A drawing of a young boy with an oversized head, a character from BLA BLA, an interactive website produced by Vincent Morisset in 2011.

Press Releases & Media Kits

NFB presents new films at the 30th edition of Vancouver International Film Festival

Press release


Montreal, September 15, 2011 – The National Film Board of Canada heads to the Vancouver International Film Festival (September 29–October 14, 2011) with a lineup of new documentaries and shorts. Wiebo’s War, directed by David York, is the story of a family at war with the oil and gas industry; and Surviving Progress, by Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks, is a critical look at the idea of society’s advancement. Short films are also in the spotlight at VIFF, which will screen the world premiere of Jill Sharpe’s Bone Wind Fire, an inspiring exploration of the creative process of artists Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr and Frida Kahlo; Marv Newland’s CMYK; ORA, the latest experimental film from Philippe Baylaucq; and Muybridge’s Strings by Koji Yamamura. The NFB will also present the award for the Most Popular Canadian Documentary at this year’s VIFF. 


Surviving Progress, directed by Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks, is a cinematic requiem to progress-as-usual, inspired by Ronald Wright’s bestseller A Short History of Progress. Throughout human history, what seemed like progress often backfired. Some of the world’s foremost thinkers, activists, bankers and scientists challenge us to overcome “progress traps,” which destroyed past civilizations and lie treacherously embedded in our own. Surviving Progress is a co-production between Cinémaginaire, Big Picture Media Corporation and the NFB, and is produced by Daniel Louis and Denise Robert (Cinémaginaire) and Gerry Flahive (NFB), and executive produced by Mark Achbar and Betsy Carson (Big Picture Media Corporation), Silva Basmajian (NFB), Martin Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff.

Wiebo’s War chronicles a clash between corporate will and public interest, forcing viewers to contemplate an unsettling question: How far would you go to defend what you value the most? In the 1990s, sour natural gas wells were drilled in close proximity to the Ludwig farm, despite the family’s concerns over their potentially harmful impact. Soon after, livestock began to die, and the Ludwigs started experiencing health problems, culminating in a series of miscarriages. After five years of being ignored by the oil and gas industry, Wiebo Ludwig went to war, and a campaign of barricaded roads and blown-up wells eventually resulted in his arrest and conviction. It is almost a decade later when another pipeline explodes. The issues remain unresolved. But the miscarriages, livestock deaths and persistent health problems remind us that, in Wiebo’s war against a powerful industry, the stakes remain tragically high.

Short films:

Jill Sharpe’s Bone Wind Fire is an intimate and evocative journey into the hearts, minds and eyes of Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr and Frida Kahlo—three of the 20th century’s most remarkable artists. Georgia O’Keeffe lived and painted in the sun-baked clarity of the American Southwest; Emily Carr in the lush jungle green of the BC rainforests; and Frida Kahlo in the hot and dusty clamour of Mexico City. Each woman had her own response to her environment, to the people that surrounded her and to the artistic or practical challenges she faced in wringing beauty and truth from her particular time and place. Produced by Yves Ma.

The creative worlds of choreographer José Navas and filmmaker Philippe Baylaucq meet in ORA, a spectacular cinematic adventure in the great, innovative tradition of the NFB. The first film to use 3D thermal imaging, Baylaucq’s short follows six dancers with luminous bodies, exploring a world marked by the heat they produce. Produced by René Chénier, the film showcases never-before-seen images in a dance allegory that draws the viewer into the heart of the shifting space the dancers inhabit.

Muybridge’s Strings, by animation master Koji Yamamura, is a poetic clash of two worlds that explores the irrepressible human desire to hold on to our fleeting moments of happiness. The film moves between the lives of photographer Eadweard Muybridge and a Japanese mother, showing us their attempts to suspend the course of life. Part reminiscence and part daydream, Muybridge’s Strings is produced by Michael Fukushima for the NFB, Keisuke Tsuchihashi for NHK, and Shuzo John Shiota at Polygon Pictures.

CMYK is innovator Marv Newland’s dizzying celebration of sound, colour and movement. Coloured dots pulsate chaotically, crosshairs roll in a languid motion across the screen and primary shapes perform a compelling dance of ever-changing moods. This unrestrained riot of colour and energy is produced by Martin Rose.

About the NFB

Canada’s public producer and distributor, the National Film Board of Canada creates interactive works, social-issue documentaries, auteur animation and alternative dramas that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective. The NFB is developing the entertainment forms of the future in groundbreaking interactive productions, while pioneering new directions in 3D stereoscopic film, community-based media, and more. It works in collaboration with emerging and established filmmakers, digital media creators and co-producers in every region of Canada, with Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities, as well as partners around the world. Since the NFB’s founding in 1939, it has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 4 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. Its NFB.ca Screening Room features over 2,000 productions online, including high-definition and 3D films. The NFB also puts the experience of cinema into the hands of Canadians everywhere through its acclaimed mobile apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android platforms, as well as a pre-loaded app in the BlackBerry PlayBook.



Jennifer Mair, NFB Publicist              
Telephone: 416-954-2045               
Cell: 416-436-0105                   
E-mail: j.mair@nfb.ca                   

Lily Robert, Director, Communications, NFB
Telephone: 514-283-3838
Cell: 514-296-8261
E-mail: l.robert@nfb.ca