NFB animation spotlighted at Montreal festival

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Ani­ma­tion by the National Film Board of Canada will be show­cased at the 36th Mon­treal World Film Fes­ti­val, which runs from August 23 to Sep­tem­ber 3.

The event will screen three NFB ani­mated short films in their French ver­sions, includ­ing MacPher­son, by Mar­tine Char­trand. MacPher­son will be unveiled at the open­ing of the WFF, mak­ing its world pre­miere screen­ing before the fea­ture film, in the World Com­pe­ti­tion category.

Works by young film­mak­ers are also in the pro­gram. Two more NFB ani­mated shorts, The Ban­quet of the Con­cu­bine (Folimage/Foliascope/NFB/Nadasdy Film), by Hefang Wei, and It’s a Dog’s Life (Folimage/NFB), by Julie Rem­bauville and Nico­las Bianco-Levrin, have been selected for the World Com­pe­ti­tion and Focus on World Cin­ema sec­tions, respectively.

The 36th WFF selec­tion marks the come­back of Char­trand, a sea­soned film­maker rec­og­nized for her arti­sanal paint-on-glass ani­ma­tion shot with a 35mm cam­era. Chartrand’s works have been widely acclaimed the world over.

Her most recent film, Black Soul, received 23 awards, includ­ing a Golden Bear in Berlin in the Short Film cat­e­gory (2001) and a Jutra for Best Ani­mated Short (2002). She is back in full force this time with MacPher­son, a trib­ute to the friend­ship between poet Félix Leclerc and Jamaican engi­neer Frank Ran­dolph Macpherson.

In Que­bec dur­ing the early 1930s, poet Félix Leclerc befriended Frank Ran­dolph Macpher­son, a Jamaican-born chem­i­cal engi­neer. He inspired Leclerc to write a song about the log dri­ves; the poet enti­tled it “MacPher­son” in hon­our of his friend. Some­where between doc­u­men­tary and fic­tion, MacPher­son, inspired by the famous song, depicts turn­ing points in his­tory and, with great sen­si­tiv­ity and lav­ish imagery, evokes the deep feel­ings shared by the Jamaican engi­neer and one of the poet’s sis­ters. A film brim­ming with exu­ber­ant, col­or­ful images. Pro­duced by Mar­cel Jean and Bertrand at the NFB.

Mak­ing its world pre­miere, Hefang Wei’s The Ban­quet of the Con­cu­bine deals with jeal­ousy, and pays homage to cal­lig­ra­phy and tra­di­tional Chi­nese painting.

Emperor Li is giv­ing a ban­quet to cel­e­brate the beauty of Yang, his favourite con­cu­bine. How­ever, the evening does not pro­vide the plea­sures that had been antic­i­pated. Unsat­is­fied whims, sus­pi­cions of infi­delity and an unbri­dled imag­i­na­tion lead Yang to bit­ter extremes that noth­ing can appease, not even the deli­cious lychee. An erotic ani­mated film about jeal­ousy, The Ban­quet of the Con­cu­bine recounts one of Impe­r­ial China’s most famous love sto­ries. Pro­duced by Pas­cal Le Nôtre at Folias­cope, Emmanuel Bernard at Folim­age and Julie Roy at the NFB.

It’s a Dog’s Life dis­plays a whim­si­cal cartoon-like style. Aimed at young audi­ences, it’ll have its North Amer­i­can pre­miere at the festival.

Fifi the dog dreams of inter­stel­lar travel and dis­cov­er­ing plan­ets as he does what­ever it takes to make Mom, Dad and the kids happy. At meal­time, the sharp-witted pooch gets pushed around from all sides. He would give any­thing to be left alone in his bas­ket with his nose buried in a news­pa­per arti­cle. But the fam­ily is too wrapped up in its own activ­i­ties to pay atten­tion to Fifi’s emo­tional state, leav­ing the poor dog no choice but to make the best of the sit­u­a­tion. Pro­duced by Jacques-Rémy Gir­erd and Corinne Destombes at Folim­age and Roy at the NFB.

The Ban­quet of the Con­cu­bine and It’s a Dog’s Life are both win­ners of the Folim­age Artist in Res­i­dence Pro­gram, in which the NFB has been par­tic­i­pat­ing for 10 years now.

The three films selected for the 2012 WFF demon­strate the vital­ity of the pro­duc­tive part­ner­ships that the NFB enters into each year with renowned inter­na­tional insti­tu­tions, such as France’s Folim­age ani­ma­tion studio.

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Paul is an old-timer here at BCDB- his contributions go back to before the site! Paul is widely regarded as a Disney historian, and is also on staff at the Disney Museum in San Francisco. Paul is also a contributing historian for D23, the Disney Club. Paul has published several books and magazine articles on Disney history, too. You are welcome to drop Paul a line here.

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