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Eight acclaimed NFB features and shorts featured at the Victoria Film Festival. Includes the premiere of Ann Marie Fleming’s animated feature Window Horses in the provincial capital.


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.

Window Horses

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 Apology

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).

Blind Vaysha

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.

Hipster Headdress

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.

Screening schedule

Window Horses

Opening Gala Film
Feb 3 | 7PM | Odeon 5
Feb 4 | 7PM | Star Cinema
Ann Marie Fleming in attendance

Hipster Headdress

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

The Apology

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


Associated Links

Victoria Film Festival
Phi Films
ARTE France
Massimo Bottura

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.