(Images provided by the NFB)
August 30, 2017 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
The world premiere of Calgary director Cam Christiansen’s much-anticipated animated feature WALL exploring both sides of the Israel/Palestine separation barrier, written by and featuring Oscar nominee David Hare; Skin for Skin, a dark tale of greed and spiritual reckoning from the early days of the fur trade by Calgary’s Kevin D.A. Kurytnik and Carol Beecher; Saskatchewan filmmaker Tasha Hubbard’s moving Birth of a Family, following siblings reunited decades after Canada’s infamous Sixties Scoop; plus Our People Will Be Healed, the 50th film from Alanis Obomsawin in the 50th year of a legendary filmmaking career—the National Film Board of Canada is offering up powerful storytelling and innovative cinematic visions at the 2017 Calgary International Film Festival, taking place September 20 to October 1.
On Sunday, September 24, one day prior to the September 25th world premiere of WALL, CIFF will be hosting a 60-minute conversation with David Hare at 3:30 p.m. at the Eau Claire Market Cinema 3, as part of the festival’s free Behind the Screen series. The directors of both WALL and Skin for Skin will also be on hand, on Wednesday, September 27, at 5:30 p.m. at Paper Street (#102 – 630 8th Ave. SW), for Get Animated with the NFB, another event in the series, at which they’ll discuss the creative process behind these two unique works, from concept to production to completion.
WORLD PREMIERE Monday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m., Globe Cinema
Sunday, October 1 at 1 p.m., Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Cinema 2
WALL is a feature-length animated film written by and featuring the two-time Oscar-nominated screenwriter (The Hours, The Reader) and preeminent British playwright David Hare. Hare’s body of work spans 35 years and is best known for pieces that deftly explore socio-political issues both at home and abroad. The 80-minute WALL follows Hare on a trip to the Middle East to examine—from his point of view—the impact that the wall separating Israel and Palestine has had on the people of the region.
Using advanced animation tools and 3D motion-capture footage, director Cam Christiansen employs a distinctive handcrafted approach that conveys the reality of the 708-kilometre barrier as no film has before. Rich with rhythmic, raw imagery, WALL takes an in-depth look at the “fence” that has forever united, divided and changed communities—while brilliantly capturing the emotions surrounding this massive reminder of unrest.
Revealing and passionate insights from renowned Israeli novelist David Grossman, Professor Neill Lochery of London University, Professor Sari Nusseibeh of Al-Quds University and Ramallah-based attorney Raja Shehadeh are all framed by Hare’s probing, restlessly curious mind, attuned to the incongruities and contradictions of life in the shadow of the wall.
WALL is produced by the NFB’s David Christensen and Bonnie Thompson. North West Studio head David Christensen is the executive producer.
Cam Christiansen is an award-winning director, animator and innovator in the world of 3D animation and digital filmmaking whose films have screened at the Sundance Film Festival and TIFF, and made the latter’s Top Ten list of Canadian short films twice. WALL is his first feature-length film and the second project he’s directed with the NFB.
Skin for Skin
Screening in the Frame by Frame program, Tuesday, September 26 at 7 p.m., Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Cinema 4
Screening in the Best of Shorts program, Sunday, October 1 at 6:15 p.m., Globe Cinema
A dark allegory of greed and spiritual reckoning, Skin for Skin is set during the early days of the North American fur trade. In 1823, the governor of the largest fur-trading company in the world travels across his dominion, extracting ever-greater riches from the winter bounty of animal furs. In his brutal world of profit and loss, animals are slaughtered to the brink of extinction. But one day, the balance of power shifts, and the forces of nature exact their own terrible price. With nods to Melville and Coleridge, Kevin D. A. Kurytnik and Carol Beecher have created a dazzling, mythic look at the cost of arrogance and greed.
Skin for Skin is produced by Bonnie Thompson (NFB) and Carol Beecher (Fifteen Pound Pink Productions), and executive produced by David Christensen (NFB).
Calgary writers/directors/animators Kevin D. A. Kurytnik and Carol Beecher have been exploring the art and craft of animation for 30 years. Since they formed their production company, Fifteen Pound Pink Productions, in 1994, they’ve collaborated on 15 animated works and garnered more than 12 awards.
Birth of a Family
Friday, September 29 at 6:30 p.m., Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Cinema 1
Sunday, October 1 at 11:30 a.m., Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Cinema 1
Directed by Tasha Hubbard and written by Hubbard and Betty Ann Adam, Birth of a Family follows three sisters and a brother, adopted as infants into separate families across North America, as they meet together for the first time. Separated as part of Canada’s Sixties Scoop, in which 20,000 Indigenous children were removed from their families and placed into foster care or adopted into white homes, the four are now all in middle age, with no shared memories. Together, they piece together their history, deepen their connections and take the first steps in building their family, in a feature documentary shot largely in Banff and Calgary.
Birth of a Family is produced by Bonnie Thompson and executive produced by David Christensen for the NFB’s North West Studio in Edmonton.
Tasha Hubbard is an award-winning filmmaker and educator whose NFB film Two Worlds Colliding won the Canada Award for best multicultural production at the Geminis, as well as a Golden Sheaf Award at the Yorkton Film Festival. Her animated short Buffalo Calling screened as part of the Ga Ni Tha exhibit held on the occasion of the 2015 Venice Biennale, while her short hybrid documentary 7 Minutes won Tasha her second Golden Sheaf Award.
Our People Will Be Healed
Wednesday, September 27 at 6:30 p.m., Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Cinema 1
Friday, September 29 at 5:15 p.m., Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Cinema 4
Our People Will Be Healed is the latest feature documentary by distinguished Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin. The film takes 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, and the film provides 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 in which she explores how young people are leading the way for First Nations communities. 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.
Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopsis: Birth of a Family | Skin for Skin | Wall
Calgary International Film Festival