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The NFB at the 2024 Sommets du cinéma d’animation: a wave of premieres


April 24, 2024 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The NFB is making an impressive return to Montreal’s Sommets du cinéma d’animation (May 6–11), with 11 productions and co-productions screening as world premieres—including Le tableau (The Painting), by Michèle Lemieux, made with the famous Alexeïeff-Parker pinscreen, and LOCA, by Véronique Paquette. The festival’s closing film will be Loïc Darses’ Graver l’homme: arrêt sur Pierre Hébert (Scratches of Life: The Art of Pierre Hébert). Additionally, filmmaker Arash Akhgari will be giving an Artist’s Talk about his new film In the Shallows (En surface), which is also receiving its world premiere. Films from the 14th edition of the Hothouse mentorship for emerging animators across Canada will be having their world premieres as well.

Many of the films in this rich selection at the Sommets have their roots in various other artforms, such as poetry, dance and visual art.

Canadian Competition

Le tableau (The Painting) by Michèle Lemieux (NFB, 11 min 56 s) – WORLD PREMIERE
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/the-painting

  • A virtuoso of the Alexeïeff-Parker pinscreen, filmmaker Michèle Lemieux created this troubling yet tender film that revisits the tragic fate of Queen Mariana of Austria and her 1652 portrait by painter Velázquez.

LOCA by Véronique Paquette (NFB, 5 min 19 s) – WORLD PREMIERE
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/loca

  • Through the energy of tango, a woman finds a path to freedom in LOCA by Véronique Paquette. This short film from the last Cinéaste recherché(e) competition will also be screened outdoors on the Esplanade Tranquille.

In the Shallows (En surface) by Arash Akhgari (NFB, 4 min) – WORLD PREMIERE
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/intheshallows

  • Through a carefully choreographed collision of hand-made sculptural collages and ink and paint animation, In the Shallows takes us on a deep dive into the shallow and fragmented world of news, entertainment and ads.

Les gens dans l’armoire (Society of Clothes) by Dahee Jeong (Miyu Productions/Between the Pictures/NFB, 15 min 7 s) – WORLD PREMIERE
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/society-of-clothes/

  • When morning arrives, a shirt and a pair of pants step outside the closet, transforming into a human figure. Dahee Jeong has earned international recognition, notably at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight and the Annecy festival, where she won a Cristal for short films.

My World, Your Melody by Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes (NFB, 1 min 34 s) – WORLD PREMIERE
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/my-world-your-melody

  • A choir of tropical frogs performs infectious pop in delightfully unsettling animation. Produced as part of the 14th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse

Not Enough Womb for the Two of Us by Cameron Kletke (NFB, 1 min 46 s) – WORLD PREMIERE
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/not-enough-womb-for-the-two-of-us

  • An in utero skirmish between twins, created with spacious hand-drawn animation, watercolours and pastel that plunge us into a comic battle of wills. Produced as part of the 14th edition of Hothouse.

Misérable miracle (Miserable Miracle) by Ryo Orikasa (Miyu Productions/NFB/New Deer, 8 min)
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/miserable-miracle

  • Inspired by the poems and drawings of Henri Michaux, Miserable Miracle takes animation to the breathtaking limits of language and perception. The film won the Grand Prize for Short Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) and was selected to screen at the Clermont-Ferrand Festival.

Aphasie (Aphasia) by Marielle Dalpé (NFB, 3 min 45 s)
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/aphasia

  • Aphasia is an unsettling sensory experience that immerses us in the world of people with Alzheimer’s disease who are facing the loss of their language capabilities. The film has been selected to screen at many festivals in Canada and around the world.

Wide-Angle (non-competitive)

Corpus and the Wandering by Jo Roy (NFB, 7 min 13 s) – WORLD PREMIERE
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/corpusandthewandering

  • One dancer, one body, one phone. In a time of collective alienation and technological mass control, one woman rediscovers her soul and reclaims her mind in this short, experimental self-portrait, composed of 100 video screens and made using mixed techniques.

Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying by Natalie Baird and Toby Gillies (NFB, 7 min 6 s) – WORLD PREMIERE
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/dont-let-the-sun-catch-you-crying/

  • In this animated and live-action short, Edith Almadi’s imagination transcends grief, revealing a vibrant world of art where love endures. This poetic piece celebrates life and the transformative ability of art to elevate and transcend us.

The Last Tango by Mochi Lin (NFB, 1 min 42 s) – WORLD PREMIERE
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/the-last-tango

  • Drawn to unorthodox materials and themes, Mochi Lin works with diaphanous stockings and acetate to depict courtship in the insect world. Produced as part of the 14th edition of Hothouse.

Unblending by Michele Ku (NFB, 1 min 38 s) – WORLD PREMIERE
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/unblending

  • For people living with structural dissociation, falling asleep can be a challenge—a time when multiple contradictory thoughts conspire to keep you awake. Produced as part of the 14th edition of Hothouse.

Pierre Hébert: closing film and René Jodoin Award

Closing Film

Graver l’homme: arrêt sur Pierre Hébert (Scratches of Life: The Art of Pierre Hébert) by Loïc Darses (NFB, 75 min) – WORLD PREMIERE
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/scratchesoflife

  • At the behest of the NFB’s French Animation Unit, Loïc Darses (Where the Land Ends) examines the career of outstanding animation filmmaker Pierre Hébert. Employing a delicate black-and-white approach, punctuated with flashes of animation, the film follows the Ariadne’s thread of scratch-on-film animation, taking us into the inspiring labyrinth of Hébert’s life and work. The documentary opens on May 12 at the Cinémathèque québécoise.

René Jodoin Award

This year, the award goes to Pierre Hébert, honouring the exemplary career of this important figure in Canadian animation. Hébert worked at the NFB from 1965 to 2000. He will soon be marking 60 years as a filmmaker, performer and visual artist.

Artist’s Talk

Presented by the Sommets du cinéma d’animation and the NFB, this Artist’s Talk by Iranian-born filmmaker Arash Akhgari will take place on Saturday, May 11, at the Cinémathèque québécoise. The filmmaker will discuss the creative process behind his film In the Shallows (En surface), produced by the NFB and screening in the Sommets’ Canadian Competition.

Hothouse 14

Movie lovers will get an opportunity to view the six animated shorts—including Akash Jones’ Amma and Jenny Yujia Shi’s Red Star Alley—produced as part of the Hothouse program for emerging animators across Canada. A screening will take place at the Cinémathèque québécoise Terrace on Thursday, May 9. All six films will also be screened outdoors the next day, Friday, May 10, at the Esplanade Tranquille.

Theodore Ushev retrospective and exhibition

On Friday, May 10, at 5:30 p.m., the Sommets will present a retrospective of short films by filmmaker Theodore Ushev, many of which were produced at the NFB. You’ll be able to see The Physics of Sorrow, Demoni, Tower Bawher, Drux Flux, Gloria Victoria, Lipsett Diaries, Sonámbulo and Nightingales in December. In addition, a major exhibition devoted to the artist, The Matter of Memory, will make its Canadian premiere at the Cinémathèque québécoise from May 3 to September 22.

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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

    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.