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Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis’s NFB animated short The Flying Sailor nominated at ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annie Awards. Winsor McCay Award for career achievement honours Evelyn Lambart, Canada’s first woman animator.


January 17, 2023 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The brilliance of Canadian women animators today and in the past is being recognized at the 50th Annie Awards in Hollywood.

Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis’s acclaimed National Film Board of Canada (NFB) production The Flying Sailor has been nominated for Best Animated Short Subject.

The film is inspired by the incredible true-life story of a man blown two kilometres through the air by the 1917 Halifax Explosion—the largest accidental non-nuclear explosion in history.

The Flying Sailor is one of 15 films shortlisted for the Academy Award for Animated Short Film.

NFB animation pioneer Evelyn Lambart is also being posthumously honoured with the Winsor McCay Award for career achievement. As the “First Lady of Canadian Animation,” Lambart paved the way for women in the field.

Presented by ASIFA-Hollywood, the Los Angeles branch of the International Animated Film Association, the 50th Annual Annie Awards is taking place on Saturday, February 25, 2023.

About the film

The Flying Sailor, directed by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis (7 min 45 s)
Produced and executive produced by David Christensen
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. The Flying Sailor is a contemplation of his journey.
  • The Calgary-based animation duo of Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby share Best Animated Short Film Academy Award nominations for their NFB films When the Day Breaks (1999) and Wild Life (2011). Tilby was also nominated individually for her first film with the NFB, Strings (1991).

How to watch


The Flying Sailor is now online at The New Yorker’s digital channels and nfb.ca.

Sundance Film Festival:

Screening January 24 and 29 and streaming online from January 19 through 29.

Canada’s Top Ten screenings, presented by TIFF:

The Flying Sailor will be screened as part of the short film program at TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 3 in Toronto on Saturday, January 28, at 1 p.m.

Previous awards and honours for The Flying Sailor include:

  • Best Character-Based award, Los Angeles Animation Festival;
  • Experimental award, Los Angeles Animation Festival;
  • Best Animation, New York City Short Film Festival;
  • Canadian Film Institute Award for Best Canadian Animation, Ottawa International Animation Festival;
  • Best Animated Short, Calgary International Film Festival;
  • Silver Award for Best Canadian Short Film, Toronto After Dark Film Festival;
  • Audience Award for being one of the 10 favourite foreign films, São Paulo International Short Film Festival;
  • Best Narrative Film, Countryside Animafest Cyprus;
  • Honourable Mention – Audience Award: Top Canadian Short Film, GIRAF International Festival of Independent Animation, Calgary.

Winsor McCay Award for Career Achievement to Evelyn Lambart

As the first woman animator in the country—and for nearly a quarter-century the only female animation filmmaker at the NFB—Evelyn Lambart (1914–1999) enjoyed a prolific career marked by passion and invention. She joined the NFB in 1942, with NFB founder John Grierson assigning her to a team of animators led by Norman McLaren. For more than 20 years, Lambart and McLaren would work closely together, with her co-directing such classics as Begone Dull Care (1949) and Rythmetic (1956), and animating the titular piece of furniture in McLaren and Claude Jutra’s Oscar-nominated A Chairy Tale (1957).

With McLaren, Lambart also helped pioneer stereoscopic animation on such titles as Now Is the Time and Around Is Around, both in 1951, and assisted in the development of synthetic sound.

By the late 1960s, she was focussed entirely on her own creations: magnificent films for children that included Mr. Frog Went A-Courting in 1974. That same year, Lambart retired to her country home in in the Eastern Townships—preferring the company of plants and animals—and made her last two films, The Lion and the Mouse (1976) and The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse (1980). Evelyn Lambart died on April 3, 1999, at the age of 84. Rob McLaughlin, executive producer of the NFB’s English Program Animation and Interactive Studio, will be accepting the award on her behalf.

Named in honour of animator Winsor McCay, prolific artist and pioneer in the art of comic strips and animation, the Winsor McCay Award is presented in recognition of career contributions to the art of animation and stands as one of the highest honours given to an individual in the animation industry.

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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

    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.