March 14, 2018 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
From June 11 to 16, 2018, the National Film Board of Canada is taking part in the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, with five shorts in competition. The NFB roster includes the return of renowned filmmakers Alison Snowden and David Fine with Animal Behaviour (Zoothérapie). Premiering at Annecy, Justine Vuylsteker’s Étreintes (Offshore/NFB) is the first film made on the “Épinette,” a recently restored French pinscreen-animation device. Patrick Bouchard returns to the festival with the international premiere of Le sujet (NFB), while Elizabeth Hobbs’s film I’m OK (Elizabeth Hobbs/Animate Projects/NFB) will be having its world premiere. Screening in the Perspectives section, Un printemps by Keyu Chen (NFB) rounds out the NFB’s lineup of shorts, which features mostly women filmmakers—with a diverse range of skills, employing a variety of techniques, and backed by several female producers. The complete Annecy Festival program will be announced at a press conference on April 23.
Short films in international competition
Animal Behaviour (Zoothérapie) by Alison Snowden and David Fine (14 min)
- Five animals meet regularly to discuss their inner angst in a group therapy session led by Dr. Clement, a canine psychotherapist.
- Produced at the NFB by Michael Fukushima.
- Alison Snowden and David Fine are acclaimed filmmakers and TV-series creators who have won numerous awards and received three Oscar nominations. Bob’s Birthday garnered them the statue for Best Animated Short and led to the acclaimed series Bob and Margaret, one of Comedy Central’s highest-rated series and the highest-rated Canadian animation series on Global TV.
Étreintes (Embrace) by Justine Vuylsteker (6 min) – World Premiere
- Standing still in front of an open window, a woman stares out at the dark clouds that obscure the sky. Immobile, she struggles against her memories of the past. In the clouds, the image of a passionate embrace appears.
- Co-produced by Rafael Andrea Soatto, Fabrice Préel-Cléach and Emmanuelle Latourrette for Offshore and Julie Roy for the NFB.
- This project is the first film made in France with the “Épinette,” the last pinscreen-animation device built by Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker in 1977. It was later acquired by France’s Centre national du cinéma et de l’image and recently restored by filmmakers Jacques Drouin and Michèle Lemieux. The project included three creative residencies, including a writing residency by the Cinémathèque québécoise in the fall of 2016.
Le sujet by Patrick Bouchard (10 min) – International Premiere
- An animation filmmaker searches his own body for memories, emotions, and fears to inspire his work. As he starts making cuts with a scalpel, various symbolic objects emerge from his past. After smashing the ribs to reach the heart, he finds the burden he wishes to rid himself of.
- Stop-motion master Patrick Bouchard has achieved international recognition, especially with his previous film, Bydlo, which won the Best Animated Film award at the 2013 Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. Le sujet, for which he also wrote the soundtrack, is his most intimate work to date. Bouchard took charge of every aspect of the creative process for this rich, constructive, and creative experience—from inception to post-production, up to and including the poster.
- Produced at the NFB by Julie Roy.
I’m OK by Elizabeth Hobbs (6 min) – World Premiere
- In 1917, Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka’s famous love affair with Alma Mahler had ended dramatically and he had returned from the Russian front with shell-shock and a bayonet injury. This animated film uses the artist’s plays and artworks to explore Kokoschka’s frame of mind following his heartbreak and traumatic experience in the war, and places the creative act at the centre of his recovery. The film’s narrative embraces humour, sex, love, and loss. It also reflects on the impact of war upon the individual at the centenary of WW1, mental health disorders and strategies for recovery.
- Elizabeth Hobbs is a visual artist based in London. Though her background is in printmaking and artist’s books, for the last 16 years she has been making animated films that have won many awards. Part of Elizabeth’s work entails creating participatory animated films and devising visual art projects with young people and community groups
- A co-production by Elizabeth Hobbs, Abigail Addison (Animate Projects) and Jelena Popovic (NFB). Executive producers: Michael Fukushima (NFB) and Gary Thomas (Animate Projects).
Perspectives is aimed at supporting new creators, films that make use of emerging techniques, collaborative works, or works that provide unique perspectives on the world or the state of animation. The City of Annecy Award (special prize) is awarded in this section.
Un printemps (Winds of Spring) by Keyu Chen (6 min)
- Unfolding with the rhythm of the seasons, Un printemps tells the tender story of a young girl who, driven by the irrepressible need for self-fulfillment, decides to leave the family nest. Composed of fluid transitions and fine, spare lines inspired by Chinese ink painting, Un printemps showcases the already well-developed aesthetic of this emerging filmmaker.
- The winner of the 21st edition of the NFB’s Cinéaste recherché(e) competition, Keyu Chen studied animation for two years in Beijing, then left her native China and moved to Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in 3D production. She now lives in Montreal.
- Produced by Marc Bertrand (NFB), with executive producer Julie Roy.
Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopsis: Le sujet (The Subject) | Un printemps (Winds of Spring) | Animal Behavior
Festival international du film d’animation d’Annecy