Reel Asian International Film Festival, top prize for Best BC Film and Best Canadian Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival, as well as such international honours as the AnimaFICX Award for Best Animated Film at the Gijón International Film Festival in Spain.
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.
Vaysha is not like other young girls: her left eye sees only the past, her right eye only the future—and she is unable to see the reality that exists in the present. A captivating metaphoric tale about the difficulty of being in the here and now, Blind Vaysha features an expressive and powerful style poised halfway between religious paintings and linocuts.
Narrated by Caroline Dhavernas and adapted from a philosophical short story by Bulgarian author Georgi Gospodinov, the film has already received multiple awards, including both the Jury Award and Junior Jury Award at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, as well as the awards for Best Narrative Short Animation and Best Canadian Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival.
Blind Vaysha is produced for the NFB by Marc Bertrand, with the participation of ARTE France. Julie Roy is the executive producer.
Canada’s Top Ten
16th Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival