1. Media Space

  2. Press Releases

Local premiere of Haida animator Christopher Auchter’s The Mountain of SGaana. Dazzling animation, documentary and VR storytelling: six NFB works showcased at the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival.


September 7, 2017 – Vancouver – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The BC premiere of Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter’s National Film Board of Canada animated short The Mountain of SGaana is part of a rich selection of NFB animation, long-form documentary and virtual reality works at the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), which runs September 28 to October 13.

The 10-minute Vancouver-produced short joins the feature-length works Our People Will Be Healed, the 50th film from Alanis Obomsawin in the 50th year of a legendary filmmaking career, and Charles Officers Unarmed Verses, named Best Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs.

NFB animation highlights also include Matthew Rankin’s visually stunning THE TESLA WORLD LIGHT, following its world premiere at Cannes, as well as Chintis Lundgren’s international Chintis Lundgreni Animatsioonistuudio/Adriatic Animation/NFB co-production, Manivald.

Created by Vancouver interactive designer Jeremy Mendes, Leanne Allison and the NFB, Bear 71 VR is a virtual reality reinvention of the multi-award-winning NFB interactive experience, being featured October 5 and 6.

The Mountain of SGaana
Thursday, October 5, 9:15 p.m., International Village 8
Thursday, October 12, 3:15 p.m., International Village 8

The Mountain of SGaana spins a magical tale of a young man who is stolen away to the spirit world, and the young woman who rescues him. Co-written with Annie Reid, Christopher Auchter’s 10-minute dream-like gem brilliantly entwines traditional animation with formal elements of Haida art, which are brought to life by a rich, evocative palette and stylized effects.

Inspired by a traditional Haida legend, Auchter turns the ancient tale of master sea hunter Naa-Naa-Simgat and his beloved, Kuuga Kuns, on its head. When a sGaana (the Haida word for “killer whale”) captures the hunter and drags him down into a supernatural world, the courageous Kuuga Kuns sets off to save him in the magical Haida underworld.

The Mountain of SGaana is produced by Shirley Vercruysse and associate producer Teri Snelgrove and executive produced by Shirley Vercruysse (Pacific and Yukon Studio) and Michael Fukushima (Animation Studio) for the NFB.

Auchter grew up roaming the beaches and forests of the Haida Gwaii archipelago off Canada’s West Coast, and his art is rooted in the land and stories of the Haida people. Previous projects include animation on Daniel Janke’s multi-award-winning BC and Yukon Studio animated short, How People Got Fire, as well as animation adaptions of two projects with his uncle, famed Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas: The Raven’s Call, based on a story by artist Bill Reid, and Flight of the Hummingbird.

Unarmed Verses
Wednesday, October 4, 1 p.m., SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
Friday, October 6, 6 p.m., Rio Theatre

As Vancouver struggles to maintain affordable housing for residents, Charles Officers Unarmed Verses explores a similar dilemma in Toronto, offering audiences a thoughtful and vivid portrait of marginalized Toronto Community Housing residents facing imposed relocation in that city’s north-east end. At the centre of the film is a remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old black girl whose poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society.

Unarmed Verses is the latest NFB production from the director of Mighty Jerome (2010), winner of four Leos including Best Feature Length Documentary. Unarmed Verses is produced by Lea Marin and executive produced by Anita Lee for the NFB’s Ontario Studio.

Our People Will Be Healed
Thursday, October 5, 9 p.m., Vancity Theatre
Monday, October 9, 6:30 p.m., Cinematheque

Returning to VIFF is legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin with Our People Will Be Healed, taking audiences inside the Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre, an innovative N-12 school in the remote Cree community of Norway House, 800 kilometres north of Winnipeg, whose educators and programs are helping First Nations children to learn, thrive, and grow up strong and proud. The school’s name honours a young woman from Norway House whose notorious 1971 murder was left ignored and unsolved for 16 long years, with the film providing a sobering look at the painful history endured by Cree people in northern Manitoba. But in her 50th film, Obomsawin offers a tremendously hopeful vision for First Nations peoples, showing us how improved education can save lives and change the future for Indigenous youth.

Our People Will Be Healed is the latest in a cycle of films by Obomsawin that explore how youth are leading the way for First Nations peoples. The series began with her 2012 Donald Brittain Award-winning The People of the Kattawapiskak River and continued with Hi-Ho Mistahey! (2013), Trick or Treaty? (2014) and We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice (2016). It will also continue with Obomsawin’s 51st film, Jordan’s Principle (working title), now underway.

Friday, September 29, 6:15 p.m., Rio Theatre – screens with the feature film Bitch
Saturday, October 7, 3:45 p.m., Rio Theatre – screens with the feature film Bitch

Manivald the fox has just turned 33. Overeducated, unemployed and generally uninspired, he lives with his overbearing, retired mother. It is an easy life, but not a good one. This unhealthy co-dependence changes when the washing machine breaks down and Toomas, a sexy wolf repairman, arrives to fix it, and them.

Named Best Croatian Film at Animafest in Zagreb, this 12-minute film is produced by Chintis Lundgren (Chintis Lundgreni Animatsioonistuudio, Croatia), Draško Ivezić (Adriatic Animation, Croatia) and Jelena Popović (NFB), with Michael Fukushima as executive producer.

Tuesday, October 3, 9:15 p.m., International Village 8
Tuesday, October 10, 3:15 p.m., International Village 8

After making its world premiere at the 56th International Critics’ Week during the Cannes Film Festival and screening in the official competition at the prestigious Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Matthew Rankin’s visually stunning THE TESLA WORLD LIGHT comes home to Canada.

Winner of Annecy’s “Off-Limits” Award for his 2014 short Mynarski Death Plummet, Rankin offers up a tragic fantasy in his new film about the father of alternating current, inspired by real events. This electrifying short by the Winnipeg-born Montreal filmmaker is a spectacular burst of image and sound that draws as much from the tradition of avant-garde cinema as it does from animated documentary.

THE TESLA WORLD LIGHT is produced and executive produced by Julie Roy for the NFB’s French Animation Studio.

Bear 71 VR
October 5 and 6, VIFF VR Lounge, Vancouver International Film Centre, 1181 Seymour Street

Produced by the NFB in collaboration with Google, IDFA DocLab, and Sound and Vision, Bear 71 VR comes home to Vancouver after being showcased at IDFA DocLab as well as the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontiers program. The public can try out this VR experience for themselves as part of a program curated for VIFF by StoryTech Immersive, daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Originally launched in 2012, Bear 71 is a landmark interactive multi-user experience told from the point of view of an omniscient female grizzly bear―dubbed “Bear 71” by the Banff National Park rangers who track her. Created by Jeremy Mendes, Leanne Allison and the NFB, Bear 71 explores how we coexist with wildlife in the age of networks, surveillance, and digital information en masse.

On October 6 at 11:40 a.m., Janine Steele from the NFB’s award-winning Digital Studio in Vancouver will be on hand to offer a case study of Bear71 VR for industry delegates as part of VIFF’s “Creator Talks” series at the Vancouver International Film Centre.


Related Products

Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopsis: Bear 71 VR | Manivald | Our People Will Be Healed | The Mountain of SGaana | THE TESLA WORLD LIGHT | Unarmed Verses

Associated Links

Vancouver International Film Festival
Chintis Lundgreni Animatsioonistuudio
Adriatic Animation

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.