January 6, 2017 – Vancouver – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
B.C. filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming’s animated feature Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming (Stickgirl Productions/Sandra Oh/NFB) leads a stellar selection of eight National Film Board of Canada produced and co-produced features and short films at the 2017 Victoria Film Festival.
Window Horses is joined by three other acclaimed features: Tiffany Hsiung’s The Apology, Peter Svatek’s Theater of Life (Triplex Films/NFB/in association with Phi Films) and Zaynê Akyol’s Gulîstan, Land of Roses (Périphéria/Mîtosfilm/NFB). NFB short films at the festival Blind Vaysha by Theodore Ushev and The Head Vanishes (Papy3D/NFB/ARTE France) by Franck Dion, HAND.LINE.COD., a short doc by Justin Simms, and the short PSA Hipster Headdress, by Amanda Strong.
Director Ann Marie Fleming’s Window Horses is a feature-length animated film about a young Canadian poet who embarks on a whirlwind voyage of discovery—of herself, her family, love, history, and the nature of poetry. The film’s voice actors include such well-known talents as 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.
Winner of the Best B.C. Film and Best Canadian Film awards at the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Centennial Best Canadian Film or Video Award at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival as well as top prizes at European and Asian animation film fests, Window Horses is co-produced by Ann Marie Fleming (Stickgirl Productions), Sandra Oh, and Shirley Vercruysse and Michael Fukushima for the NFB.
The feature documentary debut by Tiffany Hsiung, The Apology follows the personal journeys of three “grandmothers”—Grandma Gil in South Korea, Grandma Cao in China, and Grandma Adela in the Philippines―former “comfort women” who were among the 200,000 girls and young women kidnapped and forced into military sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. After decades of living in silence and shame, they know that time is running out to give a first-hand account of the truth and ensure that this horrific chapter of history is not forgotten. Produced by Anita Lee for the NFB, The Apology received the Audience Award at Ireland’s Cork Film Festival as well as the Cinephile Award at South Korea’s Busan International Film Festival, given to the best international documentary film.
Theater of Life
In Peter Svatek’s Theater of Life, two vastly different worlds are brought together by a unique social experiment at an extraordinary soup kitchen in Milan, where chef Massimo Bottura―whose Osteria Francescana was named world’s best restaurant in 2016―asked 60 top chefs, including Canada’s John Winter Russell (Montreal) and Jeremy Charles (St. John’s), to join him in transforming surplus food from Expo 2015 into delicious and nutritious meals for Italy’s hungriest. Raising awareness about the environmental impact of food waste, Theater of Life was named Best Canadian Feature at Toronto’s Planet in Focus International Environmental Film & Video Festival. It was produced by Josette Gauthier (Triplex Films) and Annette Clarke (NFB) and is distributed by the NFB (Canada) and Seville International (international sales).
Gulîstan, Land of Roses
Zaynê Akyol’s feature documentary Gulîstan, Land of Roses follows Kurdish female fighters who share their revolutionary and feminist ideals as they fight for their territory and wage war against ISIS, the so-called Islamic State group. Winner of numerous international honours including the coveted Doc Alliance Selection Award, as chosen by seven of Europe’s top documentary film festivals, Gulîstan, Land of Roses is produced by Sarah Mannering, Fanny Drew and Yanick Létourneau (Périphéria), Mehmet Aktaş (Mîtosfilm), and Nathalie Cloutier and Denis McCready (NFB).
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 adapted from a short story by Bulgarian author Georgi Gospodinov, Theodore Ushev’s latest NFB short has garnered an amazing 17 Canadian and international awards to date, including both the Jury Award and Junior Jury Award at Annecy 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.
The Head Vanishes
The Head Vanishes is French animator Franck Dion’s second NFB co-production, following the multi-award-winning 2012 animated short Edmond Was a Donkey. In this new 10-minute film, 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 the Annecy International Animation Film Festival as well as Best Canadian Screenplay Award at the Whistler Film Festival, 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.
Set in the coldest waters surrounding Newfoundland’s rugged Fogo Island, Justin Simms’ short film HAND.LINE.COD. follows a group of “people of the fish”—traditional fishers who catch cod live by hand, by hook and line, one at a time. With stocks returning after a 20-year moratorium on North Atlantic cod, these fishers are leading a revolution in sustainability. Produced by Annette Clarke, the film is dedicated to the memory of NFB film pioneer Colin Low, who shot 27 films in Fogo Island for Challenge for Change, developing a revolutionary way to use film as a tool to bring about social change and combat poverty.
An unapologetic confrontation of cultural appropriation and everything that’s wrong with hipsters in headdresses, this short animation is part of Naked Island, a series of 30-second films about modern times. Each an artist’s expression about a theme they care about, these films use animation and the PSA format to comment on modern society. Named after a former socialist gulag where dissidents were sent for silencing, Naked Island instead encourages dissent, satire and wit. These “ads” sell ideas over products; they promote self-reflection over consumption. Produced for the NFB by Maral Mohammadian and Jelena Popovic.
Opening Gala Film
Feb 3 | 7PM | Odeon 5
Feb 4 | 7PM | Star Cinema
Ann Marie Fleming in attendance
Canadian Panorama: Indigenous
Feb 5 | 3PM | The Bay Centre
Gulîstan, Land of Roses
Feb 6 | 9:15PM | Capitol 6
Feb 8 | 6:30PM | Capitol 6
Feb 9 | 7PM | Parkside
Theater of Life
Feb 10 | 6:15PM | SilverCity
Feb 11 | 6:30PM | The Vic Theatre
Canadian Panorama: Down East & Out West
Feb 11 | 3PM | The Bay Centre
Blind Vaysha and The Head Vanishes
Canadian Panorama: Québec
Feb 12 | 3PM | The Bay Centre
Victoria Film Festival