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 to showcase six films at VIFF

Press release


Vancouver, September 5, 2012 – The National Film Board of Canada will showcase five shorts and one feature film at the 31st annual Vancouver International Film Festival (September 27–October 12, 2012), including the world premieres of We Were Children ( Eagle Vision Inc. | Entertainment One | NFB), a blend of documentary and dramatic storytelling directed by Tim Wolochatiuk that explores the legacy of Canada's Indian Residential Schools through the eyes of two children, and Nettie Wild's Uninterrupted. Presented as both a short film and an installation, Uninterrupted is a mesmerizing exploration of BC's sockeye salmon migration.

The NFB's Studio D and its founder, Kathleen Shannon (b. 1935, d.1998), are celebrated in the hand-painted animated short film Assembly by Vancouver filmmaker and mixed-media artist Jenn Strom. The now defunct Studio D, which has won more Oscars than any other NFB studio to date, enabled female filmmakers to tackle specifically female subject matter in an environment that had previously not always welcomed such efforts.

Three animated gems exploring themes of self-discovery round out the NFB short films screening at VIFF: the award-winning Edmond Was a Donkey, by French screenwriter and director Franck Dion, is an empathetic portrayal of a small, quiet man who just doesn't fit in. When Edmond's co-workers tease him by crowning him with a pair of donkey ears, he suddenly discovers his true nature. Big Mouth, by Halifax-based Andrea Dorfman, is a whimsical tale about truth, the power of words, childhood and what makes us unique. Hand-drawn puppets dance, skip and cartwheel across the screen as one little girl discovers that what we say may not always be what we mean. Elise Simard's My Little Underground is a dark and haunting autobiographical story that follows a young girl's journey home. Using a mix of time-lapse photography and ink and pastels, Simard creates a compassionate exploration of the pain and fragility of addiction and existence.

World Premieres

We Were Children (83 min)
Directed by Tim Wolochatiuk
Produced by Kyle Irving (Eagle Vision Inc.) and David Christensen (NFB)

For over 100 years, Aboriginal children in Canada were legally required to attend church-run boarding schools, an assimilationist practice now regarded as a national and cultural tragedy. We Were Children tells the heartbreaking true story of Lyna Hart and Glen Anaquod, removed from their homes at the ages of four and six and forced to adapt to a strange, threatening new world. Blending stunning dramatic storytelling with unflinching documentary narratives, director Tim Wolochatiuk's film gives voice to two children trapped in a system that would impact their lives forever. Co-produced by Eagle Vision Inc., Entertainment One and the National Film Board of Canada.

Uninterrupted | Split-screen video (4 min) | Installation (13 min)
Directed by Nettie Wild
Produced by Tracey Friesen (NFB)

The journey of blood-red sockeye salmon up BC's Adams River has repeated itself for millennia and, if left uninterrupted, will do so for centuries to come. Most intriguingly, while the migration of fish takes place year after year, the astounding patterns of dense, roiling salmon never repeat. In pools and back eddies along the Adams River, thousands of salmon create dynamic and mesmerizing patterns. People locked in urban centres can easily forget that rivers in the wilderness exist—and that those forgotten rivers provide a heartbeat for humanity. Splitting the screen into multiple images, Uninterrupted brings the heart of the river into the heart of the city.

Vancouver Premieres

Assembly (4 min 25 s)
Written, directed and edited by Jenn Strom
Produced by Tracey Friesen (NFB)

A flatbed editing table is snapped on. A woman's hands reach in and out of the frame, cutting and editing a reel of film. She splices, scrubs, rewinds and rolls the sound and images. Fragments of animated archival footage flash across the screen: women walking in chains, protesting with placards, speaking at podiums. We hear bursts of words and the percussive whir and click of the Steenbeck—until a “message” is finally revealed. Inspired by Studio D filmmakers and dedicated to the memory of Kathleen Shannon, Assembly is an experimental short featuring a rhythmic soundscape and paint-on-glass animation.

Edmond Was a Donkey (15 min 03 s)
Written, directed and edited by Franck Dion
Produced by Franck Dion, Richard Van Den Boom ( Papy3D Productions) and Julie Roy (NFB)

Bravo!Fact Award for Best Canadian Short – Worldwide Short Film Festival 2012
Special Jury Award – Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2012

Edmond is not like everybody else. When his co-workers jokingly crown him with a pair of donkey ears, he suddenly discovers his true nature. And while Edmond revels in his new identity, it creates an ever-widening gap between him and others. With great empathy, director Franck Dion tells the touching story of an outsider, illustrating the challenges of being true to yourself in a world filled with conformists. Since he can't bring himself to be what others expect, Edmond makes the only possible choice.

Big Mouth (8 min 16 s)
Written and directed by Andrea Dorfman
Produced by Annette Clarke (NFB)

Filmmaker Andrea Dorfman has a way with words. In Big Mouth, she explores the experiences of a bright-minded, quick-witted child, questioning what it means to speak the truth, and coming to understand how our differences make us unique. Dorfman's whimsical storytelling is all heart. Hand-drawn puppets dance, skip and cartwheel across the screen as one little girl discovers the complexity of words and that what we say may not be what we mean. Trudy, equal parts truthful and rude, has an unfiltered and deeply curious way of looking at the world. She honestly points out what she sees—be it a big mole or a big belly! The result is an impressive accumulation of disciplinary notes from her teacher. Like Trudy, eventually we all learn how to read, make friends and develop a healthy relationship with the truth. A film for anyone, young or old, who has gotten in trouble for saying too much, Big Mouth is an animated short about one of life's big lessons.

My Little Underground (6 min 41 s)
Directed by Elise Simard
Produced by Michael Fukushima (NFB)

To find light, we must first journey through the darkness. So begins Elise Simard's My Little Underground, a sombre and beautiful autobiographical story that follows a young girl's bus ride home in winter. Drifting between real and imagined events in her past and present, the girl travels towards some semblance, however complex and uncertain, of self-discovery and rebirth. Using a mix of time-lapse photography and ink and pastels, Simard creates a haunting, compassionate exploration of the pain and fragility of addiction and existence. Acknowledging the difficulties of beginning anew, the girl nevertheless clings to the hope and belief that love, whatever its form, will return and breathe new possibilities into a life momentarily gone astray.

About the NFB

The National Film Board of Canada creates groundbreaking interactive works, social-issue documentaries and auteur animation. The NFB's award-winning content can be seen at NFB.ca and on apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV. Canada's public producer and distributor since 1939, the NFB has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 6 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies.


For more information and to book interviews, contact:

Colette Gunson, Publicist for the NFB
Telephone: 778-228-6779
E-mail: colette@jivecommunications.ca

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