National Film Board of Canada Shorts

Saturday, January 27, 2024
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

Recommended for Mature Audiences

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is one of the most acclaimed creative centers in the world. It is a public producer and distributor of Canadian content, a talent incubator and a showcase for the country’s filmmakers and artists. The organization produces or co-produces more than 50 works every year, from thought-provoking documentaries to outstanding animated films to groundbreaking interactive and immersive works.

Curated by Frédéric Savard, this program of shorts features a selection of eleven thought-provoking animated films from the National Film Board of Canada’s collection.

“I designed this program with eclecticism in terms of form and substance of the films chosen. This selection demonstrates that the NFB has always been at the forefront of innovation in animated cinema, encouraging technical experimentation while giving voice to filmmakers with multiple perspectives and influences. It’s a reflection of the exceptional quality and unique character of NFB productions, from its founding in 1939 to today.” – Frédéric Savard (NFB)

11 shorts, 68 min

Begone Dull Care

Dir. Norman McLaren, 1950, Canada, Color, DCP, 8 min
Without dialogue or commentary

In this extraordinary short animated piece, painted colours and shapes transform directly onto the filmstrip. The result is a vivid interpretation, in fluid lines and colors, accompanied by jazz music from the Oscar Peterson Trio.

The Trenches (La tranchée)

Dir. Claude Cloutier, 2010, Canada, Color, DCP, 5 min
Without dialogue or commentary

Blending archival images with hypnotic brushstrokes, this short is a pictorial account of an attack on Canadian soldiers during WWI.

Sans Objects

Dir. Moïa Jobin-Paré, 2019, Canada, Color, DCP, 6 min
Without dialogue or commentary

Sepia tone etchings of repeated motions are layered to create the sights and sounds of a post-industrial world.


Dir. Karl Lemieux, 2010, Canada, Color, DCP, 7 min
Without dialogue or commentary

Images and sounds, orignally captured in a part of the Amazon rainforest call Mamori, create a sensory experience that transports audiences into a black-and-white universe of fluid shapes, and playful shadows and light.

Tower Bawher

Dir. Theodore Ushev, 2005, Canada, Color, DCP, 3 min 50
Without dialogue or commentary

This animated short is like a whirlwind tour of Russian constructivist art and is filled with visual references to artists of the era, including Vertov, Stenberg, Rodchenko, Lissitsky and Popova.


Dir. Norman Mclaren, René Jodoin, 1969, Canada, Color, DCP, 7 min
Without dialogue or commentary

Set to the soundtrack of Bach and Glenn Gould, this animated short is a play on motion in the form of a dance set against the backdrop of a multi-hued sky.


Dir. Michèle Cournoyer, 2014, Canada, Black & White, DCP, 8 min 54
Without dialogue or commentary

Alcohol is the essence of one woman’s being. She imbibes her youth and becomes completely absorbed by the desire to satisfy her thirst. On the verge of drowning in her obsession, will she find the strength to rise to the surface?

Black Soul (Âme noire)

Dir. Martine Chartrand, 2000, Canada, Color, DCP, 9 min 50
Without dialogue or commentary

This short dives into the heart of Black culture with an exhilarating trip though history. Watch as a young boy traces his roots through the stories his grandmother shares about the events that shaped their cultural heritage.

Mindscape (Le paysagiste)

Dir. Jacques Drouin, 1976, Canada, Black & White, DCP, 7 min 35
Without dialogue or commentary

A particularly creative example of the pinscreen animation technique, this film is about an artist who steps inside his painting and wanders in a landscape peopled with symbols that trigger unexpected associations.


Dir. Ryan Larkin, 1968, Canada, Color, DCP, 5 min 08
Without dialogue or commentary

Using an artist’s sensibility to illustrate the way people walk, this film employs a variety of techniques–line drawing, colour wash, etc.–to catch and reproduce the motion of people afoot.


Dir. Lorna Kirk, 2016, Canada, Color, DCP, 1 min 40
Without dialogue or commentary

In this animated short, charcoal drawings and found sound movingly depict the loneliness of the refugee experience and the bewilderment of a child seeking safety in a war zone.