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14th edition of NFB’s “Hothouse” program now online. Discover bold new animation from across Canada at nfb.ca


May 13, 2024 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Beginning today, six eclectic animated shorts from the 14th edition of the National Film Board of Canada’s Hothouse program for emerging animators are available online worldwide at nfb.ca and on the NFB app.

Just prior to the online launch, all six animators were in attendance at Montreal’s prestigious Sommets du cinéma d’animation for the festival premiere of their films.

The 14th season of Hothouse features the work of talented emerging animation filmmakers from across Canada:

There were a record 401 applications to fill the program’s six spots—a testament to the strength of Canadian animation and the popularity of Hothouse, now in its 20th year.

The theme for this year’s Hothouse is “Small Things Considered,” which filmmakers were free to use as inspiration to create innovative one- to two-minute animated shorts.

Hothouse 14 is led by NFB animation producer Maral Mohammadian; associate producer Anne Koizumi, a Calgary-born, Montreal-based animator who is an alumnus of the 2006 edition of Hothouse; and mentoring director Andrea Dorfman, an award-winning Halifax filmmaker, artist, writer, animator and illustrator.

From Halifax

Red Star Alley by Jenny Yujia Shi
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/red-star-alley

  • SYNOPSIS: A vine takes root in old Beijingwitnessing the passage of time in a traditional hutong as this neighbourhood undergoes radical transformation. Making ingenious use of backlit cut-outs, Jenny crafts an animated elegy to a vanishing way of life.
  • ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Born in a Beijing neighbourhood that’s since been demolished, Jenny explores themes of displacement and impermanence in work informed by her active engagement with immigrant communities. She holds a BA in Art History and a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

From Montreal

The Last Tango by Mochi Lin
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/the-last-tango

  • SYNOPSIS: Drawn to unorthodox materials and themes, Mochi works with diaphanous stockings and acetate to depict courtship in the insect world, in a startling stop-motion pas de deux.
  • ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Mochiexplores themes of resistance and confinement in work like Swallow Flying to the South, an animation that won top honours at the Osaka Asian Film Festival, earning a place on the 2023 BAFTA animation shortlist. Born in China, Mochi is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, where she studied film and animation, and is also an accomplished composer and pianist.

My World, Your Melody by Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/my-world-your-melody

  • SYNOPSIS: A choir of tropical frogs performs infectious pop in delightfully unsettling animation. Riffing on karaoke companion videos and the swipe-’n-scroll conventions of hand-held media, Bianca infuses candy-coloured digital animation with the spectre of ecological collapse.
  • ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Bianca is a Costa Rican-Canadian digital media artist who grew up on the edge of a rainforest, crafting eco-dystopian work like Last Species on Earth, a 3D-animation installation commissioned by Toronto’s Trinity Square Video. Currently an MFA candidate in Concordia University’s Intermedia program, she’s exhibited in Europe and North America.

From Toronto

Amma by Akash Jones
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/amma

  • SYNOPSIS: Having fun with comic-book motifs and plasticine, Akash honours the no-nonsense, second-generation immigrant mother who raised him, instilling habits that guide him to this day.
  • ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: A recent graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University, Akash has drawn more than 200,000 subscribers to his YouTube channels, earning animation production credits with major studios like Amazon and Sony Pictures. Family themes loom large in films like A Tale of Two Regents, his thoughtful live-action tribute to his immigrant dad.

From Calgary

Unblending by Michelle Ku
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/unblending

  • SYNOPSIS: Falling asleep can be a challenge when multiple contradictory thoughts conspire to keep you awake. Drawing on her experience with somatic healing, Michelle puts these thoughts to rest in a few vivid minutes of hand-painted animation.
  • ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: A graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins, where she studied graphic design, Michelleis as adept at large-scale murals as she is in animation. Diagnosed with complex PTSD, she creates vivid work reflecting a keen interest in the mind-body-spirit connection.

From Vancouver

Not Enough Womb for the Two of Us by Cameron Kletke
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/not-enough-womb-for-the-two-of-us

  • SYNOPSIS: An in uteroskirmish between twins, employing watercolours and pastel to plunge us into an intimate watery universe where the umbilical cord becomes a prop in a comic battle of wills.
  • ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: A graduate of Emily Carr University, Cameroncreates experimental animation with ink, pastel and other 2D media. Her work has screened worldwide, and Between You and Me, her hand-drawn short, took home the best Canadian student animation award from the 2023 Ottawa International Animation Festival.

Distinguished Hothouse alumni

The NFB’s Hothouse program in Montreal has helped kick-start the careers of acclaimed animators from across Canada. Over 70 animators have come through the program in the past 20 years, including Patrick Doyon, Paloma Dawkins, Philip Eddolls, Howie Shia, Alex Boya, Malcolm Sutherland, Eva Cvijanovic, David Barlow-Krelina and the creative duo of Dale Hayward and Sylvie Trouvé.

More about the Hothouse 14 team

  • Andrea Dorfman’s acclaimed NFB credits include the shorts Flawed(2009), Big Mouth (2012) and Hairy Legs (2024), and the feature doc The Girls of Meru (2018). In 2017, she adapted and illustrated Flawed as a YA graphic memoir for Firefly Books.
  • Hothouse 14 associate producer Anne Koizumi is an independent filmmaker and media arts educator. In 2006, she completed her first professional film, A Prairie Story, as part of Hothouse 3. Her 2020 short doc In the Shadow of the Pines was named Best Narrative Short and Best Canadian Animation at OIAF and Best Animated Short at the San Francisco International Film Festival.
  • Maral Mohammadian is a producer with the NFB’s English Animation Unit in Montreal. Her recent productions include Oscar winner Torill Kove’s new Mikrofilm/NFB animated short Maybe Elephants, and Marta Pajek’s multi-award-winning Animoon/NFB co-produced Impossible Figures and other stories I.

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French version here | Version française ici.

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.