The NFB was also there from the beginning, shooting documentaries on the entire experience and offering visitors a special treat: a giant-screen exhibit known as The Labyrinth. This second edition was created in partnership with La bande Sonimage, a Saguenay-based organization that supports cinema and video production in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region. All shot with Bolex digital cameras, these 5 fascinating shorts are both stunningly beautiful and retro-looking. From April , , as part of the British-led Battle of Arras, four divisions of the Canadian Corps rallied and captured the German-held high ground.
However, the price of victory was steep: 10, Canadians perished or were injured in combat.
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Mark the th anniversary of this fierce battle with these few NFB films. Also check out Rose's Notebook, an educational resource that revisits First World War history through the lens of authentic archival material. Mabel Robinson is a hairdresser in Hubbards, Nova Scotia. At 90 years old, this hairdressing pioneer is still styling up a storm.
Kenojuak Ashevak is an Inuit artist. In stone and on sealskins, she recreates the curious creatures that inhabit her world. Ken Carter is a simple man with an epic dream: building a rocket-powered car to jump across the St. Lawrence River.
Discover these extraordinary ordinary Canadians and many more in the following film playlist. Her powerful films are a testament to minimalist, black and white storytelling, that often addresses difficult themes with a singular sense of finesse and humour. Blending the art of animation with the format of advertising, these filmmakers use wit and satire to address topics from global warming to politics to our obsession with technology.
Grant Munro O. Born in Winnipeg in , Grant Munro showed talent as a sculptor and flipbook maker while he was still a teenager. Quickly establishing himself as a fine animator of paper cut-outs, Munro worked on a number of musical shorts, notably The Three Blind Mice , with Dunning and another neophyte, Bob Verrall. By , Munro was back at the Board, animating instructional films and acting for McLaren on a pixilation project that eventually became the Oscar-winning Neighbours This film would become arguably the most well-known NFB production of all time, boasting more than 77, theatrical bookings worldwide by In the late s, Munro departed from the NFB again, this time to pursue an animation career in England.
McLaren and Munro also collaborated on Canon in Munro made the trick film Toys in and the anti-smoking comedy Ashes of Doom in , for which he once again played the leading role. He collaborated with McLaren again from to , on the Animated Motion series, a five-part introduction to basic film animation techniques. Douglas Roche The Strength of Peace. Adam Symansky Donald Brittain: Writer, filmmaker, storyteller.
Working with Brittain Working with Donald Brittain was an adventure. You never knew what each day would bring, and he was a man who believed in the gods of documentary. He knew that on the days when those gods were smiling down on him, magic would happen. But he was also a man who loved to play games. With his love of the military, he would assign rank to his crew and send them off to battle. He recognized the value of games in the creative process. He was a generous filmmaker and was confident enough to accept suggestions from anybody.
It's not that he wouldn't be critical, but if you came up with a good idea, he'd use it. And give you full credit. Donald understood that documentary films are made in the cutting room. Every day, he'd go into the editing room and attempt to create structure for his vast amount of footage.
And while he was open to suggestions, no one ever knew what direction he planned to take. In those days, all the cutting was done on actual negatives. He'd constantly be going back over his work, and with the most sincere apologies to his cutter, he would insert and remove frames up until the last minute to get the best possible film. Brittain was a diehard Canadian and that coloured all of his work.
He knew every stop the CP line made from Montreal to Vancouver.
He loved to tackle Canadian history, but only through biography. He wanted to mythologize Canada, and he understood that the best way to do that was through character.
He also felt it was his responsibility to punch holes in self-inflated people. So much so that it became a running theme in his films. Writer first, filmmaker second Brittain was a writer first and a filmmaker second. While a shot was being set up, he'd wander off and mumble lines of narration under his breath. He was always trying to work out how to tie everything together, constantly writing the script in his head.
He used to spend late nights in the office, working at his typewriter until the words came out just right. And they had to be his words. Heaven forbid he should open a thesaurus.
And even though writing didn't always come easily to him, he was good at it. He could paint a scene with words to the extent that you could hear it, smell it. Filmmaking didn't come as naturally to him. In fact, it took 8 or 9 years at the Board before he made a good film. He was hired at the NFB to write the narration for the Canada at War series, and that's where he learned his craft.
After that he made Fields of Sacrifice, which is just a brilliant set of poems. Once he got into the groove of making good films, he had a process that was all his own. He would do tons of research, but in the most bizarre way possible.
He'd take out books having to do with the period he was filming, but never on the actual subject itself. He was after the surrounding aspects of the story, the historical context in which his story played out. The catch? He rarely did his own research. Rather, he had trusted colleagues and friends do it for him while he read the sports pages… or the comics. Personal favourites One of Brittain's favourite films was Volcano, not only because it got such a big reaction, but because he could identify with Malcolm Lowry.
He understood alcoholism. Brittain drank. Sometimes he tried to hide it, but sometimes he was quite open about it. One time, he walked into his hotel room, pointed to a table in the entranceway that housed two bottles of scotch and said, "That's the sign of an alcoholic.
You always want to have an unopened bottle, just in case. Paperland was his way of exacting revenge on an executive producer here at the NFB, while On Guard for Thee, he felt, said something profound about Canada. It was a cautionary tale about loving your police force too much and giving them too much power.
As he says in the film, "When everything's secure, no man is safe.
Despite the many years, and many films Brittain directed for the NFB, he never took a job here. He felt if he was tenured, he'd be less creative. He loved baseball, cards and the track too much. He felt that if he had a salary, he would disappear easily into the sidelines of life and never make another film.
He had seen it happen to his friends, and he didn't want to follow in that path.
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