The National Film Board of Canada (TheNFB) selection at this year’s Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF), running Sept 22 to Oct 2, will feature audacious storytelling from around the world, across Canada and the North.
With a selection of six short films—four of which are in competition, including The Flying Sailor by renowned filmmakers Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis—and the world premiere of Theodore Ushev: Unseen Connections, a feature documentary, there’s plenty to take in at either event.
TheNFB will also be in attendance at the 2022 Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). This event is devoted to animation in North America and will have many works showcased to show what the efforts of emerging talents can do. The OIAF will run from Sept 21 to 25.
Highlights of TheNFB’s selected programming include:
The Flying Sailor by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis
Inspired by true events, this new film by Oscar-nominated duo Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby is a meditation on a sailor’s unexpected voyage.
The short film made its world premiere at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and is having its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It also won the award for Best Narrative Film at Animafest Cyprus 2022.
100 Miles by Louis Bodart (pictured right)
Are we there yet? When the kids act up in the back seat, a family road trip gets knocked hilariously off course.
Theodore Ushev: Unseen Connections by Borislav Kolev
Theodore Ushev, the auteur behind a number of renowned animated shorts, reveals his inner universe, formed by a half-century of personal experience acquired in a constantly changing world. In this feature documentary, Ushev reminisces about the “unseen connections” in his life—biographical and historical, cultural and subcultural. Connections that shaped him as a person and an artist.
50 ans Vidéographe
This film is an homage made using traditional animation with 16mm film stock. It’s a multi-layered work, emixing textures and materials to gradually reveal Vidéographe’s 50th-anniversary logo.
The Korean legend of Ungnyeo, a bear reborn as a woman, becomes a percussive and mesmerising riff on the themes of transformation and quarantine. This film has been produced as part of the 13th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship.
Special Delivery: The Films of John Weldon
Few Canadian artists have as distinguished a career as John Weldon. He is best-known as the animator and director of Log Driver’s Waltz, one of the all-time most popular Canadian animated films. This was just one highlight in a long and illustrious career that has ranged from winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1979 with Special Delivery, and a Palm d’Or nomination for To Be at Cannes in 1990, to having Frank the Wrabbit denounced on the Reform Party’s “Waste of Public Money” list.
Weldon’s films champion the overlooked and downtrodden and critique media conventions – particularly those of commercial animation – all done in a dryly and darkly self-deprecating manner. Even when embracing new animation technologies, Weldon subverts them with a decidedly hand-made look. Wryly intelligent, his films remain accessible and popular with audiences of any age.
The Ottawa International Animation Festival presents a retrospective tribute to the multi-talented Weldon – animator, cartoonist, screenwriter, composer, director and humourist. (Mark Langer)