1. Media Space

  2. Press Releases

77th nomination for an NFB film, 4th for Wendy Tilby and 3rd for Amanda Forbis // Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis’s NFB animated short The Flying Sailor nominated for Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film


January 24, 2023 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby’s National Film Board of Canada (NFB) animated short The Flying Sailor has been nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the Academy Awards.


“We are absolutely blown away by this fabulous news and, like our sailor, we’re flying high! The National Film Board of Canada has our endless gratitude for their unwavering support, and for making films like ours possible in the first place. We share this honour with our stellar creative team, especially producer David Christensen and sound designer Luigi Allemano.” — Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis

“Congratulations to Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, to producer David Christensen and to the crew who helped bring The Flying Sailor to life. NFB excellence in animation goes back to pioneers Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart, and the tradition of innovation and experimentation they established. Today, we’re proud to be the creative home for visionary animators and storytellers from across the country and around the world.” — Suzanne Guèvremont, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson

About the film

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 95th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 200 territories worldwide.

The Flying Sailor is also currently nominated for Best Short Subject at the 50th Annie Awards, honouring excellence in the field of animation, which will be presented on February 25.

About the nomination

This is the third trip to the Oscars for the Calgary-based animation duo of Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, who previously shared Best Animated Short Film Academy Award nominations for their NFB films When the Day Breaks (1999) and Wild Life (2011). Wendy Tilby was also nominated individually for her first film with the NFB, Strings (1991).

NFB films have now received 77 nominations, more than any other film organization based outside of Hollywood. NFB productions and co-productions have won the big prize on 12 occasions.

How to watch The Flying Sailor


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.

Quick facts

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.
  • Drawing on reports of traumatic shock and near-death experiences, animators Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis consider the kind of cataclysmic moment that pulls us from our path, strips us bare and utterly shifts our perspective. By suspending the Sailor in a state of near-death, the film contemplates the stuff of life that is at once fleeting, profound and utterly insignificant.
  • The Flying Sailor had its world premiere at the 2022 Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France, a North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and a U.S. festival premiere at the New York City Short Film Festival.

Awards to date

The film has received 10 awards and honours to date.

Complete list:

● Nomination, Best Short Subject, Annie Awards
● 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.

– 30 –

French version here | Version française ici.

Media Relations

  • 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.