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The NFB at the 2023 Sommets du cinéma d’animation. Six films selected, including the world premiere screening of La fille au béret rouge by Janet Perlman, who will also be giving a master class.


April 26, 2023 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Montreal’s 21st annual Sommets du cinéma d’animation festival will run May 9 to 14, 2023, and the NFB returns to the event in style with six productions and co-productions, offering audiences a variety of animation techniques, themes, stories and personal perspectives with universal appeal. Among these short films, made primarily by women and featuring Montreal and its filmmakers, Janet Perlman’s delightful ode to the city, La fille au béret rouge (The Girl with the Red Beret), will receive its world premiere and have an outdoor screening. The director will also be giving a master class. The strong NFB lineup includes the world premiere of Bahram Javahery’s Two Apples and the North American premiere of Boat People by Thao Lam and Kjell Boersma.

The NFB lineup at a glance

  • Four films selected in the Official Canadian Competition
    • La fille au béret rouge (The Girl with the Red Beret) by Janet Perlman – world premiere
    • HARVEY by Janice Nadeau – Montreal premiere
    • Boat People by Thao Lam and Kjell Boersma – North American premiere
    • The Flying Sailor by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis
  • Two films selected in the Wide-Angle section (non-competitive)
    • Two Apples by Bahram Javahery – world premiere
    • Zeb’s Spider by Alicia Eisen and Sophie Jarvis – Quebec premiere
    • Composer Normand Roger, a long-time NFB collaborator, honoured with the René-Jodoin Award.

Official Canadian Competition – Professional

La fille au béret rouge (The Girl with the Red Beret) by Janet Perlman (5 min 35 s) – WORLD PREMIERE
Producer: Marc Bertrand for the NFB’s French Program Animation Studio
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/beret

  • This joyful, heartwarming animated film portrays Montreal in all its vitality, creativity and diversity, with plenty of humour and good cheer, to the tune of Kate and Anna McGarrigle’s timeless hit “Complainte pour Ste-Catherine.”
  • A film featuring the voices of Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Lily Lanken and Martha Wainwright. Judith Gruber-Stitzer adapted the music and created the sound design.
  • Friday, May 12, at 8:30 p.m., The Girl with the Red Beret will be among 10 films showing at a free outdoor screening on the esplanade Tranquille in the Quartier des Spectacles. The screening will also include The Flying Sailor, by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis.
  • Saturday, May 13, Janet Perlman will give a master class divided into two blocks, offering an overview of her impressive career in animation. Montreal-born Janet Perlman is a director of short and funny animated films. She was 22 when she completed Lady Fishbourne’s Guide to Better Table Manners (1976) at the NFB. With her sophisticated, absurdist humour she has carved out a unique niche, and her film The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin(1981) earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short Film. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

HARVEY by Janice Nadeau (9 min) – MONTREAL PREMIERE
Co-produced by the NFB (Marc Bertrand) and Folimage (Reginald de Guillebon), with the support of the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée. Head of Development: Corinne Destombes (Folimage).
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/harvey

  • A luminous look at loss and bereavement, seen through the eyes of a child with an overflowing imagination. Adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Hervé Bouchard, illustrated by Montreal filmmaker Janice Nadeau (La Pastèque).
  • Selected to screen at many festivals in Canada and Europe, including Clermont-Ferrand, REGARD, Stuttgart, Annecy and Animafest Zagreb, the film had a standout creative team that included Claude Cloutier and Marc Robinet (lead animators), Olivier Calvert (sound design) and Martin Léon (original music). With the voice of Ryan S. Hill.
  • Janice Nadeau has illustrated numerous books and is a three-time recipient of Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award.

Boat People by Thao Lam and Kjell Boersma (10 min) – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Producers: Justine Pimlott for the NFB’s Ontario Studio and Jelena Popović for the NFB’s English Program Animation & Interactive Studio
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/boat-people-2

  • Co-directed by Thao Lam and Kjell Boersma, Boat Peopleis an animated documentary that uses a striking metaphor to trace one family’s flight across the turbulent waters of history. The film speaks across time and culture to anyone who’s ever fought to protect their family or community.
  • Boat People had its world premiere at the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film. The short uses a hybrid of traditional 2D animation, stop-motion multiplane animation, and 3D rendering to capture the unique look of the hand-printed paper textures and patterns Thao creates in the children’s books she writes and illustrates.

The Flying Sailor by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis (7 min 45 s)
Producer: David Christensen for the NFB’s North West Studio
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/the-flying-sailor

  • In 1917, two ships collided in the Halifax Harbour, causing the largest accidental explosion in history. Among the tragic stories of the disaster is the remarkable account of a sailor who, blown skyward from the docks, flew a distance of two kilometres before landing uphill, naked and unharmed. This film by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis is a contemplation of his journey.
  • This short film had its world premiere at the 2022 Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France and its North American premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and it screened at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. It has been selected to screen at many festivals around the world, garnering a dozen awards, and was nominated for an Oscar in 2023.

Wide-Angle (non-competitive)

Two Apples by Bahram Javahery – WORLD PREMIERE
Producers: Teri Snelgrove and Shirley Vercruysse for the NFB’s BC & Yukon Studio
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/twoapples

  • When a young woman leaves her homeland in search of a better future, she brings with her a single memento from her past: a ripe apple studded with fragrant cloves. A true labour of love, this animated film is infused with longing and the tender perfume of hope.
  • In this animated short selected to screen at Animafest Zagreb, Iranian-born filmmaker Bahram Javahery employs a painstaking technique of hand-carved clay animation akin to a form of bas-relief. Incorporating elements of light and shadow, the film creates movement that is both sculptural and fluid.

Zeb’s Spider by Alicia Eisen and Sophie Jarvis – QUEBEC PREMIERE
Producers: Teri Snelgrove and Shirley Vercruysse for the NFB’s BC & Yukon Studio
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/zebs-spider

  • An eight-legged force of fate spins a complex web in this stop-motion film. What begins as a way of coping with an uninvited arachnid soon takes on a monstrous life of its own.
  • Co-directed by Montreal’s Alicia Eisen and Vancouver’s Sophie Jarvis, the film had its world premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) and received the Special Jury Award for Miniature Design at the Los Angeles Animation Festival.

René-Jodoin Award

  • Recognizing the creative approach, influence, success and commitment of a veteran figure in the world of Canadian animation, this year’s René-Jodoin Award is going to Normand Roger. This award-winning composer has been writing music for films since 1972. At the NFB, he has worked on many documentaries (including Jacques Giraldeau’s Moving Picture (L’homme de papier) and dozens of animated shorts, including the Oscar-winning films The Sand Castle by Co Hoedeman and Every Child by Eugene Fedorenko.

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French version here | Version française ici.

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  • 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.