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The NFB at the online 2020 Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Short films by Theodore Ushev and Jean-François Lévesque selected for Official Competition.


April 15, 2020 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The National Film Board of Canada is sending an exceptional pair of works to the short-film competition at the prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival, taking place this year online from June 15 to 30. The two selected NFB titles are: The Physics of Sorrow by Theodore Ushev, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2017, and Jean-François Lévesque’s I, Barnabé, which is having its world premiere. Deeply rooted in personal stories, both films vividly express the vision of unique and influential auteurs.

Quick Facts

Short Film Competition

Physique de la tristesse (The Physics of Sorrow) by Theodore Ushev (27 min)
Produced by the NFB with the participation of ARTE France
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/the-physics-of-sorrow

  • The first fully animated film made using the encaustic-painting technique, The Physics of Sorrow was inspired by the novel of the same name by Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov and is a compelling and personal portrait of rootlessness and identity. The short is narrated in French by Xavier Dolan and in English by Rossif Sutherland, with a special guest-voice contribution from Donald Sutherland.
  • Theodore Ushev has found fruitful creative soil at the NFB, where he has made more than 10 films to date, including Lipsett Diaries (2010), an homage to acclaimed experimental filmmaker Arthur Lipsett, and the 2017 Academy Award-nominated Blind Vaysha, which won two awards at Annecy. Overall, Ushev’s films have received more than 150 awards and mentions, and The Physics of Sorrow has so far won more than 20 awards and been selected for more than 50 international festivals.

Moi, Barnabé (I, Barnabé) by Jean-François Lévesque (15 min) – WORLD PREMIERE
Produced by the NFB with the participation of ARTE France
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/i-barnabe

  • I, Barnabé takes a luminous look at a desperate man’s existential crisis. During a night of stormy drunkenness, he receives a visit from a mysterious bird and is forced to reconsider his life.
  • Jean-François Lévesque won the NFB French Animation Studio’s 17th Cinéaste recherché(e) competition. The resulting creative residency allowed him to complete The Necktie (2008), which went on to win some 15 awards in Canada and abroad. In I, Barnabé, he continues the exploration of hybrid animation techniques that he began with his initial collaboration with the NFB.

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Press release in French here | Communiqué en français 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.