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Five National Film Board of Canada animated shorts at the 2021 Ottawa International Animation Festival. OIAF features the world premiere of Marta Pajek’s Animoon/NFB co-produced Impossible Figures and other stories I.


September 7, 2021 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

North America’s largest animation event, the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) will feature five National Film Board of Canada (NFB) animated shorts—including the world premiere of a Poland/Canada co-production from an acclaimed animation trilogy.

This year, the festival has extended its run from September 22 to October 3—and is also presenting screenings and talks with animators online, available worldwide.

Narrative Short Animation (Official Competition) 

WORLD PREMIERE | Impossible Figures and other stories I by Marta Pajek (16 min)
Co-produced by Animoon and NFB
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/impossible-figures-and-other-stories-i

An ominous ticking sound triggers a massive explosion. A swarm of objects and figures scatters unforgivably. In the aftermath, only a few souls remain, including an elegant elderly woman. Wandering deserted city streets, the tired, stoic woman painfully recalls what was and what could have been. As a flood slowly swallows the city, she shares a final moment of grieving beauty.

The final film (and first part) of Polish animator Marta Pajek’s multi-award-winning trilogy, Impossible Figures and other stories I was created by Marta working with a strong team of Canadian animators, including Alex Boya, Eva Cvijanović, Parissa Mohit and Brandon Blommaert.

Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics by Terril Calder (19 min 22 s)
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/meneath

Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics dives deeply into the innate contrast between the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Sacred Teachings, as embodied in the life of a precocious Métis baby. Convinced she’s soiled and destined for Hell, Baby Girl receives teachings that fill her with strength and pride, and affirm a path towards healing.

Born in Fort Frances, Ontario, and now based in Toronto, Métis artist Terril Calder returns to Ottawa following the OIAF 2020 retrospective of her work. Meneath (“island” in Anishinaabemowin), a darkly beautiful stop-motion tour de force, unearths a hauntingly familiar world that illuminates the bias of colonial systems.

Canadian Panorama

Affairs of the Art by Joanna Quinn and Les Mills (16 min)
Co-produced by Beryl Productions International and NFB
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/affairs-of-the-art

The first co-production between Beryl Productions International and the NFB, Affairs of the Art features Quinn’s signature hand-drawn animation with attitude and Mills’ raucously humorous scenarios, in an endearing romp through one family’s eccentric addictions.

The film comes to Ottawa after a tour of some of the world’s major festivals, garnering distinguished honours: Special Jury Distinction for Direction – Short Film, 2021 Annecy International Animation Film Festival; Award for Best Animation – International Competition, 2021 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival; Jury Award in the Comedy category, 2021 Aspen Shortsfest; Award for Best Short Film, 2021 Kaboom Animation Festival, Amsterdam.

Bad Seeds (Mauvaises herbes) by Claude Cloutier (6 min 22 s)
Co-produced by L’Unité centrale and the NFB
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/bad-seeds

Winner of Canadian Film Institute Award for Best Canadian Animation and the NFB Public Prize at OIAF for Sleeping Betty (2007), and director of the acclaimed Carface (2015), veteran animator Claude Cloutier deftly connects growth with rivalry and evolution with competition, crafting an increasingly shocking duel that’s peppered with allusions to the western, the Cold War, board games, and much more.

Award: Prix du public de la compétition internationale, 2021 Les Sommets du cinéma d’animation, Montreal

Mike Maryniuk

June Night by Mike Maryniuk (4 min)
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/june-night

As part of the tribute “Flannel Fever Dream: The Films of Mike Maryniuk” to this Winnipeg animator and OIAF jury member, the festival is presenting his 2020 NFB short. A surreal ode to rebirth and reinvention. June Night juxtaposes archival imagery with handcrafted animation, conjuring up a shimmering utopian dreamscape, a post-COVID world shaped by the primordial forces of nature—haunted by the genial spectre of Buster Keaton.

Anne Koizumi

Also on the OIAF jury this year is Montreal filmmaker and Hothouse alumnus Anne Koizumi (Prairie Story, 2006), who also works as an advisor with the NFB’s Education team, offering animation and documentary workshops.

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Associated Links

Ottawa International Animation Festival
Beryl Productions International
L’Unité centrale

French version here | Version française ici.

Media Relations

  • Nadine Viau
    NFB Publicist – Montreal
    C.: 514-458-9745

  • Lily Robert
    Director, Communications and Public Affairs, NFB
    C.: 514-296-8261

  • About the NFB

    The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a leader in exploring animation as an artform, a storytelling medium and innovative content for emerging platforms. It produces trailblazing animated works both in its Montreal studios and across  the country, and it works with many of the world’s leading creators on international co-productions. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including seven Oscars for NFB animation and seven grand prizes at the Annecy festival. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.