June 7, 2016 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
Now in its 11th season, the National Film Board of Canada’s Hothouse program for emerging animators has helped kick-start the careers of some of Canada’s most acclaimed animators.
Animation lovers can now discover six new short works from the latest crop of Hothouse alumni. The films are available free of charge at NFB.ca.
This year marks the first time that participants were able to work remotely with the NFB’s Oscar-winning Animation Studio in Montreal via their nearest NFB production studio, resulting in a 2016 Hothouse lineup that truly spans the country: Curtis Horsburgh from Victoria, Rhayne Vermette from Winnipeg, Catherine Dubeau and Pascaline Lefebvre from Montreal, Lorna Kirk from Halifax, and Duncan Major from St. John’s.
The theme for the Hothouse 11 short films is “Found Sound 2.0”―a reboot of last year’s successful concept, in which audio clips found on the web were used as creative inspiration. This year, there was a twist: participants could either use one of 14 pre-selected audio clips or submit an audio clip of their own choice. Found sound begs for satire and subversion, and animators were free to use the audio as a springboard for their own creativity―to re-interpret, comment on or play with the original meaning.
The mentoring director of Hothouse 11 is Malcolm Sutherland, a Montreal-based director, animator and designer for film, television, web commercials and music videos. A Calgary native and participant in the very first Hothouse, he’s the first alumnus to return as project mentor.
– A story about a dream about a train, inspired by found sound of a Toronto subway car, Fyoog is a stop-motion and 2D animation hybrid by Victoria’s Curtis Horsburgh.
– Hand-drawn charcoal drawings movingly depict the loneliness and bewilderment of a child seeking safety in a war zone in Him―a timely short by Halifax’s Lorna Kirk that uses found sound to explore the powerlessness of the refugee experience.
– A new parent learns about free expression and the power of letting go in Little Big Bang by Duncan Major of St. John’s. Inspired by the filmmaker’s new baby boy as well as found sounds, this short work was printed manually on a vintage tabletop press, using hand-carved linoleum blocks.
– Inspired by found sound of an English language lesson, Mindfork by Montrealer Catherine Dubeau depicts a visual descent into madness triggered by the effort to keep it all together—even when it seems damn near impossible.
– Inspired by found sound of baby noises, Pumpers by Montrealer Pascaline Lefebvre takes a good hard look at the bizarre behaviour of people working out in a gym.
– An apparition reveals itself on film in UFO, by Winnipeg’s Rhayne Vermette, inspired by found sound from the discovery of a mysterious event in the sky. Have the onlookers interpreted its signs correctly, or was the message misunderstood?
Hothouse 11 is being produced for the NFB’s Animation Studio by Maral Mohammadian with Jon Montes as associate producer. Teri Snelgrove (associate producer, BC & Yukon Studio, Vancouver), Alicia Smith (producer, North West Studio, Winnipeg), Paul McNeill (producer, Atlantic Studio, Halifax), and Kelly Davis (associate producer, Atlantic Studio, St. John’s) worked with participants in their respective territories.
In addition to Sutherland, some of Canada’s most acclaimed animators got their start in Hothouse, including Patrick Doyon, nominated for an Oscar for his NFB animated short Sunday/Dimanche, and Howie Shia, whose NFB short Flutter received the Open Entries Grand Prize at the Tokyo Anime Awards. A total of 72 short films have been produced to date through Hothouse and are available for viewing, along with info about past program participants, at the NFB’s Hothouse website.
“This year’s Hothouse was the toughest one yet. We wanted to try a more grassroots approach and make it accessible to people who don’t have the privilege of leaving their homes to spend three months in Montreal—for whatever reason. How can we support filmmakers remotely in order to lay down roots for future work with the NFB studio and film community in their own region but without compromising the quality of the internship, which relies so heavily on expertise from the Animation Studio? It was a massive group effort involving teams in five studios and time zones across the country. The talent discovery was incredible—we couldn’t be more proud and can’t wait to see what they come up with next.”
– Maral Mohammadian, producer
Online Screening Room: NFB.ca